By Charumini de Silva
Supporters of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday insisted that the stay order issued by the Supreme Court had not cancelled the dissolution of Parliament and they would decide whether to attend Parliament after a meeting this morning.
Mahajana Eksath Peramuna leader Dinesh Gunawardena told reporters that the Supreme Court order was a standard move by the court and was not a final judgement and the petitions would continue to be heard by court in the first week of December.
The pro-Sirisena-Rajapaksa faction will meet this morning to decide whether they will attend Parliament and are awaiting the written decision of the court before deciding their next step. However, Namal Rajapaksa tweeted that they would attend Parliament. However, when questioned, the entire group denied any such move.
“First you have to obtain leave to proceed with a Fundamental Rights application. So what has been done today is not the final determination of the matter, but only the granting of leave to proceed. Today’s judgement with regards to the gazette notification issued by the President dissolving Parliament has been challenged in the Supreme Court,” concurred Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) member Nimal Siripala de Silva.
“First they have to grant leave to proceed. So after hearing the submissions the Court has made an order staying the operation of the gazette notification until 7 December but that doesn’t mean that the gazette notification has been withdrawn, abolished or made invalid. There is no such determination,” he added.
De Silva insisted that they would request that the petition be taken up by a bench of nine or 11 judges. He also emphasised that neither the Parliament nor the Speaker had power to appoint the Prime Minister but only the President wielded such power.
“Some people think that the President’s gazette notification has been cancelled but it has not. We are fighting hard and awaiting the final judgement. We have the utmost respect for the Supreme Court and we will abide by the final decision of the Supreme Court. There are no two words about it.”
De Silva defended the actions of the President and insisted that his actions were impartial and within the ambit of the Constitution.
“We must say that the President will act impartially and his appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will continue. Nobody can abrogate his powers. The Speaker cannot take the powers of the President and move to appoint a Prime Minister, Ministers or Deputy Ministers. That is a very clear legal and constitutional position.
“So if they want to throw out Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa they have to bring in a no-confidence motion to Parliament, which has to be put in the order paper for five days, thereafter tabled, debated and then a vote has to be taken. That is the correct procedure. So if the correct procedure is not followed then just making a statement or taking a vote will be contrary to a proper no-confidence motion.”
National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa argued that these were stalling tactics by the United National Party (UNP) and opposition members as they did not want to face an election. He charged that they were fighting against “both local and international conspiracies.” He called on all the “patriotic people of Sri Lanka” to join in the effort to support Rajapaksa.