CC in the balance

Published : 3:00 pm  June 3, 2015 | No comments so far |  | 

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By Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera
The appointment of nominees to the Constitutional Council (CC) proposed under the 19th Amendment is facing more hurdles with the government and the Opposition accusing each other of attempts to scuttle it.  DLF Leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara told Daily Mirror a new parliament would be in place after the general election and therefore there was no need to set up the CC now.  “It will function only for a short period if it is set up now. The next parliament should be given the opportunity to appoint the members to the CC,” he said.

 Meanwhile, the United National Party (UNP), the main constituent of the government, charged that some elements with the backing of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa were attempting to scuttle the process.

 

"The Speaker, Prime Minister and Opposition Leader are ex-officio members. The Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader in consultation with each other are empowered to appoint two MPs. The President has to nominate one MP and the small parties represented in Parliament another.  Three representatives from civil society groups will complete the 10-member CC"

 


The Speaker, Prime Minister and Opposition Leader are ex-officio members. The Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader in consultation with each other are empowered to appoint two MPs. The President has to nominate one MP and the small parties represented in Parliament the other.  Three representatives from civil society groups will complete the 10-member CC.


Mr. Nanayakkara, backed by other leftist parties, said the present appointments would not reflect the policy of a parliament which would be formed after the general election.


Meanwhile, the Opposition including the DLF and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) was critical of the nomination of two ministers to the CC on the recommendation of the President and the Prime Minister. These parties argue that ministers, who exercise executive responsibilities, should not be assigned any role in the CC because it would amount to a conflict of interest.


Commenting on the situation, House Leader Lakshman Kiriella said an invisible hand was manipulating some of the opposition members and inciting them to sabotage the appointment of the Constitutional Council (CC). He said there was no reason for any MP to oppose the appointment of the non-political members to the CC because the three names had been selected by the Speaker, Prime Minister and Opposition Leader in consultation with other political parties represented in parliament.


“Attempts by some elements in the Opposition to scuttle the constitution of the nationally important CC is an act of sabotage,” Mr. Kiriella said.


He was referring to reports that some Opposition MPs want the no-confidence motion against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake to be debated today while some others are opposing the appointment of former UN Under-Secretary Radhika Coomaraswarmy who is one of the non- political appointees to the Constitutional Council.  The other two non-political appointees are retired Appeal Court Judge A.W.A Salam and Sarvodaya Chief A.T. Ariyaratne. Parliament is expected to approve these names today.

 

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