Speaker’s decision on Opp. Leader post cannot be challenged – Kiriella

Speaker’s decision on Opp. Leader post cannot be challenged – Kiriella

Written by Staff Writer

25 Jan, 2019 | 9:35 pm

Colombo (News1st): The position of opposition leader was again subject to debate in parliament today (Jan 25) when MP R. Sampanthan said though the UPFA indisputably has the second largest number of members in parliament, they could not hold the position of leader of the opposition as they were part of the government.

He noted that under article 9, subsection 13A of the constitution Mahinda Rajapaksa cannot be appointed to the position of the leader of the opposition as he has lost his Parliamentary seat after obtaining membership in the SLPP.

The Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella noted that the Speaker has issued his opinion on the matter and that his decision cannot be challenged inside or outside parliament. He added that it it up to the Parliament to resolve the issue on wether the positions of the leader of the government and the leader of the opposition can be held by members of the same party.

UPFA MP Dullas Alahapperuma noted that there are three precedents for this situation in this chamber before and after the 19th constitutional amendment. He provided the house with three examples from the past they were,

  1. When President Maithripala Sirisena was the president of the country Nimal Siripala De Silva held the position of the opposition leader
  2. When Chandrika Bandaranayake Kumaratunga was the Executive President of the country Mahinda Rajapaksa held the position of opposition leader
  3. When D.B. Wijeyatunga was the executive president and the head of the cabinet Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe held the position of opposition leader

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya addressing this issue stated that as indicated by the MP Sampanthan, the recognition of Mahinda Rajapaksa was not consequent upon any request by the UPFA general secretary but by the age-old convention of this house that the speaker should recognize the leader of the parliamentary group of the recognized parliamentary group having the largest number of members sitting in the opposition as the leader of the opposition.

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