Two-thirds majority, crucial to take country forward - Udaya Gammanpila | Sunday Observer
Parliamentary Elections

Two-thirds majority, crucial to take country forward - Udaya Gammanpila

2 August, 2020

Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Leader, former MP Udaya Gammanpila explains why people should vote in great numbers to secure a two-thirds majority in Parliament for the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa led SLPP.

Q. Do you think you can get enough seats in the forthcoming election to secure a two-thirds majority in Parliament?

A: The question should be, not whether we can muster two-thirds in Parliament but why it is crucial that we should secure two-thirds in Parliament.

If we explain why the SLPP should be given a two-thirds majority, I am sure even the UNP voters will stand with us.

I will explain. The19 -A has contributed to create a lopsided Constitution. As we know the President enjoyed full executive powers earlier. Today only some of the executive powers are with the President, certain powers have been transferred to the office of the Prime Minister while the rest is vested with the Constitutional Council headed by the Speaker. As a result the Government cannot move on. Sri Lanka’s Executive is like a three headed demon. In a situation like this no decision can be implemented unless all three heads give consent.

A United States report revealed that the tug-of-war between the President and the Prime Minister was the main cause for the downfall of the Yahapalana government.

Unless you are siblings of the same family, there will not be any unity between the President and the Prime Minister. But in our case we have two brothers at the helm, however, that will not be possible always. Therefore, we need to change the 19-A. That is one reason why we need to secure more than 150 seats.

Q. The abolishing of 19-A is the only reason why you need two-thirds in Parliament?

A: We need stability more than anything else to usher the country towards prosperity. It can be a Prime Minister or a President but the Executive needs to be given leadership by a single unit. The Executive cannot be run by a three headed demon.

The 19-A has clipped all the powers of the Executive and the office is a mere showpiece. The President has already said that he is not looking for a second term. But he underscored that to execute his vision for the country he needed a free hand.

Q. Do you think the SLPP and the UPFA votes are enough to secure a two-thirds in Parliament?

A: In the current set up, the President cannot perform, his hands are tied. Therefore, I call upon UNP supporters to give the President a chance to develop the country.

They must not think in terms of party lines. This is the time to salvage the country, especially, due to the new challenges posed by the pandemic.

Winning two-thirds is a highly challenging target, so I hope voters will help the President to get the support he deserves in Parliament to implement his vision for the country.

Q. SJB says Sajith Premadasa will be a better candidate to be the next Prime Minister and he can work at the same pace as President Rajapaksa?

A: So they claim, Sajith Premadasa can be the Prime Minister under President Rajapaksa and this will be the best combination for the next government. I would say it will be the same story as the Yahapalana government where things did not even move at a snail’s pace. .

Former Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa has proven this by his conduct early this year. When the Government sought Parliament’s approval for funds to pay none other than the contractors of the Yahapalana government, for the projects they had completed, Sajith Premadasa as the then Opposition Leader blocked it. There has not been such precedence in our parliamentary history.

This shows that cohabitation between the SLPP and SJB is a far cry from what they are trying to portray. Such a tie up would only block the country’s forward march which has already been held back due to the unforeseen challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.It is the duty of the people to take the country towards prosperity.

Candidates who will walk with the President to support him in his mission must be sent to Parliament. We need to review the entire Constitution.

Q. Excessive power they say is a recipe for corruption. Do you agree?

A: President Rajapaksa will not misuse his powers, he believes in a simple lifestyle and has proven himself more than once. If we didn’t get two-thirds, nothing will go beyond Parliament, the country will once again stagnate.

The Government will not be able to provide relief to the people and take decisions to develop the country.T

he UPFA bagged the highest number of seats won by a winning party in 2010. We won 144 seats, we were short of six to get 150 - that is to get two-thirds in Parliament. We had 60% of votes.If we can get 62% at the upcoming general election we can easily secure two-thirds in Parliament with the 16 bonus seats.

- MF