Parliament approves President votes without cut

[TamilNet, Friday, 15 November 2002, 21:33 GMT]
The parliament Friday evening approved the votes for the offices of the President and Prime Minister without cut. The committee stage budget debate, which began Friday morning, continued for about five hours. The votes were approved without division.

"Those who oppose the peace talks now being held between the government and the LTTE should think twice the consequences that would arise if negotiations between the parties concerned are abandoned in midway," said Mr.R.Sampanthan, TNA parliamentary group leader when participating in the committee stage budget debate on the votes for the offices of the President and Prime Minister Friday.

Earlier, as the opposition failed to submit amendments to the budget on time, the Speaker held the point of order raised by the Leader of the House Thursday that the Standing Orders do not allow holding such committee stage debate. However, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition came to an understanding to discuss this issue at the party leaders meeting and arrive at a scheme to allow the debate to take place.

When parliament sittings resumed Friday the Leader of the House Minister Mr. W.J.M.Loku Bandara moved to suspend the said Standing Order enabling to conduct committee stage debate and the debate began Friday morning.

Thereafter the votes for the Offices of the President and Prime Minister were taken up for debate.

Participating in the debate Mr.Sampanthan said the Prime Minister has a right to continue in power till his party maintains its majority in parliament. He made a plea to the President to extend her support to the present peace process now being taken forward by the United National Front government.

Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe said that people have given the parliament a clear mandate to rule the country and to work towards establishing peace. The United National Front (UNF) government will be able to secure a larger majority if a general election is held. Measures are underway to strengthen the hands of parliament so that it can carry out its functions in a stable climate, the Prime Minister added.

Referring to the peace process the Prime Minister said that government delegation that participated in the peace talks held in Thailand has a clear understanding of the views of the President, Prime Minister and Defense Minister. The government will regularly update the president on new developments in negotiation.

The Prime Minister denied allegations made by Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) that members of the PM's security division had been involved in attacking some offices of the party in the south.

Earlier JVP parliamentarian Mr.Wimal Weerawanse participating in the committee stage debate alleged that some members of the Prime Minister's security division were responsible for the attack on his party offices. He added he was requesting the President to order an inquiry into this attack.


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