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Last updated: 07 March, 2010 - Published 14:35 GMT
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Govt. 'to abolish' executive presidency
Minister DEW Gunasekara
Minister says the executive presidency "may be abolished" by the new parliament
The Sri Lanka government says it will abolish or reform executive presidency if elected with two thirds majority at the forthcoming election.

Constitutional Affairs Minister DEW Gunasekara told BBC Sandeshaya that the government is also planning to introduce a fresh constitution in the new parliament.

"There is an opinion in the country that the executive presidency should be abolished or reformed," he told BBC Sinhala service.

He however said there is no time frame for a new constitution to be introduced.

"If the opposition says that they vote for the abolition tomorrow, we would not have this problem," he said.

Political solution

The main opposition coalition that contested the 26 January presidential election has vowed to abolish the very powerful executive presidency.

President JR Jayawardene
President JR Jayawardene introduced the executive presidency in 1978

Main opposition parties in the south, including the UNP and the JVP, and Muslim and Tamil nationalist parties were members of the coalition.

The minister added that a political solution aimed at minority Tamil community's grievances may also be included in the new constitution after consultations with other parties.

"The solution might include the devolution of power," Minister Gunasekara said.

The much-talked about All Party Representative Committee (APRC) will be re-convened to discuss the proposals.

However, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has earlier dismissed all efforts that have been made so far to find political solutions to the country's ethnic problem.

Mr Rajapaksa has now said he does not think any generally acceptable solution has yet been suggested, so "after the present election I am going to put forward my own solution to the problem".

He has remained vague on what this means although he has spoken of a possible upper house of parliament.

The APRC convened in 2006 claiming to 'reach consensus on a package of measures to guarantee the rights of Tamils,' is yet to hand over its proposals.

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