Sri Lankan main opposition presses for referendum on constitutional change

21:20, August 31, 2010      

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Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) expressing its opposition to the proposed amendment to the constitution challenged the government to hold a referendum on the changes.

"We challenge the government to hold a referendum and not hide behind two-thirds votes in parliament," Tissa Attanayake, UNP general secretary told reporters here Tuesday.

The cabinet approved the 18th amendment which allows the incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the presidency a third or unlimited number of times.

Rajapaksa has secured 150 or two-thirds majority in the 225-member assembly.

Meanwhile, addressing a separate press conference, cabinet minister Maithripala Sirisena invited the UNP to support the amendment.

The third largest party JVP or the People's Liberation Front said they have made an intervention in the Supreme Court to seek a court order to subject the amendment to a referendum, party sources said.

The government hopes to present the amendments next week in parliament for approval.

Source: Xinhua


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