Keheliya Rambukwella, spokesman of the Sri Lankan government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, on Friday clarified what the President meant when he asked opposition leaders to follow the set procedure and Standing Orders in regard to a No Confidence Motion (NCM) against the government.
Rambukwella said that the motion cannot be passed in one-day as there is a set procedure to follow which will take a few days. There are parliamentary Standing Orders in this regard.
Firstly, the motion has to be submitted to the Secretary General of parliament for scrutiny as to whether it is written as per parliamentary norms and the country’s constitution. It is then sent to the Speaker who in turn circulates it to among MPs to inform them as to its contents. The next step is to call a meeting of parties to fix a date for a debate and a vote after a five-day notice. And the vote cannot be a voice vote. It has to be by a show of hands upon names of MPs being called out.
All this will take a number of days. It cannot be done in the way it was done on Wednesday when an NCM was handed in and without a debate declared as “passed” by voice vote amidst a din and chaos in a jiffy making a mockery of parliamentary norms, Rambukwella said.
Ahead of the vote the Standing Orders were suspended.
The President also pointed that the first clause in the NCM says the appointment of of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister and proroguing Parliament be declared null and void. This is patently unconstitutional ,the President pointed out, as he has the right to appoint any MP as Prime Minister who, in his opinion, enjoys the confidence of parliament. Parliament or the Speaker has no say in this matter, the President said.
According to opposition leader Rajitha Senaratne, the President assured that he would go by the verdict of the House on the NCM and according to Mano Ganeshan, also promised not to prorogue parliament again.
The Speaker then summoned parliament to meet on at 1.30 pm on Friday.