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SRI LANKA: News Briefs

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TNA calls for full power devolution to provinces through the 13th Amendment to the Constitution: The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on May 24 insisted on complete power devolution to the provinces through the 13th Amendment to the Constitution since problems over the provincial councils are due to the incomplete devolution of power by successive governments. TNA parliamentarian, Suresh Premachandran said that the respective governments had appointed committees that have made various proposals but the problems over the provincial councils in the country have not been resolved through the years. Premachandran said the TNA expects nothing less than complete devolution of financial, Police and land powers to the provinces through the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Colombo Page, May 25, 2013.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa opposes vesting Police powers with the provincial councils: Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has said that Police powers cannot be vested with the provincial councils. Rajapaksa has been quoted in the local media saying that he would never agree to the granting of Police powers to provincial councils according to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. According to Rajapaksa, at present no provincial council exercises police powers, and if they were to be granted such powers in future, such a measure could pose a serious threat to national security and he foresees a dangerous situation. He has added that if the councils were vested with police powers, a serious situation would arise with regard to the maintenance of law and order, and even the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) would become ineffective. Colombo Page, May 24, 2013.

Government has not taken any decision to amend the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, says Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa: Petroleum Industries Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa on May 22 stated that the Government has not taken any decision to amend the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. "We are aware that the Tamil National Alliance [TNA] is not in favour of the proposed amendment to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. We assure that whatever change is decided by the [Parliamentary] Select Committee will be adhered to by the government," the Minister asserted. Minister Yapa also said the elections to the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) would be held in September 2013 as decided by the government earlier, and this would not change.

Meanwhile, United Nation Party (UNP) parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella said on May 22 that the party believes that the devolution of power would address the ethnic issue and it was the best method to solve the ethnic issue in the country. The UNP parliamentarian said the war could have been ended before 2009 if the members in the present government in 2001-2003 had agreed with the devolution of power and helped the then UNP government to implement the 13th Amendment. Daily News; Colombo Page, May 23, 2013.

Tamil Parties agree to reach a common policy: Tamil political parties, both within the fold of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and outside, on May 13 decided to agree to a common policy on the political solution to the national question. The decision was arrived at a meeting convened by northern civil society movements with TNA Member of Parliament (MP) M.A. Sumanthiran, Tamil People's Liberation Front leader Gajendra Kumar Ponnambalam and civil society activist K. Gurubaran. Daily Mirror, May 14, 2013.

Cabinet approves to enact a new law for enabling people displaced from North to vote: : In the wake of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) elections likely to be held in September, the Cabinet approval was granted on May 11 to enact legislation enabling those who were displaced from the North between May 1, 1983, and May 18, 2009, to vote at the election. The bill, if enacted, will enable 15,000 people who are known to have been displaced between May 1, 1983 and May 18, 2009 to be registered as voters in the North. Daily Mirror, May 11, 2013..

[Source: SATP]

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