IGP Pujitha Jayasundara Issues Back -dated Letter Reversing Transfer of CID Officer Nishantha Silva to Negombo as Ordered by Law and Order Minister Maithripala Sirisena.

By Chathuri Dissanayake

Facing severe criticism over a move to transfer a key detective of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) probing a number of attacks on journalists and high-profile cases, the Inspector General of Police yesterday reversed the decision.

Transfer orders issued to CID Officer in Charge of Organised Crime, Nishantha Silva, were cancelled at the eleventh hour on Monday, with a letter conveying the decision being sent to the CID yesterday. The Daily FT exclusively reported the move in its yesterday›s edition.

In a letter dated 19 November, issued to Silva last morning, IGP Pujith Jayasundara reversed with immediate effect the transfer order which was issued on 18 November. Both letters, the transfer order and cancellation cited an immediate service requirement as a reason.

Continue reading ‘IGP Pujitha Jayasundara Issues Back -dated Letter Reversing Transfer of CID Officer Nishantha Silva to Negombo as Ordered by Law and Order Minister Maithripala Sirisena.’ »

Slain Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge’s Daughter Ahimsa Writes to President Over His Transferring CID Chief Inspector Nishantha Silva Probing Her Father’s Murder and Cautions Sirisena” If you try to stand in the way of justice for my father and other victims of brutality, you will fail”.

Following is a letter by slain The Sunday Leader Founding Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge’s daughter Ahimsa Wickrematunge to President Maithripala Sirisena on his decision to remove Criminal Investigations Department OIC – Gang Robberies Nishantha Silva from the department, raising serious concerns about the high profile abduction cases being handled by the official:

President Maithripala Sirisena,

Presidential Secretariat,

Galle Face,

Colombo 01

20th November 2018

Dear President Sirisena,

Your Decision to Remove Inspector Adrian Nishantha Silva from the Criminal Investigation Department

Sunday 18th November 2018 was the 73rd birthday of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. To mark this occasion, President Rajapaksa participated in a ‘Pinkama’ at a temple near his official residence, attended by your Inspector General of Police, Mr. Pujith Jayasundara. After celebrating the former President’s birthday in the company of former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Mr. Jayasundera proceeded to police headquarters, where he signed transfer order D/HRM/ADM/1869/2018 dated 18th November 2018.

As you are fully aware, this was an order to remove Police Inspector Adrian Nishantha Silva, Officer‐in-Charge of the Gang Robbery Branch (GRB) of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) due to unspecified “service requirements”. While the order is ostensibly from the IGP, he has made no secret of the fact that he issued this order hesitantly, at your insistence. This was a thoughtful birthday gift on your part, but it was Mahinda’s birthday, not Gotabaya’s.

I know Inspector Silva as the lead investigator into the murder of my father, Lasantha Wickrematunge, who was bludgeoned to death on 8th January 2009, exactly six years before you were historically elected President on a platform pledging to solve heinous murders like my father’s.

Continue reading ‘Slain Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge’s Daughter Ahimsa Writes to President Over His Transferring CID Chief Inspector Nishantha Silva Probing Her Father’s Murder and Cautions Sirisena” If you try to stand in the way of justice for my father and other victims of brutality, you will fail”.’ »

DISRUPTIONS: Seminar on the Political, Legal, Economic and Social Facets of the Crisis for Parliamentary Democracy After Oct 26.

Disruptions: Political, Legal, Economic and Social Facets of the Crisis

The October 26 parliamentary debacle pushes us to seek a broader understanding of the causes and implications of this crisis for parliamentary democracy.

The seminar is a gathering of academics, activists, and interested persons looking for answers and a way out of this debacle.

The seminar seeks to develop analysis of the current crisis drawing on both the longer-term developments leading to recent disruption and the future political, legal, economic and social trajectories that are at stake.

The half day discussion-oriented seminar will be facilitated by short (10 minute) presentations on the following topics:

· Politics and Parties
· Law and Constitution
· Economy and Labour
· Democracy and Society

All Are Welcome

At 9:30 am on Friday, the 23rd of November, 2018

Postgraduate Institute of English (PGIE)

The Open University of Sri Lanka, Nawala Road, Nugegoda 11222

(Google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/brTa6Zhsw5E2)

Contact for further information: 0773602436

Ex-Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Warns of an Economic Collapse Due to Political Crisis Triggered by President Sirisena’s Controversial Appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister.

Sri Lanka’s former finance minister Mangala Samaraweera warned of an economic collapse as a political crisis triggered by President Maithripala Sirisena’s controversial appointment of a Prime Minister left foreign investors shaken and the country was hit by the first credit downgrade.

“We managed the economy very carefully trying to put as little burden on the people as possible, because we inherited a lot of debt,” Samaraweera told reporters.

“But the political crisis has now put the country on the path of a crisis.

“As a result of these actions, Sri Lanka is on the brink of economic anarchy and chaos as never experienced before.

“The cavalier and irresponsible actions of the president starting on October 26th based on personal animosities and precipitating a series of illegal acts, places at risk Sri Lanka’s ability to meet its immediate debt obligations.”

