The Government expects to present the draft of the new Constitution by December, Foreign Minister, Prof. G. L. Peiris said.
Speaking to the media, he said that the nine-Member Expert Committee appointed to formulate a new Constitution has finalised the draft of the new Constitution. The Committee chaired by President’s Counsel, Romesh de Silva, which was appointed in September 2020, has completed the draft after broad consultations with different parties and stakeholders.
“The draft of Sri Lanka’s new Constitution has been completed and it is expected to be ready for Parliament’s approval by early 2022,” Minister Peiris said.
The Minister said that the draft has been sent to the Legal Draftsman’s Department to prepare the final document. He said that Parliament would be able to direct its attention towards the draft by early 2022.
However, he did not elaborate on the form of the new Constitution. Observing that the Constitution-making process is a complicated process, the Minister pointed out that the Constitution needs to be changed to suit the contemporary times and the people’s changing needs.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, addressing the Army day ceremony recently in Anuradhapura, also said the Constitutional reform process was well underway. President Rajapaksa said that a new constitution and an electoral system for the island will be delivered within the next year. There will also be one country, one law, the President said.
Sri Lanka has in the past made many attempts to change the current Constitution. Since 1997, all such attempts, including the last in 2015, were aborted after months of deliberations. It has however been amended 20 times.
However, there is a wide acknowledgement across the political spectrum that the Constitution should be changed or reformed, along with the introduction of a new electoral system that will probably be a mix of Proportional Representation (PR) and First-Past-the-Post systems.