SL crisis deepens as majority legislators stake claim

[TamilNet, Friday, 17 August 2001, 12:17 GMT]
The majority of the members of the Sri Lankan Parliamentarian met in the legislature Friday and unanimously resolved to go ahead with the no confidence motion against President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government and defy any attempt by her to suspend Parliament again.

Hundred and thirteen MPs of the 225 member Parliament, including those from the Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) which was negotiating a deal with the People's Alliance to form a "probation" government, turned up at the Parliament complex near Colombo to pass six resolutions.

TELO leader Selvam Adaikkalanathan, MP, flanked by Rauff Hakeem of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (Left) and Champika Ranawake of Sihala Urumaya (Right). (Photo: TamilNet)
With the passing of the resolutions Friday, PA's hopes for forging even an ad hoc, shaky coalition to carry on with the business of government, particularly the budget for 2002, were dashed. The Sri Lankan Parliament controls public finance.

Two Parliamentarians, the UNP's legal advisor K.N Choksy who is abroad and a JVP MP who is ill, were not present. The JVP delegation was led by Mr. Wimal Weerawanse. A simple majority in the house requires 113 votes.

The text of the resolutions are as follows "We the members of Parliament constituting a majority of the House hereby resolve:

  1. "That the motion of no-confidence against the government standing in the name of Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, Leader of the Opposition shall be included in the Order Paper when the parliament meets on September 7.

  2. "To meet Mr.Speaker in order to discuss and decide the business of parliament sittings commencing on 7th September 2001 and the allocation of time for such business.

  3. "To support the motion for the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the impeachment motion of the Chief Justice which was tabled in parliament on June 25.

  4. "That the postponement of the referendum to the 18th of October 2001 is no solution and call upon the President to respect the wishes of the majority of the people in this country by cancelling the referendum forthwith.

    JVP's Parliamentary group leader and propaganda secretary Mr. Wimal Weerawanse addressing the meeting. Mr. V.Anandasangaree, Vice President of the TULF in background. (Photo: TamilNet)

  5. By virtue of Articles 3,4,42,63,64,72, and 74 of the Constitution, Parliament is vested with the power to exercise the sovereignty of the people in respect of legislative power including the power to amend the Constitution, to determine whether a Government or a Cabinet of Ministers enjoys the confidence of Parliament to control public finance and to exercise judicial power including the direct exercise of such power in respect of its privileges, immunities and powers and of its members: That the President is answerable to Parliament for the due exercise of her powers. And that the parliament has the right to determine its sessions commencing 7th September 2001 and sit from time to time as decided by Parliament and that such sittings cannot be suspended, prorogued or stopped in any manner whatsoever other than by Parliament".

    (The MPs also resolved to condemn the Police shooting on the opposition rally on 19 July.)

    "And therefore the business of Parliament at its sittings commencing on 7th September 2001 shall discuss: -

    1. A motion restating the Powers of Parliament

    2. The Bill to amend the Constitution for the establishment of the proposed Independent Commissions as per the 17th Amendment to the Constitution

    3. The No-Confidence Motion against the Government

    4. The Select Committee to inquire into the impeachment of the Chief Justice."

    Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe of United National Party, Mr. Wimal Weerawanse of Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), Mr.V.Anandasangaree of Tamil United Liberation Front, Mr.Appathurai Vinayagamoorthy of All Ceylon Tamil Congress, Mr.Champika Ranawake of Sihala Urumaya, Mr.Rauff Hakeem of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (Hakeem wing), Mr.Selvam Adaikalanathan of Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) were seen seated in the front row.


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