Ranil says 17A must before polls

While the debate continues on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today said that the 17th Amendment to the Constitution must be implemented before having elections for the Northern Province.

Speaking at an event in Colombo today, Wickremesinghe said that the UNP position has been clearly articulated to the government and President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

He said that through the full implementation of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution the UNP wants to see an independent judiciary and police service.

Wickremesinghe had recently written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the Northern Provincial Council elections scheduled to be held in September.

In his letter, Wickremesinghe had said that holding the elections gives effect to the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution of 21 March 2013, which welcomed “the announcement by the Government of Sri Lanka to hold elections to the Provincial Council in the Northern Province in September 2013”.

However he said the implementation of the resolution will require the election to conform to Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that ”the will of the people shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.” (Colombo Gazette)

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