‘Speaker blatantly breaches agreement’ | Sunday Observer

‘Speaker blatantly breaches agreement’

Chief Government Whip and Highways and Road Development Minister S.B. Dissanayake said that Speaker Karu Jayasuriya had blatantly breached the agreement reached between the President and the leaders of all political parties of the United National Front (UNF) and the TNA representatives on Thursday, November 15.

He said during the discussion with the President, which lasted for over two hours, in which attention was focused on the current political situation in the country, the political party representatives called upon the President to accept that they have the majority in Parliament.

However, the President had categorically said that he always abides by the Constitution and parliamentary traditions and called upon the political party representatives to show their majority in Parliament in deference to parliamentary tradition.

Minister Dissanayake said there was no practice in Sri Lanka to move a Vote of Confidence and a vote is taken when a new Prime Minister and a Cabinet are appointed. However, according to parliamentary tradition a duly prepared No Confidence Motion (NCM) could be moved against the Prime Minister, the Cabinet or a Member of the Cabinet signed by a definite number of MPs and handed over to the Speaker.

According to normal procedure, on receipt of such a resolution, the Speaker will inform the Party Leaders and include it in the Order Paper. Later the Government will allocate a date for the debate and at the conclusion of the debate, a vote will be taken to decide on the fate of the Prime Minister or the Minister.

Unfortunately, when Parliament met on Friday, November 16 none of those requirements was adhered to or at least even a vote by name was not taken. Meanwhile, Health Minister and former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa at a press conference at the Parliament complex on Friday said that he has not seen this kind of uncooperative Speaker during the entire parliamentary history. He is fully biased as he caters only to the interests of one political party. The Speaker should respect Parliament Standing Orders and traditions. The Speaker on Friday entered the Chamber with Police personnel creating an indecent scene in the well of the House.

Minister Rajapaksa said the Speaker has triggered a crisis between the Executive and the Legislature. He deserves no respect. He cannot be allowed to conduct the proceedings violating the Standing Orders and parliamentary traditions. “We vehemently condemn all that took place in Parliament during the past three days under him. He is solely responsible for this unfortunate state of affairs. Before resolving the present crisis what is most important is to create a peaceful atmosphere in the legislature so that each member can express his views with no let or hindrance,” he said.

UPFA Kandy District MP Keheliya Rambukwella said the international community is possibly behind the current political crisis in the country. The President had told the Speaker to adhere to parliamentary Standing Orders, Procedures and Constitution. But so far he has failed to be responsive to any of them and as such he should, in fact be held responsible for creating this chaotic situation in Parliament.

The President did everything in accordance with the Constitution. The Speaker lacks the decency even to respect the court ruling. If there is anything wrong, there is no alternative but to go for an election and let the people decide, he said.