Continue reading ‘Ex-Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Warns of an Economic Collapse Due to Political Crisis Triggered by President Sirisena’s Controversial Appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister.’ »

UNP’s “Economic Expert” Trio of Mangala, Eran and Harsha Warn That Sri Lanka is on the Precipice of an Economic Abyss and Urge President Sirisena to Accept Majority Decision of Parliament

By Uditha Jayasinghe

Sri Lanka is on the precipice of an “economic abyss”, warned prominent members of the United National Party (UNP) yesterday, calling on President Maithripala Sirisena to accept the decision of Parliament so Budget 2019 could be presented at the earliest and approved by the House.

UNP MPs Mangala Samaraweera, Dr. Harsha de Silva and Eran Wickramaratne were harshly critical of President Maithripala Sirisena’s actions on 26 October and insisted that both he and MP Mahinda Rajapaksa should accept responsibility for what they termed the economic crisis heading in Sri Lanka’s direction.

The trio emphasised that the political turmoil, which has resulted in international rating agency Moody’s downgrading Sri Lanka’s credit rating yesterday, would result in the country having to pay higher interest rates when it needed to raise funds from international capital markets to repay pending debt in 2019.

According to rating agencies, Sri Lanka has to repay an estimated $ 12 billion in debt repayments from 2019-2022 with about $ 3 billion tagged for next year.

Continue reading ‘UNP’s “Economic Expert” Trio of Mangala, Eran and Harsha Warn That Sri Lanka is on the Precipice of an Economic Abyss and Urge President Sirisena to Accept Majority Decision of Parliament’ »

After Chilli Powder Mixed Water Attacks on Speaker by MP’s in Sri Lankan Parliament, India’s Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is Victim of Chilli Powder Attack

On video, the audacity of the attack is difficult to miss. A man who hands Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal a letter outside his office, swoops down to touch his feet, gets up and forcefully smears chilli powder on his face.

The incident took place inside one of the capital city’s most protected buildings today, the Delhi Secretariat, provoking outrage from Kejriwal’s party and even critics.

The attacker, identified as 40-year-old Anil Kumar Sharma, has been taken into custody, the police said. However, they said they were investigating if the chilli powder “fell unintentionally”.

Kejriwal was leaving for lunch after finishing up meetings when the incident took place outside his chamber on the third floor, AAP lawmaker Alka Lamba said.

Continue reading ‘After Chilli Powder Mixed Water Attacks on Speaker by MP’s in Sri Lankan Parliament, India’s Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is Victim of Chilli Powder Attack’ »

The main contradiction, and the main fight, in Sri Lanka today is between neo liberalism and the nation.

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

The main contradiction, and the main fight, in Sri Lanka today is between neoliberalism and the nation. Or more correctly between, on the one hand, the elite which is the agency of the project of neoliberal globalization and its corollary, the ideology of neoliberal globalism, and the ‘people-nation’ (Gramsci) on the other. Those who accuse the Rajapaksas of ‘neoliberalism’ do not know what neoliberalism is and isn’t. They may be ‘red’ but are not well-read.

Neoliberalism is not the capitalist market economy. Neoliberalism is not mere privatization –the crucial question being what is privatized and what is not. Neoliberalism is not the Open Economy. It is perfectly possible to practice an Open Economic policy which is not neoliberal. This is what Presidents Premadasa and Rajapaksa did.

Neoliberalism is not merely an economic policy. It cannot be understood as a checklist of economic policy measures such as privatization.

Neo-liberalism is a new stage of imperialism. It can be understood not by economics alone but through Political Economy. That too has to be understood dialectically. Lenin was the most prominent to point out that at a different stage of its development and decomposition, global capitalism abandons its progressive slogans and projects of the past. It is such an abandonment, a negation, that has found form in neoliberalism.

At the heart of neoliberalism is not a list of economic polices but precisely the questions of the Nation and the State.

Continue reading ‘The main contradiction, and the main fight, in Sri Lanka today is between neo liberalism and the nation.’ »

TNA Leader Sampanthan Concerned About Country Being “Without a Govt or Prime Minister” Situation Which May” Embolden Anti-Social Elements ” and Could Result in the “Minorities Especially Tamils Becoming Victims”.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s persistent political crisis “without a government or a Prime Minister” could embolden anti-social elements to take law into their own hands, Leader of Opposition R. Sampanthan has warned. “In such a situation, the country’s minorities, especially Tamils, may become the victims,” he said.

Mr. Sampanthan, who also leads the Tamil National Alliance, told reporters that its 14 MPs on Tuesday briefed Colombo-based diplomats on current political developments. “Such turbulence seriously impairs ongoing efforts for a political solution through constitutional reform,” he said.

The government’s assurance on returning the remaining military-occupied land belonging to civilians in war-affected areas, the release of political prisoners, ongoing work of the office on missing persons and efforts to set up the office for reparations are all in serious question, according to the Tamil leader.

Continue reading ‘TNA Leader Sampanthan Concerned About Country Being “Without a Govt or Prime Minister” Situation Which May” Embolden Anti-Social Elements ” and Could Result in the “Minorities Especially Tamils Becoming Victims”.’ »

National Police Commission Cancels Transfer of CID Inspector Nishantha Silva Who Had Been Sent to Negombo With Immediate Effect Under the Orders of President Sirisena.


