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Last updated: 30 June, 2009 - Published 13:56 GMT
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JHU 'will not leave' Govt.
Minister Susil Premjayanth
Minister says government cannot devolve police powers into provinces
A senior leader of Sri Lanka's government says, he is confident that a key coalition partner will not leave the government despite a threat by a Sinhala nationalist party.

Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) will leave the coalition if the government fully implements the 13 amendment to the constitution, a senior JHU leader warned.

Environmental affairs minister Champika Ranawaka of JHU told journalists on Monday that his party strongly object offering police powers to the provincial councils in line with the amendment.

However, Education Minister Susil Premajayanth told BBC Sandeshaya that the government has no intention of fully implementing the 13 amendment.

Police powers

"The JHU has already accepted portfolios in provincial councils and there is no practical ability to hand over police powers to the provinces," he said.

Champika Ranawaka swearing in as a minister (file photo by Sudath Silva)
JHU has threatened to leave the Govt. if police powers are devolved

Therefore, Minister Premjayanth who is also the secretary general of the ruling coalition said, "I am pretty sure that the JHU will not leave".

Tamil political leaders including leader of the provincial chief ministers association Sivanasathurai Chandrakanthan has expressed dissatisfaction over police and land powers not being devolved as stated in the 13th amendment

President Mahinda Rajapaksa earlier told an Indian television channel that his government is considering "13 amendment plus" in an attempt to resolve grievances of Sri Lanka's Tamil community.

India said that a high level Sri Lankan delegation visiting India last week has assured Delhi that a solution better than the 13 amendment will be implemented.

"I was assured that it is the intention of the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the proposal which would be an advance on the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution," Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna was quoted in the ministry website.

The 13th amendment to the constitution of Sri Lanka that proposes devolution of power to provinces was adopted following the Indo-Lanka accord of 1987 claiming "to establish peace and normalcy in Sri Lanka".

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