Sri Lanka may shed presidential system in reform package

08:27, July 13, 2010      

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Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa (R) presides over a meeting with a delegation from the main opposition United National Party (UNP) on the proposed constitutional amendments at the presidential office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, July 12, 2010. They reached a consensus to create an Executive Prime Minister accountable to parliament by abolishing the Executive Presidency under the new Constitutional Reforms proposed by the government. (Xinhua Photo)

Sri Lanka may opt to change its presidential system of governance in the new constitutional reform envisaged, party officials said on Monday.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and a ruling party delegation conferred here Monday with a delegation from the main opposition United National Party (UNP) on a possible package which would lead to a new constitution.

"We met the president and we discussed electoral reform which is a mixture of the first-past-the-post and the proportional representation system," UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told reporters.

Presidential officials said the parties had agreed to replace the existing presidential system with a executive prime minister who will be accountable to parliament.

Wickremesinghe said the talks would be continued with a view to thrash out other issues such as the implementation of the principals in the 17th amendment of the constitution which sought to de-politicize the key areas such as elections, judiciary, police and public service.

The present constitution adopted in 1978 provides unbridled powers to the president elected by direct vote.

The incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa who is in his second term was thought to be wanting a third term, which is not allowed by the present constitution.

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