The transfer of the Officer-in-Charge of the CID’s Organised Crime Investigation unit, Inspector of Police (IP) Nishantha Silva, has been cancelled by the National Police Commission, the Office of the Inspector General of Police reports.

Silva was transferred to the Negombo division with immediate effect, with the orders coming directly from the President, police sources said.

Continue reading ‘National Police Commission Cancels Transfer of CID Inspector Nishantha Silva Who Had Been Sent to Negombo With Immediate Effect Under the Orders of President Sirisena.’ »

Hirunika Premachandra MP Mocks Maithripala Sirisena for Telling Bodu Bala Sena That He Did not Know About Police Action While Being the Law and Order Minister in Charge of the Police.

UNP Parliamentarian Hirunika Premachandra said President Maithripala Sirisena’s habit of passing the bucks had not changed even after the appointment of his chosen Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa

“When Ranil Wickremesinghe was the Prime Minister was the Prime Minister, President Sirisena often said he got to know things from the newspapers. The remark he made today, during a meeting with Bodu Bala Sena monks, show that his habits still remain the same,” Premachandra said addressing a press conference at Temple Trees.

Continue reading ‘Hirunika Premachandra MP Mocks Maithripala Sirisena for Telling Bodu Bala Sena That He Did not Know About Police Action While Being the Law and Order Minister in Charge of the Police.’ »

Police Disperse Bodu Bala Sena De,onstration at Presidential Secretariat with Tear Gas and Water Cannon But Maithripala Sirisena Apologizes to Bhikkus Saying he was not Aware of the BBS Protest.

President Maithripala Sirisena expressed regret over the Police using tear gas and water cannons on Bidu Bala Sena monks protesting in front of the Presidential Secretariat, this afternoon.

Issuing a media statement a short while ago, the President’s Media Division said the President has ordered an investigation into the incident.

Continue reading ‘Police Disperse Bodu Bala Sena De,onstration at Presidential Secretariat with Tear Gas and Water Cannon But Maithripala Sirisena Apologizes to Bhikkus Saying he was not Aware of the BBS Protest.’ »

President Sirisena Transfers CID Chief Inspector Nishantha Silva Who was Heading Probe into Allegations Against Rajapaksa Family Members and Was Allegedly on the Verge of Making a Crucial Arrest.

By

Meera Srinivasan

The Sri Lankan Parliament — which met on Monday following violence and disruption last week — was adjourned minutes after it convened, without a resolution to the ongoing political crisis.

Lawmakers aligned to ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and from other opposition parties in the House, have sought the suspension of state funds to the Prime Minister’s office, now occupied by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose administration they consider illegitimate. The debate on the motion is expected to commence on Friday.

The development is the latest in the series of events since President Maithripala Sirisenacontroversially sacked Mr. Wickremesinghe on October 26, and replaced him with Mr. Rajapaksa. The political stalemate in Sri Lanka’s legislature has been dragging since, because MPs backing the Sirisena-. Rajapaksa combine continue opposing a vote in the House that could test claims to a majority.

Last week, Mr. Wickremesinghe’s front, with support from opposition parties Tamil National Alliance and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna proved its majority through a voice vote thrice, braving the chaos and violence caused by Mr. Rajapaksa’s MPs. However, Mr. Rajapaksa’s side has rejected the vote citing “breach of parliamentary procedure’, a claim that the opposition has since countered.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Transfers CID Chief Inspector Nishantha Silva Who was Heading Probe into Allegations Against Rajapaksa Family Members and Was Allegedly on the Verge of Making a Crucial Arrest.’ »

UNP Presents Motion Supported by 122 MP’s In Parliament To Restrict Quantum of Public Finances to the Prime Ministers Office Headed by Mahinda Rajapaksa.

By Ashwin Hemmathagama and Chathuri Dissanayake

Upping the ante after two votes on the No Confidence Motion, a group of United National Party (UNP) Parliamentarians yesterday presented a motion to limit access of public funds by the Prime Minister’s Office, to a quieter than usual Parliament.

Adhering to the view that the no confidence vote passed in Parliament on MP Mahinda Rajapaksa last week was valid, the group of UNP MPs, which included UNP MPs Ravi Karunanayake and Navin Dissanayake, presented the motion on the basis that Parliament is responsible for public finance.

The latest motion by the UNP was supported by 122 Parliamentarians, which is the same number as those who signed the No Confidence Motion.

Key Opposition parties such as the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) extended their support as well.

The motion was presented at the party leaders meeting, which took place before sessions commenced on Monday. The motion was accepted according to the Agenda, and will be given five days’ notice in the Order Book, before it is taken up for debate. Proponents of the motion insisted that it would be taken up during the Parliamentary sitting on 29 November, while pro-Rajapaksa MPs claimed that no final decision has been made on the date for the debate.

Continue reading ‘UNP Presents Motion Supported by 122 MP’s In Parliament To Restrict Quantum of Public Finances to the Prime Ministers Office Headed by Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya says that He Received Intelligence Reports of Attempts to Disrupt Parliament on Nov 19th also and Took Steps to Nip such Moves in the Bud by Strenthening Security Measures.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that he had received reports that there were attempts to disrupt Parliament proceedings yesterday as well.

