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Religious Unrest Continues in Sri Lanka

An attack was launched by a Buddhist mob against a Mosque in Colombo on Saturday August 10th 2013, just one day after Muslims celebrated “Eid Ul Fitr”. At least 12 people were injured in scuffles that broke out during the siege. The reason for the attack was based on the claim that the new three-storey structure on […]

Policy reform and constitutional reform

With the constitutional changes enacted in 1978 which introduced the Executive Presidency, doing away with the first past the post system and instead bringing in proportionate representation, it was apparent that not one political party could constitute a majority in Parliament. This made minority parties king makers.

 

However, with the election of the current government and the military victory which provided the impetus for the election and the gradual acquiring of a 2/3 majority in Parliament, the political importance of minority parties has gradually dwindled. Although the government cannot exist if all parties representing it in the coalition were to withdraw their support, the government can exist without the Muslim parties. Currently, the constituent parties in the governing alliance have no agreement on the basis of the alliance. The Muslim community and its political representation are also divided.

 

The Secretariat for Muslims aims to increase the bargaining power of the Muslim community and make them inclusive and proactive partners in the process of constitutional reforms that will be necessary to ensure lasting peace by providing a platform for Muslim civil society and political parties to discuss and develop a common agenda for issues affecting them.

 

The Muslim community needs to be more proactive on issues rather than reactive. The SFM will help to strengthen their bargaining power and ensure that their issues and positions are also taken into consideration when discussions are underway in relation to any form of power devolution, including the implementation of or addendums to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution as well as decisions by the Parliamentary Select Committee.