Colombo, Jan 27 (PTI) Sri Lanka’s Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa has said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government lacks political capability and does not have adequate support in Parliament to pass the new Constitution, which he claimed that if introduced will divide the country.

He also reiterated his demand for a fresh poll in the island nation.

“The current government lacks political capability to enact the proposed new Constitution. They have no support in parliament to pass that,” Rajapaksa told reporters on Saturday.

“This is a Constitution which aims to divide the country,” he said, adding that the government has failed to deliver their promises made in elections and made it unpopular.

“We want a general election,” he said.

Sri Lanka’s former strongman, who attempted to overthrow Wickremesinghe with the help of President Maithripala Sirisena last year, has been attacking the prime minister’s move to introduce a new Constitution after a report prepared by the Panel of Experts for the Steering Committee was presented in Parliament early this month.

During a debate in the House, Rajapaksa said the effort must now be abandoned and there must be a fresh parliamentary poll.

The Rajapaksa camp claims that the report is the new draft of the Constitution and it aims to dilute the unitary state of the island nation, degrading the upmost position granted to the majority Sinhala Buddhist religion in the current Constitution.

Speaking in Jaffna on Saturday, a senior member of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), M A Sumanthiran said that the proposed Constitution would ensure the island’s unitary character.

“Misinformation was being spread by the Rajapaksa-led Opposition that the new Constitution will formulate a federal structure for Sri Lanka despite repeated explanations that the unitary state and the position of Buddhism will not be harmed,” he said.

The TNA opposed the October 26 stand off when Rajapaksa was appointed as the prime minister by Sirisena in violation of the Constitution.

They voted against Rajapaksa as the new prime minister and demanded the restoration of Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The Rajapaksa camp now alleges Wickremesinghe of relying on the TNA support to prove his majority in Parliament to continue the government.

Wickremesinghe, therefore, is under TNA’s obligation to deliver a new constitution to appease them, they alleged.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.