He said, in a media release: “I got intelligence reports that there would be attempts to disrupt Parliament proceedings today as well. That’s why I took necessary steps to ensure security in Parliament. I also informed the sergeant at arms, director of Parliament police division, IGP and the defence secretary about this.”

Continue reading ‘Speaker Karu Jayasuriya says that He Received Intelligence Reports of Attempts to Disrupt Parliament on Nov 19th also and Took Steps to Nip such Moves in the Bud by Strenthening Security Measures.’ »

Sirisena Cold Shoulders Wickremesinghe at All Party Meeting and Refrains From Responding to Submissions made by Ranil; Maithripala Shows no Interest in Accepting Affidavits from MP’s Expressing Support to Ousted PM.

by Rathindra Kuruvita

Yesterday’s party leaders’ meeting, convened by President Maithripala Sirisena to break the political deadlock, in parliament ended inconclusively.

“We told the President that we could show a majority again but the President didn’t show much interest,” UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said last night.

MP Ajith P Perera added that the UNP had requested a meeting with the President at 10 am today at the Presidential Secretariat to hand over affidavits from 113 MPs pledging their support for ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.


“However he evinced little interest in our request,”Perera said.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena Cold Shoulders Wickremesinghe at All Party Meeting and Refrains From Responding to Submissions made by Ranil; Maithripala Shows no Interest in Accepting Affidavits from MP’s Expressing Support to Ousted PM.’ »

Realignment of Maithripala and Mahinda May Be Forced to Become a Populist Nationalist Democracy or Strong Centralized State if There is Neoliberal Local Resistance and External Interventionist Pressure

By

DR.Dayan Jayatilleka

TEN THESES ON SRI LANKA’S EXISTENTIAL CRISIS: ROOTS, DYNAMICS, DIMENSIONS


1.
The crisis has deep national, social and psychological roots. Our island contains two consciousnesses or two types of consciousness, two competing states of mind. Contrary to myth, the periphery of our island has the longest uninterrupted colonial history in the world; 450 years, from 1505 to 1948. This has resulted in a residue, sedimentation in the consciousness.

There are elites, classes, strata, who have a dependent, colonial, pro-imperialist, puppet, parasitic existence and mentality. Not all the classes that live in the island’s urban periphery have such a consciousness, but there are handfuls that do, together with their supportive petty bourgeois and lumpen strata. This was the Lipton Circus crowd. In the political lexicon these are known as comprador or intermediary classes, elites; intermediaries between imperialism and the nation.

The UNP’s current leadership and its supporting civil society represent this comprador consciousness. This has not always been the case with the UNP, and one of the island’s least comprador and most patriotic leaders, Premadasa, was also the leader of the UNP—but he was an exception, not the norm, just as Chandrika Kumaratunga was an exception to the collective consciousness of the nationalist SLFP; not the norm. President Sirisena seemed to be a successor to her but he was not and has now returned to the SLFP’s nationalist norm.


2.
The crisis then stems at least in part from the contradiction between a UNP leadership which is neo liberal globalist even by the UNP’s standards, and a Head of State and government who is a moderate nationalist and populist in his consciousness. This should come as absolutely no surprise because it was precisely his nationalist-populist profile that made those who reached out to him as candidate in 2005, do so—because it was only such a profile that could cut into the SLFP vote, splitting it between a Rajapaksa vote and a moderate SLFP one.

This was the same strategy that was adopted when General Sarath Fonseka was made the candidate. The point was to break the Sinhala Buddhist vote by means of a dissident or defector, because the UNP leadership, unchanged and entrenched as it was, could not do so on its own. The present contradiction between the President and the current UNP leader is but a mild version that would have manifested itself had Gen Fonseka won the presidential race. The inevitability of this contradiction is proved by the sacking of the same Mr. Wickremesinghe in 2003 and his defeat at a snap election in 2004, called by the cosmopolitan liberal SLFP leader, President Kumaratunga.

Continue reading ‘Realignment of Maithripala and Mahinda May Be Forced to Become a Populist Nationalist Democracy or Strong Centralized State if There is Neoliberal Local Resistance and External Interventionist Pressure’ »

Appointing Kapila Chandrasena as SLA Chairman and Appointment of Weerawansa and Premajayantha as Ministers Shows What Is Going to Happen if the Rajapaksa Regime is to Continue Substantively even in a caretaker Capacity.


By

Dr.Asoka Weerakkody

The MR regime is back (even if in a caretaker capacity). The following episodes give us an idea of what to come, if they were to continue substantively.

1. The starkest example of their misuse of power, waste, nepotism and corruption must be what they did to Sri Lankan Airlines (SLA). A once profitable and reputable business venture, became a money-losing shadow of its former self, due to the forced attachment of a parasitic sibling, which had no chance of ‘taking off’ from the word go (from a Rs 4.4 billion profit in 2008 to a 28 billion loss in 2016).

After a very slow start, a PCoI into the past activities of SLA and Mihin Air has been going on where, ‘juicy’ details of how the gravy train was run, have been emerging. One of the top men facing accusations is Kapila Chandrasena, the CEO at the time. On Tuesday the 13th, the new minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, appointed the said Kapila Chandrasena as the new Chairman of SLA (in effect a promotion). The following day, an employee from the SLA who was due to appear at the PCoI failed to turn up. Fortunately, some NGOs made a lot of noise denouncing this appointment. As a result, and I would say only as a result, it had to be rescinded the following day.

