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Majority of Opposition walks out of House

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Political

While a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is in the country for discussions on a programme to battle the worsening economic crisis, the majority of the Opposition walked out on Parliament sessions yesterday (21).

The Opoosition parties that walked out include the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, National People’s Power, Sri Lanka Freedom Party, independent MPs Patali Champika Ranawaka and Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera. Accordingly, the said MPs will be boycotting Parliament sessions due this week.

While announcing the decision to boycott the House, Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa observed that they have arrived at this decision because the Government has not offered any viable solution to the difficulties suffered by the people. Premadasa pointed out that the new changes in the Government have only caused longer queues. When the Government MPs disrupted Premadasa, he dared the Government MPs to step out onto the streets and face the public.

NPP Leader Anura Dissanayake on the same note said that the Opposition has decided to boycott Parliament sessions as the House no longer is a representative of the public. Dissanayake demanded the Government to present a comprehensive plan on managing the present economic crisis within this week.

National Freedom Front Leader MP Wimal Weerawansa while vehemently criticizing the Government on its failure to provide solutions to the economic crisis prevailing in the country stated that he or his party would not boycott the Parliament sessions. MP Weerawansa noted that he is not ready to take holidays by walking out from the Chamber as he is willing to take every opportunity to try finding solutions for the problems faced by the public.

MP Weerawansa also accused several SLFP MPs and the group of 40 independent MPs of taking the lead to appoint Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister. SLFP MP Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, rejecting Weerawansa’s allegation, said that they were of the opinion that an All-Party Government should be established to face the prevailing crisis.

Amaraweera pointed out that the SLFP discussed with all political parties separately. In response, Weerawansa said that it was the President who told him that the SLFP suggested Wickremesinghe’s name to the post. However, Minister Amaraweera flatly rejected the allegation, noting that he inquired on the matter from the President and no such statement has been made by him suggesting so.

Amaraweera pointed out that the SLFP walked out from a Wickremesinghe-led Government in 2018. Amaraweera also accused Weerawansa of ruining and splitting up political parties, the acts that caused the fall of the Rajapaksa led Government in 2015. Former President Maithiripala Sirisena questioned the House as to who in fact appointed Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister. Is it the Opposition, the Government or the President that decided to appoint Ranil Wickremesinghe who has only one seat in the Chamber, Sirisena asked. In reply to Weerawansa’s comment that the Agriculture Minister has failed to provide fertilizer to farmers, Minister Amaraweera said 65,000 MT fertilizer will be distributed among the farmers starting from the first week of July.

Meanwhile, SLFP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara stated that the Cabinet of Ministers is responsible for providing solutions to the economic crisis and not the House. Jayasekara noted that the House is a place where debates and discussions are held, while the Cabinet has the power to take decisions that directly affects the public. Jayasekara also expressed his disappointment over the public’s opinion that all 225 Parliamentarians are robbing public money. Jayasekara also pointed out that if the House is not able to provide solutions for people’s miseries, it should not convene.

Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Affairs Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe stressed the importance of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution in the midst of finding solutions to the economic and political crisis suffered by the country. Rajapaksa noted that all international agencies who are willing to support the country request the Government to prove a democratic rule established in the country. Minister Rajapakshe noted that as per the SC ruling given by the proposal on the 21st Amendment to the Constitution submitted by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, cannot be passed in Parliament without a referendum. Thus, what is practical to pass is our amendment proposal that does not require a referendum, Minister Rajapakhe noted.

MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara requested the House to take necessary steps to pay the minimum wage of Rs.1,000 to plantation workers considering the economic difficulties faced by the people. He pointed out that there are certain legal issues regarding the implementation of this policy and urged the House to take necessary measures as court cases would only delay the process.

Meanwhile, Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardena announced in Parliament that the House sittings will be limited to two days due to the prevailing fuel crisis in the country. Accordingly, the House will sit only on Tuesday and Wednesday as decided by the Business Committee of Parliament, which was initially set to continue until June 24.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022 – 01:00











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