A Steering Committee consisting of the Prime Minister (Chairman), Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the House, the Minister of Justice, and not more than eleven other Members of the Constitutional Assembly will be appointed by the Constitutional Assembly.The Steering Committee will be responsible for the business of the Constitutional Assembly and for preparing a Draft of a new Constitution for Sri Lanka.“The proceedings of the Constitutional Assembly and its Sub-Committees shall be open to the public. The proceedings of the Constitutional Assembly and its Sub-Committees shall be documented and published forthwith. Where appropriate the Constitutional Assembly shall take steps to ensure the broadcast of the proceedings of the Constitutional Assembly and / or its Sub-Committees. For the avoidance of doubt it is hereby specifically resolved that the special leave of Parliament is specifically granted in terms of section 17 of the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act for the publication of the aforesaid matters. For the avoidance of doubt it is further resolved that the proceedings of the Constitutional Assembly and the Sub-Committees shall be deemed to have been reported to Parliament simultaneously, and that the publication of any such proceedings, which publication is hereby specifically authorized, shall not constitute an offence in terms of the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act,” the resolution notes. The Constitutional Assembly will be tasked with drafting a new Constitution for the country. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today presented a resolution on converting Parliament into a Constitutional Assembly.The resolution was presented during a special session of Parliament today which was also attended by President Maithripala Sirisena. The Constitutional Assembly will have the power to invite any person for consultation and or to make submissions before the Constitutional Assembly. While in the past a Parliament Select Committee had been tasked with proposing constitutional reforms, this time the entire Parliament will take part in the initial process. The resolution notes that there shall be a Committee of Parliament referred to as the ‘Constitutional Assembly’ which shall consist of all Members of Parliament, for the purpose of deliberating on, and seeking the views and advice of the people, on a new constitution for Sri Lanka, and preparing a draft of a Constitution Bill for the consideration of Parliament in the exercise of its powers under Article 75 of the Constitution.The resolution notes that the Speaker of Parliament shall be the Chairman of the Constitutional Assembly and that there will be seven Deputy Chairmen of the Constitutional Assembly, who shall be elected by the Constitutional Assembly. If two-thirds of the Constitutional Assembly does not approve the resolution on the draft Constitution, the Constitutional Assembly and the Committees referred to in the resolution shall stand dissolved. If the Constitutional Assembly approves the resolution on the draft Constitution by a two-thirds majority, the Report and the draft Constitution shall be submitted by the Steering Committee to the Cabinet of Ministers, and thereupon the Constitutional Assembly and the Sub-Committees referred to in the resolution shall stand dissolved.The Cabinet of Ministers shall certify the draft Bill contained in such report as a Bill to repeal and replace the Constitution as a whole in terms of Article 75(b) and Article 120(b) and that such bill is intended to be passed with the special majority required by Article 83 and submitted to the people by a Referendum. (Colombo Gazette)

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