Disagreements erupt into heated arguments at council meetings

Published : 12:00 am  May 29, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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Appointment of opposition leader for Kotte MC

By Muditha Dayananda  
The appointment of an opposition leader for the Sri Jayawardenapura – Kotte Municipal Council (MC)  has lead to numerous heated discussions at the monthly Council meeting.   

When the subject was brought up for discussion during the previous council meeting, there were heated arguments at the council premises.   

While SLPP candidate Madura Vithanage was appointed Mayor of the Municipality, with the support of other SLPP and SLFP councilors, an opposition leader for the council is yet to be appointed. 

It was suggested,  by five SLFP councilors and four UNP councilors,  at the inaugural council meeting,  that former Mayor Janaka Ranawaka be appointed the opposition leader. However,  a letter issued by the UNP Officer stated that Councilor Chandima Nayanajith should be accepted as the opposition leader of the council.   

Incidentally,  Mayor Madura Vithanage had another issue in appointing an opposition leader. Speaking at the previous council meeting, Vithanage stated that the Municipality Ordinance only allowed for the appointment of a Mayor/ Chairman and Deputy Mayor/ Deputy Chairman for the council. He argued that the post of opposition leader was unnecessary for the Council as the law dictated that a Council only consisted of a Mayor, his Deputy and Council members.   

SLPP Councilors along with SLFP and JVP Council members agreed with the statement. UNP Council members Suraj Jayasuriya and Harshani Sandaruwani agreed with the statement while, other UNP council members including Chandima Nayanajith vociferously disagreed.   

Speaking to the Council, UNP member Harshani Sandaruwani said the UNP members were divided and that no one should make the mistake of assuming they would always be on the same page in official matters.  
However, Nayanjith argued that the post had been maintained by the council for so long and therefore would not be an issue if it were to be continued in the future. The councilor went so far as to suggest that a secret ballot should be held to appoint an individual for the position.   

Several UNP members and other councilors suggested that an open ballot be held for the position.   

Meanwhile,  JVP Council member Arosh Atapattu speaking of the incident agreed that there was no need to appoint an individual for the post of opposition leader as it did not exist legally in municipalities but he would not oppose the opposition leader, if an individual was to be appointed to such a post with the blessing of the entire council.   

However, Attapattu said he would not support the move if such was to be passed and also stated that an individual appointed to such a post should not have additional privileges.   

Mayor Vithanage stated that he would relay his decision on the issue, during the next council meeting.