Sampanthan challenges MR’s position as Opp. Leader

Sampanthan challenges MR’s position as Opp. Leader

Written by Staff Writer

19 Dec, 2018 | 9:14 pm

Colombo (News1st): A debate arose in Parliament regarding the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Leader of the Opposition following a statement made by TNA parliamentary group leader R. Sampanthan.

MP Sampanthan noted that the speaker himself recognized him as the leader of the opposition for the second time in 2015, as he was the leader of ITAK the second largest party in opposition. He said the question arises, as to whether the speaker lacked the conviction to remove him from the post of the leader of the opposition.

“When a government has not yet been fully constituted, I submit that there was no need for another person to be recognized as the leader of the opposition and by doing so, without removing the functioning leader of the opposition, has further complicated the issue,” said MP Sampanthan.

He suggested that the speaker’s decision has been taken in haste and it is in violation of the constitution. MP Sampanthan said that this emphasizes the urgent and utmost importance of framing a new constitution that would enable all people inclusive of the Tamil and Tamil speaking people to live with self-respect and dignity.

TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran speaking on the issue quoted three newspaper reports, dated 12th November, which revealed that Mahinda Rajapaksa had obtained SLPP membership on the 11th of November 2018, two days after the President announced the dissolution of Parliament.

UPFA MP Susil Premajayantha opposing this fact stated that the position of a parliament member cannot be expelled without the knowledge of the Secretary of the Party and in the situation when he was expelled from the party, the MP could go to the Supreme Court within a month of expulsion.

“According to its 66th clause, the Supreme Court is allowed to debate on the matter and pronounce a decision and this letter that is signed by the Secretary of the Party states that Mahinda Rajapaksa represents the UPFA, there is no proof that he has taken membership of the Sri Lanka Podujana Party other than a newspaper article,” said MP Premajayantha. He noted that the UPFA party membership has not been made invalid.

Lakshman Kiriella then posed questions to MP Premajayantha regarding the tweets that say that 52 UPFA members took SLPP membership.

UPFA Responds to the challenges

UPFA MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage stated that it must be kept in mind that Mahinda Rajapaksa is the adviser of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and all of them, including himself, are still members of the SLFP.

He noted that Rs. 3000 form his salary is being deducted for the SLFP fund and a large sum of money has been deducted from Mahinda Rajapaksa’s salary during the past years for the SLFP fund, he reiterated that they all are still holding the SLFP membership.

MP Pavithra Wanniarachchi making a comment in this regard stated that the speaker cannot vacate a parliamentary member’s seat nor can he say that an MP will be removed because of an issue in the party. She noted that at the end of the day the Speaker is also a member of the United National Party

MP W.D.J. Seneviratne noted that anyone can join another alliance while keeping the membership of the party you entered into parliament. He stated that it is not a problem and that there is no obstruction from the law for that.

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