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Sri Lankan parliament approves constitutional reforms

Sri Lankan parliament approves constitutional reforms

Colombo: Sri Lanka's parliament on Tuesday passed a series of key constitutional reforms which include reducing the powers in the hands of the president.

The opposition United People's Freedom Alliance(UPFA) voted with the government on the proposals which were finalised after two days of debate.

In the 225-member parliament, 215 voted for while one voted against it, one abstained and seven parliamentarians were absent.

Parliament went into extra time on Tuesday after the opposition refused to agree to come clauses in the constitutional reforms, known as the 19th Amendment to the constitution.

The government later agreed to some of the demands of the opposition which Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said was required to obtain parliament majority for the proposals.

The amendment to the constitution was part of new President Maithripala Sirisena's mandate when he contested the January 8 elections which he won.

Sirisena said he was keen to ensure the powers of the president are reduced in future and pushed for the amendment to be passed.

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