Written by Staff Writer
18 Dec, 2018 | 9:44 pm
Colombo (News1st): Speaker Karu Jayasuriya today (December 18) announced that he accepts Mahinda Rajapaksa as Opposition Leader and Mahinda Amaraweera as the Chief Opposition Whip in Parliament.
However, the United National Party, Muslim Congress and Tamil National Alliance pointed out that Mahinda Rajapaksa obtaining membership in Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna eventually vacates his seat in parliament according to the constitution.
The Speaker has stated that he will announce his decision regarding this on Friday (December 21).
A group of members of the United People’s Freedom Alliance who met President Maithripala Sirisena this morning decided to appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Opposition Leader. Thereafter General Secretary of the United People’s Freedom Alliance Mahinda Amaraweera gave this in writing to the speaker of the parliament with his signature.
Meanwhile, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya also announced that he recognizes Lakshman Kiriella and Gayantha Karunathilake as the Leader of the house and Chief Government Whip respectively.
Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella speaking during the start of the parliamentary session noted that according to the standing orders, outsiders cannot enter into parliament. He pointed out that there are a few outsiders present at the Parliamentary sessions today. He said that the constitution states that if an MP leaves the respective political party, one month after the resignation he loses his seat in Parliament. “My point is that the membership of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party expires in a month, 60% of them are in the flower bud party and you are the leader of the flower bud party,” said MP Kiriella.
UPFA MP Chandima Weerakkody questioned if this is what they call safeguarding the democracy? He stated that an autocratic figure has been appointed to the government.
Commenting on the matter TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran stated that a UPFA member cannot be appointed as the opposition leader when the leader of the UPFA currently heads the cabinet and holds 3 ministerial portfolios.
Thereafter he noted that in relation to the issue raised by the Leader of the House, article 99 (13) of the constitution very clearly stipulates that if a member of parliament resigns or ceases to be a member of the political party through which he was elected to parliament, then he vacates his seat in parliament upon the expiration of one month from ceasing to be member of the party.
“I take the view that there are strangers in the house here today and they must be asked to vacate the chamber,” said MP Sumanthiran. He then requested the Speaker not to change the position of the Opposition leader.
Speaker Jayasuriya requested the MP to file a written submission. He noted that he will provide his ruling by Friday (December 21). SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem also raised his concerns regarding the issue.
UPFA MP Susil Premajayantha stated that none of the members of the parliament got selected from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, according to the gazette notification and nomination papers. He said since there’s no agreement between each other and as ordered certainly it is the United Peoples Freedom Alliance, that should be in the Opposition.
MP Udaya Gammanpila stated that in 1994, leader of the UNP D.B. Wijetunga held the position of the President while Gamini Dissanayake of the UNP held the position of Opposition Leader, further in 2001 Leader of the People’s Alliance (PA) Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunge was President while a member of the same party Rathnasiri Wickramanayake was the Leader of the Opposition.
He added that when Maithripala Sirisena became the President in 2015 Nimal Siripala held the position as the Leader of the Opposition. He advised the ruling party to worry about their own matters without looking into the matters of other people.
UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena stated that MP Sumanthiran has brought out a pointless argument that United Peoples Freedom Alliance cannot hold the Opposition. He proposed that parliamentary activities be continues without considering pointless arguments.
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