Debate turns tense in parliament

Debate turns tense in parliament

Debate turns tense in parliament

Written by Tharushan Fernando

09 Feb, 2016 | 9:43 pm

Tensions flared in Parliament on Tuesday when a group of opposition MPs requested that the Joint Opposition be considered an independent group.

UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa noted that the ‘group’ led by Dinesh Gunawardena pointed out the need to accept the joint opposition as an independent opposition group and the need to grant certain rights

He added that when time is allocated at present, not enough time is given to the joint opposition, and thus does not receive certain rights, and this situation has dragged on for six months, even though the signed document informing for the recognition as an independent group has been submitted.

“We are the true opposition,” said UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena noting that this has been mentioned to the opposition leader as well and called for an announcement regarding the decision

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe noted that “the problem in this parliament is not knowing whether it is the opposition or the joint opposition. So, there must be only one opposition.”

“Honourable Speaker, if they want to smash coconuts in the meantime, let them do so,” charged the Premier

UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena stated that following the impeachment motion in 1989, the group of UNP MPs including Lalith Athulathmudali, was accepted by the parliament as a separate group within the opposition.

The premier in reply to this, noted that Minister Gamini Dissanayake and the others were not accepted as a separate group, but since he, Lalith Athulathmudali, Premachandra, Weeramanthri and others were removed from the party, separate time was allocated for them.

Leader of the House, Minister Lakshman Kiriella stated that 90 percent of them attend meetings of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

“Don’t you attend when the President convenes meetings?” questioned the Leader of the House

MP Dinesh Gunawardena in retaliation noted that if there is a need to meet the president then he will be met as the head of state, but if it is a question of the party you were elected from, and if as the Prime Minister says you must leave if you are evicted from the party, then that is a separate question.

“We accept that. But if we have not been evicted from the party and are functioning here as MPs then we are doing it with the people’s vote,” charged MP Gunawardane

“I cannot act as a dictator,” said Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, noting that another 175 MPs’ views must be obtained, because a singular decision cannot be made

He added that in the allocation of time today -40 minutes were allocated for the UPFA – and was given 41 minutes but names of speakers were not submitted and there can be groups within a party but there cannot be several parties within a group.

“I cannot be a party to the sin of destroying the alliance. Kindly resolve this among yourselves and then inform us,” said the speaker

Amid the disruptions in the house of legislation today, the Bill proposing to increase female representation in local government bodies by 25 percent, was adopted.

Minister of Women  and Child Affairs,Chandrani Bandara stated that it is very difficult to increase women’s representation in the current political system and that is why this system has been proposed

Deputy Minister of Petroleum Resources Development, Anoma Gamage noted that female representation is less than 5% and in the entire political sphere, women’s representation is less than 2%.

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