COLOMBO, April 19 (Xinhua)-- Sri Lankan political party leaders on Sunday agreed to debate key constitutional reforms in parliament this week after days of disagreement on some clauses.
The 19th Amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution will be debated in parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday, former Minister Prof. Tissa Vitarana said.
The agreement was reached when political party leaders, including those from the opposition, met on Sunday with President Maithripala Sirisena.
Vitarana said that it was agreed that only the sections of the 19th Amendment approved by the Supreme Court will be in the draft and debated in parliament.
The Supreme Court had determined that some sections of the 19th Amendment will require a referendum and not just parliament approval.
The government has however decided to remove the sections of the 19th Amendment which will require a referendum in order to have it passed by parliament.
A key aspect of the 19th Amendment is reducing the powers of the president which most political parties have agreed.
The Peoples Liberation Front expressed confidence that the 19th Amendment will be passed in parliament.
Peoples Liberation Front General Secretary Tilvin Silva said while the 19th Amendment does not meet the full expectations of the people, it is still acceptable and so should be approved by parliament.
Meanwhile, Vitarana said that it was also agreed that the proposed 20th Amendment to the constitution will be submitted to parliament at a later date before parliament is dissolved.
He said that President Sirisena had assured that he will speak with all political parties and look to reach consensus on the 20th Amendment, which proposes a new electoral system.