Post of Opposition Leader Uproar in Parliament

Published : 9:15 am  August 8, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 

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By Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana  

Parliament was in a state of chaos yesterday when the joint opposition asked Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to give a ruling on the request it had made to appoint one of their members as the leader of the opposition. 

 

Heated arguments were heard when JO parliamentary group leader and MP Dinesh Gunawardane asked whether the Speaker would give a ruling on this matter. 


“We made a written request to appoint a new opposition leader from the JO and you promised to give a ruling on it today. We like to know your decision with regard to this matter,” the MP said. He said the JO was eligible to hold the opposition leader’s post because it had the support of 70 members in the House. “We have nothing against the incumbent Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan but our point is that this post is traditionally given to the group which has most number of seats in the Opposition,” the MP said.  


JO MP Dallas Alahapperuma recalled that MP Anura Bandaranaike was appointed as the Acting Leader of Opposition followinga request by a majority of members in the Opposition despite Mr.  K.B. Ratnayake being named by the then Opposition Leader to the post when going abroad in 1993. He said Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva was named Opposition Leader in January 2015 despite some UPFA MPs accepting ministerial posts in the 100-day government.  


Opposition MP Susil Premajayantha said the Speaker’s decision to call for the opinion of UPFA general secretary was not a proper thing to do. He said the party in the opposition which has the most number of seats should hold the opposition leader’s post.  


JO MP Vasudeva Nanaykkara said the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) had called for an explanation from the Speaker on not having appointed a JO member to this post. 


JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake said all UPFA members who are holding ministerial posts should resign and sit in the Opposition if a new opposition leader is to be appointed from another group. “The JO members are ones who contested from the UPFA and if an opposition leader is to be appointed from that group the UPFA members who hold ministerial posts should resign and sit in the opposition,” he said. TNA MP M.S. Sumanthiran also expressed similar views.  
Minister Harin Fernando said the issue was nothing but rift within the UPFA. He said the matter with regard to leader of opposition would be settled if the rift in the UPFA is solved.  


UNP MP Thushara Indunil said all back bench MPs of his party had decided to crossover to the opposition and claim the opposition leader’s post if a member in the joint opposition group is appointed to this post. 

 

We made a written request to appoint a new opposition leader from the JO  and you promised to give a ruling on it today. We like to know your  decision with regard to this matter

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