Colombo, Constitutional Reform, Politics and Governance, Post-War

Radical Reforms in Sri Lanka: Realities we are afraid of?

Enough conceptual theories are produced and articulated on the need and urgency of the political power sharing in Sri Lanka. Avoiding the torturous repetition and gauging the current diminishing appreciation for any theoretical discourse or appetite for challenging conceptual explanations, we suggest the following five points abstract as a summary of recommendation for a new constitutional re-arrangement for a stable/unitary, yet democratic and modern Sri Lanka

Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka 2015
Structure of Administration

  1. Confirm the State of Sri Lanka as a unitary state
  2. Constitutionalize the devolution of political and administration powers to
  3. 5 recognised Provinces
    1. Northern Province
    2. Eastern Province
    3. Central Province
    4. Southern Western (From Puttalam to Kalutara)
    5. Southern Province and
  4. 3 Special Zones ( under direct Prime Minister rule)
    1. Colombo District
    2. Kandy District (Total rule under Buddhist laws and Sangha leadership)
    3. Kalmunai/Sammanturai (with special emphasis on Muslim rights)

Nature of the governance

  1. Return to an executive Prime Minister system reporting to the parliament for a 5 year term
    1. Create two deputy PMs. Contesting for the PM post will not be as individual but as a team of 3 representing all three ethnic identities
  2. Dissolve the current (national) parliament. Instead there will be 5 provincial parliaments
    1. The Central government/cabinet will be of
      1. 25 + 3 members selected and send by the provincial parliaments and zones
      2. Additional members will be sent on a population basis: one member for every million in the province/zone.
      3. Each Provincial council will have both first past the post and proportionate system of representation. Beside the constituency each party that is able to secure 5% (or any unit of 5%) will get a seat
      4. 20% of the seats should be reserved for the minorities of the province. (Thus 20 % of Northern Province will be for Sinhalas and Muslims and similar arrangement in the southern province)

Subjects Allocation

  1. National Security/ Armed Forces/Foreign Policy/Citizenship/International Treaties/Central Bank/Currency/Supreme Court /International waters/National taxes/will be under the PM and his cabinet . In all provinces and all zones all three languages will be practiced as demanded by the citizens of the area.
  2. Sea ports /Airports/Customs/inter-province constitutions/Elections/Foreign investment/Major infrastructure developments, Natural Resources/will be shared responsibilities between the Central and Provinces
  3. While all other including Educational/Health/Cultural/Land/post-telecom/police force will the responsibility of the provinces
  4. Set 2014 May- Five years after the war victory as the time for the new constitutional arrangement leaving parties /people to ask questions and make recommendations and amendments.
  5. Intact in the constitution, a period of 25 years as the experimental stage of this system, at the end of which each province will have a referendum to continue or to revert to any other model. By which at least in 2045, a stable and democratic Sri Lanka could be our proud motherland?

Suren Raghavan is researching and teaching at School of Politics and International Relations, Rutherford College, University of Kent- UK. [email protected]

[Editors note: The formatting of the original document, with nested bullet points, does not display well on Groundviews. To read Suren’s submission with all formatting intact, click here.]