Continue reading ‘Appointing Kapila Chandrasena as SLA Chairman and Appointment of Weerawansa and Premajayantha as Ministers Shows What Is Going to Happen if the Rajapaksa Regime is to Continue Substantively even in a caretaker Capacity.’ »

JVP Refuses to Attend Meeting Convened by President and Accuses Sirisena Bluntly ” You are the Architect of the Anarchy and Instability the Country is Subjected to at Present”.

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday told President Maithripala Sirisena that he was the architect of the country’s anarchy and the situation could only be resolved by him.

This strong assertion of responsibility on the part of Sirisena was conveyed by the JVP yesterday via a letter which listed the reasons why the opposition party would not attend the all-party meeting convened by the President yesterday.

“You are the architect of the anarchy and instability the country is subjected to at present. It could be corrected only by you,” JVP informed the President via the letter.

Continue reading ‘JVP Refuses to Attend Meeting Convened by President and Accuses Sirisena Bluntly ” You are the Architect of the Anarchy and Instability the Country is Subjected to at Present”.’ »

Officer in Charge of CID , Nishantha Silva who Headed Probes Into Many Cases Including Murders of Lasantha Wickrematunge and 11 Abducted Youths by Navy in Trincomalee Transferred Out After Maithripala Took Over Law and Order Ministry Under Which the Police Dept Functions.


Criminal Investigations Department OIC – Gang Robberies Nishantha Silva has been transferred out of the Department with immediate effect, raising serious concerns about the high profile abduction cases the official was handling.

Silva was the chief investigator on several major investigations into attacks on journalists during the tenure of the Rajapaksa administration, including the abduction and assault of Nation Deputy Editor Keith Noyahr, the assassination of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, and others.

He was also the main officer on the 11 youth abductions case by an alleged Navy abduction racket – a high profile case that nearly resulted in the arrest of Chief of Defence Staff Ravindra Wijegunaratne.

Continue reading ‘Officer in Charge of CID , Nishantha Silva who Headed Probes Into Many Cases Including Murders of Lasantha Wickrematunge and 11 Abducted Youths by Navy in Trincomalee Transferred Out After Maithripala Took Over Law and Order Ministry Under Which the Police Dept Functions.’ »

Maithripala Sirisena’s Daughter Chathurika Says Her Father “Does not Know What He Does When Angry” and Reveals That The President as a Child Had Burnt Down a Paddy Field in Anger After Getting a “Tokka” (Knock on the Head)From His Father.

In an extract that is circulating in social media, Chathurika Sirisena, daughter of President Maithripala Sirisena describes her father in her book Janaadhipathi Thaaththa (‘Presidential Father’) as a very innocent man who however doesn’t know what he is doing when he is angry. The younger Sirisena recalls an incident in Maithripala Sirisena’s childhood where he was admonished by his own father with a knock on his head (‘tokka’). In retaliation,Sirisena reportedly set fire to a lush paddy-field!

These days, Sirisena certainly appears to be an angry man, setting alight the country’s pillars of government. A fortnight after he summarily dismissed Ranil Wickremesinghe through a Friday night gazette notification, he issued another Friday night gazette on November 9, announcing the dissolution of Parliament and calling fresh elections. Many questioned as to whether he knew what he was doing.

That is because the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, introduced by his government with Sirisena himself working overtime and being personally present in Parliament to see it through, specifically precludes him from doing so.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Sirisena’s Daughter Chathurika Says Her Father “Does not Know What He Does When Angry” and Reveals That The President as a Child Had Burnt Down a Paddy Field in Anger After Getting a “Tokka” (Knock on the Head)From His Father.’ »

President Sirisena Wants MP’s Supporting Mahinda Rajapaka as Prime Minister To Provide Affidavits Within Three Days Demonstrating a Majority in Parliament

President Maithripala Sirisena has notified the founder of the ‘Pohottuwa’ party Basil Rajapaksa to take measures to provide him with affidavits to show majority in parliament within the next 48 hours, according to government internal sources.

The President had summoned the SLFP –MPs yesterday and notified them to prove that they have parliamentary majority within the next three days.

Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena who was appointed by the President told media that, “The President insisted that he would not carry on with a government headed by Ranil Wickremesinghe under any circumstance. He asked us to show our majority and continue with our work,” he said.
The President had said this when he met the SLFP members after the no confidence motion.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Wants MP’s Supporting Mahinda Rajapaka as Prime Minister To Provide Affidavits Within Three Days Demonstrating a Majority in Parliament’ »

IGP Telephoned Speaker and Offered to Deploy STF Personnel Trained In Hostage Rescue Operations to Remove Obstructing Mahinda Loyalist MP’s and Clear the Way But Karu Jayasuriya Refused Such Drastic Action.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya resisted ordering police into parliament on Friday, but changed his mind 42 minutes after being denied entry into the chamber by an aggressive mob of MPs who occupied his desk and chair.

Official sources said the 78-year-old Jayasuriya was offered a specialized Special Task Force unit trained in anti-hijacking and hostage rescue operations to clear the way for his entry into the House accompanied by the mace.

