MR sidelines TNA, nominates Douglas to the CC | Sunday Observer

MR sidelines TNA, nominates Douglas to the CC

A major rift has emerged regarding the composition of the Constitutional Council with Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa insisting on appointing EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda as his nominee on the Council, sidelining the Tamil National Alliance which is the third largest party in the Legislature.

Since Speaker Karu Jayasuriya ruled that former President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa will take over as Leader of the Opposition, the TNA has had no representation on the Constitutional Council. Former Speaker and Hambantota District MP Chamal Rajapaksa, who was the nominee of former Opposition Leader and TNA Chief R. Sampanthan, has resigned his seat on the Council, to pave the way for Mahinda Rajapaksa’s CC nominee. However, it is learnt that Chamal Rajapaksa’s resignation is yet to be accepted by President Maithripala Sirisena.

Sampanthan’s nomination of Chamal Rajapaksa was a gesture of goodwill towards the ‘Joint Opposition,’ a caucus of 54 MPs who were not recognised as the legitimate opposition in Parliament because half of their party was sitting in Government.

The Sunday Observer learns that despite appeals by several senior members of the CC, Mahinda Rajapaksa is insisting on appointing Devananda to the Council, ignoring the TNA. However, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who has to counter-sign to approve the Opposition Leader’s nominee, is refusing to approve Devananda’s name, the Sunday Observer learns.

The TNA is the only major party in Parliament that currently does not have a nominee on the all-important Council, a double whammy for the country’s former main opposition group, which lost the post of Opposition Leader soon after the end of the political crisis, in which the party played a vital role to restore democracy and constitutional rule in the country. Douglas Devananda is a one-man party represented in Parliament.