He also said, “There cannot be any question of scrapping the 13th Amendment, because the government will have to leave power if they do so.”
Minister Senaratne also noted, “These so-called nationalist groups that are against the 13th Amendment are not nationalists, but chauvinists,” and added, “It is imperative that we remove the misunderstanding between ethnic minorities, if we are to find a political solution to the long-drawn-out ethnic issue.”He noted that devolution under the 13th Amendment is the “best possible solution available at the moment, since it maintains a unitary State, retaining control with the government and Parliament.
The minister’s comments come despite strong internal pressure from certain UPFA factions to abrogate the 13th Amendment to the Constitution or failing which dilute some of its powers, in particular to prevent the merger of two or more adjoining Provincial Councils, in the future. Also, nationalist groups such as the National Freedom Front (NFF) led by Minister Wimal Weerawansa and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), have been especially vocal in their opposition to the full implementation of the 13th Amendment.
Reports indicate the government is planning to moot the so-called 19th Amendment, which will prevent a potential merger between adjoining Provincial Councils. However, Minster Senaratne admitted that he does not think any changes to the 13th Amendment will occur before the Northern Provincial Council elections in September.