But Jayasuriya refused the offer, hoping that over 40 legislators of the Joint Opposition supporting Mahinda Rajapaksa would end their agitation and allow the assembly to go ahead with an amended no-confidence motion against the former president.

“The IGP (Inspector-General of Police) telephoned the Speaker and offered the STF units as he had been instructed by the President,” an official said. “But the Speaker would not hear of it.”

Continue reading ‘IGP Telephoned Speaker and Offered to Deploy STF Personnel Trained In Hostage Rescue Operations to Remove Obstructing Mahinda Loyalist MP’s and Clear the Way But Karu Jayasuriya Refused Such Drastic Action.’ »

Redoubtable Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has Stood his Ground Against Very Heavy Physical and Verbal Fire During the Palpable Horror that is Taking Place in the House by the Diyawanna Oya.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

As pro-Rajapaksa parliamentarians threw water lethally spiced with red chillie into the eyes of police officers valiantly guarding Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, the seventy-eight year old Speaker may take heart from the fact that his grace under fire will stand out as the most remarkable example of steadfastness in parliamentary history. Images of him resolutely facing down parts of a chair, a copy of the Bible and the Constitution aimed at his head, as the House (euphemistically) ‘sat’ this Friday will be indelibly imprinted in the nation’s memory for a long time.

Both the calling of police into the Chamber and the use of chillie water, ironically a favourite torture tactic against alleged (Sinhalese) criminals and (Tamil) ‘terrorists’ in Sri Lanka’s detention centres, were a first in the legislative assembly.

Enduring several vulgar indignities

Shamefully Speaker Jayasuriya was prevented from sitting in the Chair and had to sit on a bench at a lower level as more than twenty police officers and parliamentary staff stood their ground against the deadly rush of the Rajapaksa-led Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP) supporters, many of them regularly traipsing to court in ongoing corruption cases.

As several vulgar indignities were visited on him, Kipling’s words came to mind; ‘if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you…’

Continue reading ‘Redoubtable Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has Stood his Ground Against Very Heavy Physical and Verbal Fire During the Palpable Horror that is Taking Place in the House by the Diyawanna Oya.’ »

UNF Wants Purported Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to Prove He Has a Majority By Moving a Resolution Setting Aside the No Confidence Motions Passed Against Him.

The United National Front (UNF) is to ask Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to prove his majority in Parliament when the House meets Monday Noc 19 afternoon.

UNF leaders are expected to ask President Maithripala Sirisena who appointed Mr. Rajapaksa as Prime Minister, to ask him to move a Resolution in the House, setting aside the proceedings that took place in Parliament this week, i.e. on November 14, 15 and 16 where Votes of No Confidence on the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government were moved by the UNP, TNA and JVP and voted upon.

According to the Speaker, the No Confidence motions were carried by a voice vote as there was no request for any other form of voting according to Standing Orders of Parliament.

Continue reading ‘UNF Wants Purported Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to Prove He Has a Majority By Moving a Resolution Setting Aside the No Confidence Motions Passed Against Him.’ »

The Newest Weapon in Sri Lankan Politics: Chilli Powder in the Eyes:At Least 4 MP’s and Many Policemen Injured.

By Dharisha Bastians and Jeffrey Gettleman

Lawmakers hurled chairs, thick books and stinging chile powder at one another as violence and chaos erupted again on the floor of Sri Lanka’s Parliament on Friday.

At least four lawmakers and several police officers were injured. The proceedings were carried live on TV and beamed across the island nation.

The trouble began when lawmakers allied to Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former president who, in a contentious move, was appointed prime minister last month, arrived in the chamber early and occupied the speaker’s chair.

The lawmakers broke microphones and staged mock sessions. They also blocked the mace, a gold-tipped ebony staff that is the symbol of authority, from being brought into the chamber to begin the session.

Continue reading ‘The Newest Weapon in Sri Lankan Politics: Chilli Powder in the Eyes:At Least 4 MP’s and Many Policemen Injured.’ »

The Friday Game or ‘Sikuraada Keliya” is what People Watch out for with Fear and Dismay as Friday is Maithripala Sirisena’s Game day with Governance and the Constitution.

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

Friday, was an efficient and devoted employee, of Robinson Crusoe, later known as Man Friday, an especially faithful or one’s best servant or right-hand man.

In recent weeks Maithripala Sirisena emerged more as Friday’s Man than the Man Friday, he was meant to be serving the people of this country, the job he was elected for.

Friday is Sirisena’s game day with governance and the Constitution. The Friday Game or ‘Sikuraada Keliya” is what people watch out with fear and dismay – what will he do with the basic concepts of governance? What more can he do about blundering with the Constitution?

Way back in January 2015, when the people elected him to serve them, there was little known about his gamesmanship, or that of inequity and unfairness. He was a wholly silent Cabinet Minister for nearly a decade, serving the Rajapaksa Regime, in the servitude that was more that of a slave than a devoted employee.

Continue reading ‘The Friday Game or ‘Sikuraada Keliya” is what People Watch out for with Fear and Dismay as Friday is Maithripala Sirisena’s Game day with Governance and the Constitution.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Loyalist MP’s Run Riot in the House:Arundika Fernando Takes Speakers Seat;Susantha Punchinilame Sits in Secretary – General’s Chair; Pavithra Wanniarachchi,Wimal Weerawansa, Bandula Gunawardena and Mahindananda Aluthgamage Make Speeches in Mock Session.

