President’s Counsels debate over situation of Parliament amidst delayed poll

President’s Counsels debate over situation of Parliament amidst delayed poll

Written by Staff Writer

21 Apr, 2020 | 12:56 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): A former Sri Lankan lawmaker has argued that Parliament has been reactivated as a new date for the general election was announced on Monday, with some arguing otherwise.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, on March 3, had issued a gazette dissolving Parliament while announcing that the parliamentary elections will be held on April 25.

However, the national election commission (NEC) in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, issued a gazette rescheduling the election to June 20.

Sri Lanka’s law requires the new Parliament to be convened on June 2, three months since dissolving Parliament – a situation unlikely to occur considering the delayed poll.

“…if that cannot be reached for whatever the reasons, his proclamation becomes invalid,” former parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran, a president’s counsel, said during the Face The Nation discussion programme hosted by News1st late Monday.

However, president’s counsel Razik Zarook, begged to differ, stating that announcing a date for the poll does not invalidate the President’s gazette to dissolve Parliament.

“The fact is you can’t convene parliament because of certain intervening circumstances,” Zarook said responding to queries made by News1st during the discussion.

Sri Lanka’s general election was discussed heavily recently with the polls body pointing out that failing to convene the new Parliament on time would result in a constitutional impasse.

NEC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya, in a letter to the President’s Office said if the new Parliament is to be convened on June 2, the general election must be held on May 27 or 28.

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