Mahinda Rajapaksa loyalists yesterday rejected that President Maithripala Sirisena had made a promise at the party leaders meeting on Thursday night to allow an undisrupted vote for the no confidence motion in Parliament.
Addressing media well before the House assembled in the afternoon, MP Dayasiri Jayasekara confirmed that President Sirisena’s intention was different, and gave no assurance to the party leaders during the meeting.
“The President has told the party leaders who met him on Thursday night that most issues can be sorted if MPs act according to the Standing Orders. He was misquoted by media and people who took part in this meeting,” he said.
He noted that as the President had prorogued Parliament, all committees are cancelled automatically. Unless these committees are appointed again, the parliamentary process cannot be followed, he argued. The Parliamentary Business Committee is necessary to prepare the agenda for each sitting. In the absence of that committee, the Parliament cannot sit and that is one of the reasons to suspend the Standing Orders, he said.
“The Speaker should acknowledge the appointment of Prime Minister, Leader of the House, and the Chief Government Whip before moving the no confidence motion. The Speaker has no legal provisions to question the appointments the President made. Chaos will continue unless he follows the procedure. The Speaker is responsible for this chaos. The President never pledged support to remove Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and appoint another during his meeting,” he added.
According to MP Susil Premajayantha, Speaker Jayasuriya has broken all rules and regulations and has placed a black mark in the parliamentary history of the country.
“This is the first time ever a Speaker has violated the Constitution, the Standing Orders and traditions, as well as the Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice book, which is the bible of the parliamentary system. The decision of the Executive President was challenged at courts, and the Speaker can’t allow questioning of a decision by the Executive in the House. In response to the Speaker’s letter, the President has rejected the no confidence motion, highlighting date irregularities and the use of correction fluid for amendment. On Wednesday, the Speaker avoided reading the President’s letter. Nowhere in the world can a vote be raised against a speech made by a MP,” said MP Premajayantha.
Identifying the 19th Amendment to the Constitution as the mother of all chaos in the Parliament, MP Dullas Alahapperuma questioned the hurriedly moved no confidence motion and its motive. “The Speaker should protect the Parliament and its Members from the thugs clad in white. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution passed in this House without following the rules and led to this chaos we all experienced for weeks. The intension of the 19th Amendment was to remove Rajapaksa from politics and to build votes around Ranil Wickremesinghe. So, this left many vacuums and unanswered questions. We should not allow this chaos to continue. What is needed is to wait till 7 December. Even if you change the Government, we are sure that there will be a change on 7 December based on the Supreme Court decision,” said MP Alahapperuma.