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Sunday, 14 June 2015

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No-Confidence Motion 'drama' in House

The faction of the UPFA parliamentarians which is enacting a 'drama' to bring a No-Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe again called for an early date to debate it in Parliament. The No-Confidence Motion carrying eight allegations against the Prime Minister had been included in the Parliament Order Book on Thursday. The Premier responding to the UPFA rebel MPs proposed two alternatives; either to go for the No-Confidence debate or dissolve Parliament and go for a general election. He said that the Government was ready to go for an election at any time.

No-Confidence Motion

The No-Confidence Motion came to light on the Floor of the House following a privilege issue raised by UPFA parliamentarian Dinesh Gunawardena on a controversial statement by Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith P. Perera who had told the media that the MPs who had signed the Motion were to withdraw it. MP Gunawardena who categorically rejected the Deputy Minister's claim said that such a false statement would mislead the public and it amounted to a breach of privilege. He told the House that this issue was not even discussed when UPFA MPs not in the Government met President Maithripala Sirisena. The MP who was critical of the irresponsible conduct on the part of the Deputy Minister said that Parliament would become a laughing stock if he continued to act in such a manner.

MP Gunawardena's Privilege issue took different turn when Leader of the House and Plantation Industries Minister Lakshman Kiriella said that some of those Mps who had signed the No-Confidence Motion had met him at night. Amidst the interruptions by Opposition members, Minister Kiriella said some MPs who came to his residence had told him that their signatures had been obtained by force. He said that the Government was not afraid of the No-Confidence Motion by a group of Opposition MPs. The Minister told the Opposition members that they had lost the people's confidence at the last Presidential election. He queried as to where in the world a group of losers should bring a No-Confidence Motions?

Hot topic

The issue finally turned into a hot topic when several leading Opposition MPs who moved the No-Confidence Motion also expressed their views on the subject. UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena asked Minister Kiriella to tell those MPs visiting him at night to act according to their conscience when the Motion is taken up for vote. The Prime Minister countering the views expressed by the Opposition members told the House that there was no violation of privileges in the matter raised by MP Dinesh Gunawardena. He said when a privilege matter is raised, it should be presented before the House and debated or go for a vote on it.

Minister Kiriella asked MP Gunawardena to decide whether he wanted the 20th Amendment or to dissolve Parliament. This led to an uproar in the House. When the Minister first called upon the MPs who wanted the 20th Amendment to stand up and later those who needed to dissolve Parliament, none of the MPs responded to the Minister's call. Finally, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa told the House in lighter vein that both the Government and the Opposition members were reluctant to dissolve Parliament and go for a general election.

Since the Opposition had given priority for the No-Confidence Motions, Minister Kiriella told Parliament on Thursday that it was decided to debate the No-Confidence Motion against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake on July 4. Responding to MP Dinesh Gunawardena's request to fix a date next week, The Minister said the Government would allocate the dates that it wished and not the dates acceptable to the Opposition.

Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva on Thursday expressing serious concern, inquired from the government whether Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera had obtained prior permission from the President, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to initiate talks with the members of Global Tamil Forum, a banned pro-LTTE terrorist group in London. Making a special statement he told the House that the objective of the meeting was to lift the ban on Tamil Diaspora organisations proscribed by a special Gazette notification dated March 21, 2014 and urge the Sri Lankan Government to take action against the alleged war crimes.

Global Tamil Forum

Foreign Minister Samaraweera said that the Government would adopt its own local mechanism to investigate war crimes. He said Section 93 of President Maithripala Sirisena's election manifesto had clearly stated that it would not permit any international investigation but devise an indigenous mechanism for the purpose and do so. Before Minister Samaraweera began his speech, Minister Kiriella drew the attention of the Deputy Chairman of Committees Murugesu Chandrakumar who presided that there were no Opposition members in Parliament as everybody had gone to Matara to attend the Bring-back-Mahinda rally. The only Opposition MP in the Chamber was MP D.E.W.Gunasekara.

 

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