By

Disna MudaligeCamelia Nathaniel and Amali Mallawaarachchi

Parliament marked the lowest point in its entire history yesterday with a series of violent assaults, bloodshed, and rancorous behaviour of some MPs which led to mayhem in the House.

The MPs were conducting a mock sitting with MP Arundika Fernando in the Speaker’s Chair flanked by fellow MPs when the quorum bell rang at 1.30 pm to commence sittings.

Ministers Pavithra Wanniarachchi and Dilan Perera were leading slogans which demanded the immediate arrest of UNP MP Palitha Thewarapperuma for sneaking in a knife and UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake for grabbing it and keeping it with him.

MP Susantha Punchinilame was seen seated on the Secretary General’s chair and video recording the scene. The MPs, who flocked near the Speaker’s Chair, shouted slogans which said “Palithaya pihi genawa”,

“Gon-Ranja pihi genawa”, “Pihikaraya remand karau”, “Karuwalayata enna kiyapiya, mewata uttara denna kiyapiya, berinam daala yanna kiyapiya” and “Oka tamai api kiwwe-mehema karala be kiwwe”.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Loyalist MP’s Run Riot in the House:Arundika Fernando Takes Speakers Seat;Susantha Punchinilame Sits in Secretary – General’s Chair; Pavithra Wanniarachchi,Wimal Weerawansa, Bandula Gunawardena and Mahindananda Aluthgamage Make Speeches in Mock Session.’ »

“The wounds of Jayawickrama Perera, Vijitha Herath and Malik Samarawickrama will Heal, but what About the Damage to the Country?” – Asks Ranil Wickremesinghe

By Chathuri Dissanayake

A deeply moved MP Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday lamented over what he termed as the ‘destruction of Sri Lanka’s democracy’ by parliamentarians loyal to MP Mahinda Rajapaksa and condemned their actions while pledging to restore democracy.

“This is a blow to democracy; it is a blow to all of us who are voters in Sri Lanka in whom the sovereignty lies,” Wickremesinghe told reporters after Parliament was adjourned.

“This disgraceful incident – the incident that shamed the whole nation – must be condemned in the harshest possible terms. The people of this country did not give us their vote to behave like this. We will work to restore democracy and order,” he added.

Continue reading ‘“The wounds of Jayawickrama Perera, Vijitha Herath and Malik Samarawickrama will Heal, but what About the Damage to the Country?” – Asks Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Dayasiri Jayasekara MP says President Sirisena Wants Speaker Jayasuriya “to Acknowledge the Appointment of Prime Minister, Leader of the House, and the Chief Government Whip Before Moving the No Confidence Motion”.

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.

Continue reading ‘Dayasiri Jayasekara MP says President Sirisena Wants Speaker Jayasuriya “to Acknowledge the Appointment of Prime Minister, Leader of the House, and the Chief Government Whip Before Moving the No Confidence Motion”.’ »

President Sirisena Refuses Again to Accept the Majority Vote Decision Taken for the Second Time by Parliament.

President Maithripala Sirisena has refused to accept the second vote on the no confidence motion yesterday, setting the stage for the constitutional deadlock to continue into next week.

Despite three weeks lapsing since President Sirisena replaced sitting Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the constitutional crisis remains at a stalemate with the Executive refusing to accept the decisions of Parliament.

“The President’s statement clearly said to follow Standing Orders, and what happened today is not that. The President is not going to accept the vote as procedure was not followed,” Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) MP Dayasiri Jayasekara told Daily FT.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Refuses Again to Accept the Majority Vote Decision Taken for the Second Time by Parliament.’ »

Parliament Passes No Confidence Motion Against Mahinda Rajapaksa For Second Time Despite Ex-President’s Loyalist MP’s Engaging in Violence To Prevent Voting.

By Ashwin Hemmathagama

A second vote on the no confidence motion against MP Mahinda Rajapaksa passed yesterday with Speaker Karu Jayasuriya being forced to conduct the session from behind a human shield as Rajapaksa loyalists unleashed havoc in the House.

Regardless of President Maithripala Sirisena’s promise to party leaders on Thursday night to allow the vote to pass uninterrupted, UPFA MP Arundika Fernando occupied the Speaker’s Chair with the support of his colleagues who were loyal to MP Rajapaksa by forcefully standing on the Secretaries’ Platform.

Continue reading ‘Parliament Passes No Confidence Motion Against Mahinda Rajapaksa For Second Time Despite Ex-President’s Loyalist MP’s Engaging in Violence To Prevent Voting.’ »

President Sirisena and his Group Violated Their Promise. Their parliamentarians Behaved Like Beasts, not Like Human Beings,” Says JVP MP Vijitha Herath.


By

Meera Srinivasan

Amidst furore and violence caused by his MPs in Parliament, Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday lost a trust vote for the third time this week.

The no-confidence motions were taken up in the wake of Mr. Rajapaksa’s controversial appointment as Prime Minister, replacing Ranil Wickremesinghe who was abruptly sacked by President Maithripala Sirisena three weeks ago.

