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Plan to curb Chandrika powers

Colombo, Sept. 19 (Reuters): Sri Lanka’s government proposed a constitutional amendment to parliament today, seeking a curb on presidential powers that it says is crucial to a push for peace with separatist rebels.

The Bill would take away the authority of the country’s President, currently Chandrika Kumaratunga, to dissolve parliament. “The President has said in a letter to the speaker (of the parliament) she will not use her power,” government spokesman Gairuka Perusinghe said. “We just want to legalise what the President has already indicated.”

The government and rebels concluded their first peace talks in seven years in neutral Thailand yesterday.

But the Tigers have expressed concern that Kumaratunga, a political rival of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, will derail the process by sacking the government if she is unhappy with the outcome of talks.

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