Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 27 September 2015





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Cracks appearing in Unity Government?

UPFA MPs walk out:

Despite the unanimous decision by the SLFP hierarchy to form a National Unity Government with the rival UNP to promote consensual politics for a period of two years, divisions within the SLFP- led UPFA coalition were clearly witnessed on the floor of the House as a group of UPFA MPs walked out of the Chamber on Wednesday (September 23) protesting the government’s move to take up several financial Bills for debate, which they alleged had disregarded parliamentary traditions. Later the rebel UPFP MPs also staged a protest opposite the entrance to Parliament against what they claimed was the undemocratic manner of passing the financial Bills without adhering to due procedure.

When the motion was moved for debate by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, UPFA Parliamentarian Chandrasiri Gajadeera demanded that MPs need time to study the resolutions listed in the Motion as they have sought the approval of Parliament to allocate billions of rupees. Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake was of the opinion that the orders were illegal and they should be referred to the Attorney General. This led to heated arguments between government and opposition members on the issue.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told the House that the issue of taking up these resolutions for debate was discussed with party leaders. The Premier said that if every single MP gave individual opinions, parliamentary proceedings will be delayed. The Premier expressed displeasure over the comments made by some UPFA MPs and said the MPs who could not get up and speak on their own were like woodpeckers pecking on trees.

A group of UPFA MPs who were ardent supporters of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa including Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Udaya Gammanpila, Dinesh Gunawardena, Sriyani Wijewickrama, Prasanna Ranatunga, Dilum Amunugama, Chandrasiri Gajadheera, Parasanna Ranaweera and Indika Anuruddha stood up and protested against what they called the Premier’s unparliamentary language by associating names of birds and animals with MPs.


The MPs who shouted in the well of the House said the Government was resorting to an undemocratic move to suspend Standing Orders and pass several financial bills. The controversy which developed in the House, led Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to suspend sittings for 15 minutes and call for a party leaders’ meeting. When the House resumed sittings, the Speaker announced that the Motion could be taken up for debate.

UPFA Parliamentarians Kumara Welgama, Namal Rajapaksa, Kanaka Herath, Rohitha Abeygunawardena and Niroshan Premaratne who protested against the Speaker’s ruling walked out of the Chamber when the Motion was moved for debate. When the MPs were going out, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said the UPFA MPs demand a debate and the government allocates time, but when the debate is taken up, they run away from it. “Parliament is to hold debates not to stage walkouts,” the Premier told the House in lighter vein that this sort of protest was known a ‘The beggars revolution.’ They came to Parliament, thanks to SLFP votes and now they disrupt Parliamentary proceedings, he added. The TNA and JVP members remained in their seats and participated in the debate.

Several UPFA stalwarts including Dinesh Gunawardena, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Bandula Gunawardane, Chandrasiri Gajadeera, Kumara Welgama and Udaya Gammanpila who spoke to the media during their protest outside Parliament, criticised the Government for taking up financial orders for debate without giving time for MPs to study them.JVP Leader and Chief Opposition Whip, Anura Kumara Dissanayake who made a special statement in Parliament described the controversial Avant Garde issue as a Litmus Test faced by the incumbent government on whether they were going to bring fraudsters to book or not.

Dissanayake said the Government had failed this Litmus Test. He told the House that the Attorney General’s report on the Avant Garde Company was an example that the Sri Lankan Police, prison and judiciary used their power only on the poor and added that the laws of the land would not be applicable to the powerful and the rich but only against the helpless. The MP in his lengthy statement raised a series of queries and demanded that the Prime Minister explains to Parliament what action the latter had planned with regard to the floating armoury found in the Galle Harbour.

Special statement

Making a special statement on the government’s position on the UNHRC report on Sri Lanka, Premier Wickremesinghe reiterated the incumbent government was accountable and responsible to the people and was driven by a policy of doing the best for the people. The Premier also said that the US was planning to bring in a resolution at UNHRC in Geneva favourable to Sri Lanka. The Premier said the Government would wait for the outcome and table the reports of the Udalagama and Maxwell Paranagama Commissions in Parliament and fix a date for the debate thereafter. The Prime Minister made a special statement on his recent visit to India and told the House that he has invited his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi to visit Sri Lanka to sign the Indo-Lanka Economic and Technological Agreement. He categorically denied discussing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with India during his tour. Public Order and Prisons Reforms Minister, Tilak Marapana who made a special statement on the killing of Seya Sadewmi informed the House that Cabinet will set up a special committee to investigate crimes against women and children and make recommendations to Cabinet. The Minister said three police teams were deployed in investigations since the day the girl went missing. The Minister was responding to a query raised by Chief Opposition Whip, Anura Kumara Dissanayake who demanded to know as to what has happened to the special court system to expedite cases of rape and murder of women and children that was pledged by President Maithripala Sirisena soon after the rape and murder of Jaffna student S. Vithya.

Three new MPs were sworn in before Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Tuesday (September 22). They were UNP Kalutara District MP Palitha Thevarapperuma, UPFA Badulla District MP Lakshman Senewiratne and JVP National List MP Bimal Ratnayake.


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