Speaker’s decision on post of Opp. Leader has not changed – Deputy Speaker

Speaker’s decision on post of Opp. Leader has not changed – Deputy Speaker

Written by Staff Writer

08 Jan, 2019 | 8:05 pm

Colombo (News1st) – The Speaker of Parliament reiterated today that he has not changed his decision on naming Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Opposition leader.

Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri reading out a prepared statement noted that the General Secretary of the UPFA had informed the Speaker through a letter, dated 19/12/2018, that all members of the UPFA who were elected to Parliament, except for the MP who was removed through a court order, remain members of the UPFA.

The Speaker of Parliament after conducting a thorough review of the matter at hand had come to the conclusion that he does not have the authority to issue a ruling on whether a member of Parliament should lose his seat or not, adding that this authority lies with the judiciary. The statement went on to note that it is in violation of parliamentary traditions and fundamentals of democracy to appoint a special select committee to probe into an internal party issue.

TNA Spokesperson MP M.A.Sumanthiran speaking to the media stated that they cannot go to court to seek a resolution to the issue relating to the post of opposition leader. He added that the Speaker’s decision on the matter is final.

However, in a tweet, the TNA media office states that the President is the head of the Government as well as the SLFP and UPFA. It also noted that Mahinda Rajapaksa claims to be from the SLFP/UPFA. In such a backdrop the TNA states that Parliament should ask how the President can serve concurrently as both the head of the Government and the head of the Opposition.

A statement made by MP Udaya Gammanpila on the 18th of December 2018 in Parliament provides a perfect response to this query. In it, he lists out similar occurrences in the past.

  • 1994 – UNP leader D. B. Wijeytunge served as President while UNP’s Gamini Dissanayake served as the Opposition Leader
  • 2001 – PA leader Chandrika Kumaranatunga served as President while PA’s Rathnasiri Wickramanayake served as the Opposition Leader
  • 2015 – UPFA Leader Maithripala served as President while UPFA’s Nimal Siripala de Silva served as the Opposition Leader


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