Speaker, President should find a solution to political deadlock - Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe | Sunday Observer

Speaker, President should find a solution to political deadlock - Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe

Despite the moves by the UNP led Opposition to pass a motion prohibiting the Secretary to the Prime Minister approving expenditure from the funds of the Republic, the Government lawmakers told the media that the motion to cut the Prime Minister’s funds is sub judice and that Parliament has no power to debate such a motion to curtail budgetary allocations to the Prime Minister’s office.

Due to the decision taken by the Government members to boycott Thursday’s debate based on the ground that the motion is illegal and against the Constitution and Standing Orders, the Speaker continued proceedings. He later called for a vote on the motion which received 123 votes in favour.

When all Government members had unanimously decided to boycott the debate, the highlight of the day’s proceedings was Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe who alone participated in the debate on the Government side addressed the House. He told the House that the Speaker and the President should find a solution to the current political deadlock. Minister Rajapakshe said the country is in a constitutional deadlock as the Executive and the Legislature are not in agreement. He said the responsibility of Parliament is to put aside political disagreements and work towards the stability of the country. He further said that those who have the majority in Parliament should be able to form a Government.

Government lawmakers who addressed a media briefing at the parliamentary complex explained in detail their decision to boycott the debate and categorically said that it is completely wrong to debate a matter that is before the court. The Government members said they didn’t attend the parliamentary session as the proceedings were conducted by the Speaker in an illegal and undemocratic manner.

Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva who addressed the media briefing was highly critical of the manner in which the proceedings were conducted by the Speaker. He said the Speaker is acting like a dictator. No Speaker in the world has acted stubbornly as our Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. The Minister was of the view that the Speaker is leaving a black mark on Sri Lanka and its Parliament’s history. However, Minister Wimal Weerawansa urged public servants not to panic or be frightened by these dramas enacted by the UNP led Opposition.

Leader of the House and Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told the media that the Government had decided to boycott Parliamentary sittings till there was an assurance that the Speaker would conduct sessions impartially in accordance with the provisions of the Standing Orders. He said they will not sit in Parliament as long as its conduct is affected by a biased Speaker and added that the impartiality of the Speaker is of paramount importance to ensure the legitimacy of Parliament.

Minister Gunawardena said the Parliament sessions on November 14, 15, 16, 19, 21 and 23 had not been conducted in accordance with the Standing Orders so the Hansard reports on those days were not legal documents. Earlier, the Government MPs had submitted a letter to the Speaker demanding not to publish Hansard reports on those days since they are not legally acceptable.

The Opposition members resorting to the same course of action submitted another motion on Friday to curtail funds to Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers and State Ministers which was passed in Parliament by 122 votes.

Addressing a media briefing Minister S.B.Dissanayake said the Speaker is acting in an adamant manner in the hope of becoming the Common Candidate at the next Presidential Election. The Minister charged that the Speaker acts in a stubborn manner and conducts the parliamentary proceedings together with the TNA, JVP and SLMC to cater to the interests of the UNP.

There was no agenda for Tuesday’s (November 27) Parliamentary sittings. Before the commencement of parliamentary proceedings, the Government’s group meeting was held at the parliamentary complex under the patronage of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa while the UNP’s group meeting was also held under the auspices of party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. After the UNP Group meeting UNP MP Gayantha Karunatilleka told the media that every day the Government can’t play hide and seek as they don’t have the majority but they have to face the consequences. After the Government Group meeting, Prime Minister Rajapaksa told the media of their decision to boycott Tuesday’s parliamentary proceedings. He said that following the majority view of the Government Group, a decision was taken not to attend parliamentary sittings until the Speaker follows proper parliamentary traditions.

Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told the media that as they don’t recognise the incumbent Parliament they won’t participate in the proceedings. The Government Group will only attend Parliamentary Sittings if the Speaker acts according to Standing Orders. UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa said if the Speaker wants to conduct a UNP Group meeting in Parliament spending the taxpayer’s money, they will leave it alone by allowing him to do so.

Minister Udaya Gammanpila said the Speaker has already been held responsible for the offence of preparing forged documents. Therefore, they have no trust in him.

However, parliamentary proceedings commenced on Tuesday at 1.00 pm under the patronage of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. But no Government MP was in the Chamber at that time. Despite the absence of the Government lawmakers, the Speaker continued the day’s proceedings of the House as he wished. Once the House resumed, UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella drew the attention of the Speaker that even though one month had elapsed after the Government assumed office, not even a single Bill, law or regulation has been presented in Parliament.

He said that for the first time in Sri Lanka’s history, Parliament is boycotted by the Government itself. MP Mangala Samaraweera told the Speaker to intervene and request the President to appoint a legally accepted Government without betraying the country. Samaraweera said at present no country has recognised this illegitimate Government.

During the ad hoc parliamentary proceedings so many Opposition law makers who rose to their feet resorted to make congratulatory remarks and appreciated the decision taken by the Speaker to continue the proceedings even with the absence of the Government Group of MPs. The Opposition MPs hailed the decision taken by the Speaker to restore democracy in the well of the House without succumbing to any pressure.

UNP MP Navin Dissanayake said Parliament is the temple of democracy. The temple of democracy was invaded by thugs. However, the principle of democracy was upheld by the Speaker. MP Dissanayake said if the Government had a majority, the Speaker would have acted in the best interest of the majority.

The Speaker who responded to certain remarks by the Government lawmakers in their press briefing said that during his entire life he had never resorted to any unlawful activity but added that he is ready to go to prison for the sake of law and justice.

Government law makers also conducted a media briefing at the Parliament complex on Tuesday to clarify their position as to why they boycott the parliamentary proceedings. Leader of the House Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told the media that Tuesday’s Order Paper is an empty document and added that the Speaker should not turn Parliament into an absolute joke. It is obvious that the conduct of the Speaker is completely against the Constitution and the Standing Orders.

Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the adjournment of the House was also not on the Speaker’s agenda. Therefore, according the Speaker’s agenda, Parliament should continue until next morning. The Minister said at present the Speaker has resorted to such childish acts. The Minister queried as to how the Government Group agrees to these unparliamentary practices of the Speaker. 

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