Executive, Legislature crisis deepens

Published : 9:10 am  November 16, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 

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  • Speaker urges Prez to adhere to parliamentary verdict

 

LATE-CITY-MB_1By Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera

The crisis between the Executive and the Legislature widened further yesterday as Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced in Parliament yesterday that the Cabinet had been rendered unlawful after the no confidence motion against the government was passed on Wednesday.

  He made this assertion a day after President Maithripala Sirisena challenged the procedure adopted by the Speaker in taking a vote on the no confidence motion brought against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. 

 
At the commencement of yesterday’s business in the House, the Speaker said that none of the MPs in the House could be considered Ministers.   


“They all are MPs now,” he said.   


In his references, he even called Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa ‘MP’.   Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardane confronted the Speaker and said President Maithripala Sirisena had declined to accept this position.   Meanwhile, the Speaker, in his letter of reply to the President, said , “ It is obvious that the resolution passed by 122 Members of Parliament yesterday (14.11.2018) has been challenged by you. Those 122 Members of Parliament included Members of Parliament of the United National Party, Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Tamil National Alliance and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and a few Members of Parliament and Ministers of the new government.   


It is regretting that you have forgotten that you ascended to the post of President and Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe to the post of Prime Minister on 8th January 2015 upon the mandate of the people given thence”.  


He said, “I wish to thank you for reminding me the responsibility of acting independently as the Speaker. It is the stand of the democratic, civilized society that standing up for 122 Members of Parliament is heeding the voice of the majority which should not be construed as being biased.   


After assuming duties as the Speaker I can, true to my conscience, state that I have not stepped in to Sirikotha, the headquarters of the United National Party. Further, I have not participated, even at a minor level, in any political activity of the party.   


I wish to remind you that allegations were preferred against me by the ruling party members led by the United National Party for allocating more time for the Members of Parliament of the Opposition and it was also suggested that I should be replaced as the Speaker.   


I was astonished by comments made by you as a seasoned parliamentarian and a matured representative of people who referred to the way I conducted affairs in Parliament yesterday as being inconsistent with the Constitution, the Standing Orders and the parliamentary traditions.   

 

Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardane confronted the Speaker and said President Maithripala Sirisena had declined to accept this position


The Ministers of the new government, having realized that they do not have the capability of demonstrating the majority of Parliament, gathered at the well of the House denigrating democratic and parliamentary traditions with absolute disregard for the Standing Orders, hurling most vituperative and abusive words while trying to grab the mace was a far, cry from the term “Honourable” Members of Parliament. By watching the compact discs of the proceedings of the House yesterday, you may well be able to understand how some Members of Parliament deliberately tried to prevent a vote by their ugly conduct.   I also wish to state with responsibility that all 122 Members of Parliament who voted for the motion were present at the House yesterday. Amongst them were some Ministers and Members of Parliament of the government.   Though I made a respectful request thrice appealing for their support to duly take the vote, I was not given any opportunity for taking such a vote and accordingly, in terms of the Standing Order 47(1) I had to take the vote by voices and declare that it had been passed by the majority.   


“Your Excellency”   


The country was plunged into chaos as a result of the decision taken by you on October 26. The economy of the country, living conditions of the people, arrival of tourists, the goodwill earned by Sri Lanka in the international arena and the reputation you earned during your long, distinguished political journey are all in the process of being lost at the moment. An unnecessary conflict between the Executive had the Legislature has been created as a result.   
It is with great respect that I urge you on behalf of all the citizens of the country and future generations to come, that expeditious measures to be taken to save the nation from this catastrophe by lending your ears to the majority view of Parliament without future delay.   I will send you a response explaining the constitutional perspective and the other matters stated in your letter, after having obtained the views of legal experts.   Though we had an appointment to meet you yesterday at 8.30 a.m. It is the opinion of the party leaders that such a meeting would serve no purpose given the wording in your letter.   In conclusion, it is my patriotic duty to emphasize that this dilemma can be solved  through negotiations, for the sake of good governance for which we all appear as a state which possesses a legacy of matured democracy spanning seven decades.   


Arrangements will be made to release this letter too to the media, as your letter too had been released thus.   

 


Thank you,   
Yours Sincerely,   
Karu Jayasuriya,   
Speaker   

 

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