New Cabinet meets for first time Decision taken to hold PC polls as early as possible

Published : 9:08 am  October 31, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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Pic by Kithsiri De Mel


by Sandun A Jayasekera 

The Cabinet of the new government that met yesterday (30) for the first time and took the decision to hold the Provincial Council polls as early as possible after introducing necessary legislative measures.
In this regard President Maithripala Sirisena was scheduled to discuss the holding of PC polls with Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya last afternoon, new co-cabinet spokesman, Mahinda Samarasinghe said.   

Provincial Councils, Local Government and Sports Minister Faiszer Musthapha presented the technical amendments proposed to the Delimitation Report. 

The Government will invite leaders of all political parties represented in Parliament to discuss a modality on how to fast-track the conducting of PC polls and pass the technical amendments, he added.   
Minister Samarasinghe said the Cabinet also withdrew the name proposed for the post of Commissioner General of Inland Revenue Department (IRD) by former Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera. 
Treasury, Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was given the task of proposing a new name for the post from among the senior staff of the IRD the next time Cabinet meets.   Commenting on a meeting of party leaders convened by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Minister Samarasinghe said it was not a formal but an informal meeting to discuss the current political situation of the country.   

“A request had been made by 126 Members of Parliament from Speaker Jayasuriya to convene Parliament before November 16 on which Parliament will have the ceremonial sitting after the prorogation. 
He has sent the letter to President Sirisena for a decision accepting his authority over Parliament and we appreciate it,” Minister Samarasinghe noted.   

However, the prorogation comes into effect only for five or six days because the Parliament was to convene on November 5 for the second reading of the 2019 budget on this date.   

Commenting on the much talked about constitutionality of removing the former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place, Minister Samarasinghe said both actions were constitutionally correct and no one could question the legality of it.   

“President Sirisena sacked Mr. Wickremesinghe and appointed Mr. Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister after consulting constitutional experts and his actions are fully in accordance with the Constitution,” he stressed.   

He added that President Sirisena met the diplomatic community in Colombo and explained the circumstances that led to his action in firing the former Prime Minister and appointing a new Prime Minister along with a new Cabinet.   He said Parliament will have the ceremonial opening on November 16 and the UNP is free to move a no confidence motion thereafter.