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ICC Note:

In Sri Lanka’s presidential elections, held January 8, 2015, a majority of the people voted that they wanted a new constitution. The old constitution discriminates both religiously and ethnically as it makes Buddhism the main state religion and doesn’t provide political solutions for the minority Tamils. Despite the current president’s pledge to change the current constitution, nothing has happened. To make things worse, senior Buddhist monks just voted against both writing a new constitution and amending the old one.   

07/07/2017 Sri Lanka (UCA News) – Senior Buddhist monks have unanimously decided against a new constitution or amending the existing Sri Lankan constitution that recognizes Buddhism as the foremost religion.

The high-ranking Buddhist monks including Mahanayaka Thera gathered in a special council meeting and strongly emphasized that there was no need to draft a new constitution. The senior monks came to the collective decision following discussions held on July 4.

The government converted parliament into a constitutional assembly and a committee was appointed to gather public opinion on drafting a new constitution in 2016. The committee has already presented its final report to the government.

President Maithripala Sirisena made an election pledge to make changes to the current constitution, which included electoral reforms, restructuring the executive presidential system and devolving power.

The existing constitution was formed with a unicameral legislature, an executive presidential system and with Buddhism recognized as the foremost religion. Voters and rights activists have urged the government to draft a new constitution that would include new electoral reforms and a permanent political solution with minority Tamils.

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