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Final APRC report recommends sharing powers between center and provinces

Jul 20, 2010 3:59:37 AM - thesundayleader.lk

The final report of Sri Lanka’s All Party Representative Committee (APRC) that was released to the media by the UNP and the SLMC has recommended that Sri Lanka shall be a unitary state while the state powers are shared between the center and the provinces.
The UNP and the SLMC told the media yesterday (19) that the President had failed to publicize the final APRC report even a year after the head of the committee Minister Prof. Tissa Vitharana handed it over to him.
UNP parliamentarian R. Yogarajan said the final report of the APRC would be tabled in parliament today (20).
Some of the highlights of the report are as follows:
*A Parliamentary system of government.
* Sinhala and Tamil to be official languages – English may be used for official purposes.
*Status of Buddhism – the foremost place given while according to all religions the rights guaranteed by the constitution.
*A constitutional court to preserve the supremacy of the constitution. This will be separate from the Supreme Court.
* Electoral system- A mixed first – past- the-post system based on electorate basis and PR system on a party basis with two separate ballot papers.
*Power sharing- There will be tiers – at Central govt, provincial govt and local govt levels. Each tier will have separate lists of powers conferred through the constitution.
*A Senate- A senate will allow the provinces to play a role in the national legislature. It would act as an in-built mechanism to deter hasty legislation that may have an adverse impact on the provinces.
* There will be 63 senators made up of seven members each from the nine provinces. They are to be elected on the basis of a single transferable vote by the members of the Provincial legislature. In addition there shall be 10 senators selected by the community councils (one for Muslims living outside the north and east, the other for the Indian Tamils). The President to nominate two persons to represent un-represented community groups.
*Community Council-There shall be two community councils, one for Indian Tamils and one for Muslims outside the north and east without a territorial focus.
*Power Sharing- The concurrent list will be abolished and the powers shall be separated between the central list and provincial lists. A third list will deal with powers of the local authorities.
*A National and Provincial Higher Appointments Council to be named. This aims to ensure the independence of public service and the judiciary. This council shall consist of the Speaker as the Chairman, Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and six persons to be appointed by the President on the nomination of a Parliamentary Committee representing all parties in Parliament. Three of them should be minorities.