Lankan Speaker’s declaration that he wont recognize MR’s govt draws flak

Lankan Speaker’s declaration that he wont recognize MR’s govt draws flak

Colombo, Nov 5 ( Sri Lanka’s Executive and the Legislature seem to be heading for a head-on clash when parliament meets on November 14.

Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, on Monday said he will not recognize the new government sworn in by President Maithripala Sirisena recently until it proves its majority in Parliament.

The Speaker also vowed to summon parliament by November 7 based on the verbal assurance given by the President that parliament will be convened on November 7 “and restore stability in the country”.

But the newly appointed Foreign Minister Dr.Sarath Amunugama reacted sharply to this saying that the Speaker has no right to say what he did because it is not for him to pronounce whether a government and its ministers are legitimate or not. It is the prerogative of the President of Sri Lanka to appoint anyone, who in his opinion, commands the majority in the House.

Dr.Amunugama added that Speaker Jayasuriya is partisan when he ought to be neutral.

In a statement, Jayasuriya said he would continue to recognize ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his administration as the government in power as the President’s decision to sack Wickremesinghe and dissolve the earlier cabinet was unconstitutional.

“The majority of members are of the view that the changes are unconstitutional and against traditions,” Jayasuriya said in the statement.

“Until the group demonstrates a majority in parliament I re-iterate that I am compelled to recognize the situation that prevailed earlier,” Jayasuriya added.

Summoning parliament

The President had earlier told foreign envoys presenting credentials that parliament will meet on November 5. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had stated that publicly. But the President told the Speaker later over phone, that the House will meet on November 7. Eventually, he issued a proclamation saying that parliament will gather on November 14, two days ahead of the original schedule.

But the Speaker is holding on to the view that the President should keep his verbal promise to summon the House to meet on November 7. He then went on to say that he will act on that promise and summon the House by November 7.

President’s Party Raps Speakers

Dr.Sarath Amunugama

The United People’s Freedom Alliance, which is headed by President Sirisena, in a statement said they rejected the Speaker’s statement saying ‘he did not have a legal right to chose the Prime Minister’ while the United National Party, headed by Wickremesinghe welcomed the Speaker’s decision.

Sri Lanka has been plunged into a political turmoil since Oct 26, when President Sirisena, in a surprising move dissolved his cabinet and sacked Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and appointed former President Mahinda Rajapakse to the post.

President Sirisena made the decision after his United People’s Freedom Alliance pulled out of the national unity government which it had formed with Wickremesinghe’s United National Party.

A new caretaker government has since then been appointed, with Wickremesinghe and other political parties calling the move illegal and urging Speaker Jayasuriya to convene Parliament to prove their majority.

On Oct 27, President Sirisena prorogued Parliament till Nov 16, but on Sunday evening he issued a special gazette notification saying Parliament would convene on Nov 14.

(The featured picture at the top is that of the parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya)


Leave a Reply