Commotion over seat allocation in SL Parliament

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 06 February 2007, 09:50 GMT]
Commotion prevailed in the Sri Lankan parliament when it resumed its sittings on Tuesday morning over the allocation of seats to ministers after the major reshuffle following new political alignment with dissident group of parliamentarians, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), all monks' political party. "Those who worked hard for the victory of President Mahinda Rajapakse in the last presidential election are allocated seats in the back rows and those worked against him are given seats in the first row," charged Wimal Weerawanse, the Propaganda Secretary of the JVP.

The Speaker W.J.M.Lokkubandara adjourned the sitting and invited leaders of all political parties represented in parliament for a meeting to sort out the matter, before resuming the sessions.

UNP rebel parliamentarians who accepted ministry posts Karu Jayasuriya, Rajitha Senaratne, SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem and Venerable Athureliya Ratana Thera of JHU and several others were given seats in front row of the UPFA-government side.

Ministers Ferial Ashraff and Dinesh Gunawardene who earlier occupied front row seats were allocated seats in the second row and Ministers D.E.W.Gunasekara and Tissa Vitarane in the third row.

Few parliamentarians of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) were given seats in the front row in the opposition side.

Dinesh Gunawardene raised a point of order and objected to the seating arrangements.

Joseph Michael Perera and Lakshman Kiriella of the UNP spoke in support of Dinesh Gunawardene.

 

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