Sri Lanka

Constitutional Background

After adopting the federation package, Sri Lanka is planning to draft a new Constitution until the end of 1995 that not only includes the federalization, but also replaces the strong presidential position by the Westminster system commonly used in former British colonies. An election law and a human rights act are also on the agenda.

After independence in 1948, the Tamil minority suffered at the hands of majority Buddhist Sinhalese. The current (1996) government promotes an "indissoluble union of regions". However, the Tamil Tigers' aim is complete secession. Its military arm, the LTTE (Freedom Tigers of Tamil Eelam), are now (1996) fighting for 13 years for independence of Eelam.

The government's devolution plan to establish autonomy is currently (July 1996) stuck in parliamentary debate. Furthermore, the draft needs approval of the Constitutional Court and, thereafter, will require a two-thirds majority in parliament and an endorsement by referendum.

History and News

  • 3 Aug 1995: President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga offers truce to Tamil Tigers by submitting a federation package to transform the state into a federation with eight regions including one in the North-East (Eelam) dominated by Tamils.
  • 1994: After seventeen years of government and significant liberalizing reforms, the UNP (United National Party) goes into opposition. The leftist PAC (People's Alliance Coalition) rules and Kumaratunga becomes President. She introduces bread subsidies.
  • 1983: Pogrom of Colombo against Tamil minority. Tamil Tigers are starting terrorist movement.
  • 1948: Independence from Britain.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - 27.6.2020 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.