Former strongman Mr. Rajapaksa has however refused to accept the outcome of the first two motions — on his appointment and his address to Parliament — after failing to prove a majority in the House.

President Sirisena, who has now realigned with Mr. Rajapksa, did not endorse the earlier votes, but had promised to accept Friday’s vote. He is yet to acknowledge it or state his decision on future course, in the absence of a PM or cabinet.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena and his Group Violated Their Promise. Their parliamentarians Behaved Like Beasts, not Like Human Beings,” Says JVP MP Vijitha Herath.’ »

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Informs President Maithripala Sirisena That a Fresh Vote of No Confidence has Been Passed by Parliament Against Purported Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Government.

By

Zacky Jabbar

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has informed President Maithripala Sirisena that a fresh vote of no-confidence on Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the government was passed by Parliament yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Informs President Maithripala Sirisena That a Fresh Vote of No Confidence has Been Passed by Parliament Against Purported Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Government.’ »

Gamini Marapana PC Files Motion Seeking an Enlargement of the Three Judge Supreme Court Bench Hearing the Dissolution of Parliament Fundamental Rights Petitions To a Seven Judge Bench Presided Over by the Chief Justice.

Following an interim injunction issued by a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, suspending, until Dec. 07, the presidential proclamation dissolving Parliament, Gamini Marapana, PC yesterday, through a motion filed on behalf of added respondent Mallika Arachchige Channa Sudath Jayasumana, moved the Chief Justice to appoint a fuller bench of the Supreme Court to hear the petitions.

The CJ has been requested to ‘make order in terms of Article 132 (3) of the Constitution constituting a Divisional Bench comprising of five (5) or more Judges, and in the totality of the circumstances attendant upon the above styled and numbered Application and the said connected Applications, comprising of seven (7) Judges, of the Supreme Court” presided over by the CJ, to hear the relevant petitions.

Marapana PC has pleaded that the subject matter of the Application and the said connected Applications are of grave general and public importance including inter alia the interpretation of several critically important provisions of the Constitution, the executive power of the People exercised by the President of the Republic, the separation of powers, the Constitutional safeguards and checks and balances vis-à-vis the Legislature and the Franchise and the inalienable Sovereignty of the People;

Continue reading ‘Gamini Marapana PC Files Motion Seeking an Enlargement of the Three Judge Supreme Court Bench Hearing the Dissolution of Parliament Fundamental Rights Petitions To a Seven Judge Bench Presided Over by the Chief Justice.’ »

Joint Opposition MP’s Led by Johnston Fernando Throw Chillie Powdered Water,Chairs and Books at Police Cordon Protecting Mace and Speaker who Conducted Proceedings Seated on a Makeshift Bench in the Aisle.

By

Dharisha Bastians

At 2.20PM when the side doors to the Chamber opened, about 30 police officials entered in a human chain, forming a barricade around the Sergeant at Arms who held tight to the Mace, the symbol of an official session of Parliament.

The Speaker walked in behind the Mace.

JO MPs pelted the police officers with chairs, thick bound books and threw water mixed with chillie powder at the wall of police officers who were unmoved and never retaliated.

Johnston Fernando led the charge.

Amidst the chaos,with parliament security holding cushions over his head to prevent attacks from projectiles, Speaker conducted a sitting from a makeshift bench on the aisle of the chamber. His mic worked and the Hansard recorded all of it.

Standing orders were suspended by majority vote. The no confidence motion against PresRajapaksa passed on Wednesday tabled again with first clause deleted.

The Speaker called for order so he could take a vote by name. Since JO MPs did not heed him, he took a voice vote.

“The Ayes have it” the motion was carried, Speaker declared shortly before he adjourned the session till the 19th of November.

Through all this the JO continued to hurl things at MPs, the police and the Speaker.

Realising he had been defeated Mahinda Rajapaksa turned and walked out of the chamber as the packed gallery hooted at him. His MPs continued to roar with protest but the UNF/TNA/JVP had declared victory.

These were some incredible scenes.

Courtesy:Face Book

For the First Time in Sri Lankan Parliamentary History , the Speaker ( Karu Jayasuriya) Is Forced to Enter Floor of the House With Police Escort For Protection from (Mahinda Rajapaksa’s) Violent Members of Parliament.

Sri Lanka’s Parliament, on Friday, passed a No Confidence Motion on the government as Speaker Karu Jayasuriya took a vote under heavy police presence.

The Speaker, for the first time in Sri Lanka’s history entered the floor of the House, well protected behind hundreds of police officials.

The Parliament session which was expected to start at 1.30 pm, was delayed for over 30 minutes as government legislators had begun a protest surrounding the Speaker’s desk and chair and a government legislator occupying the Speaker’s seat.

Continue reading ‘For the First Time in Sri Lankan Parliamentary History , the Speaker ( Karu Jayasuriya) Is Forced to Enter Floor of the House With Police Escort For Protection from (Mahinda Rajapaksa’s) Violent Members of Parliament.’ »

What President Sirisena Supposedly Meant when he Asked Opposition to Follow Procedure vis-à-vis No Confidence Motion

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.

Continue reading ‘What President Sirisena Supposedly Meant when he Asked Opposition to Follow Procedure vis-à-vis No Confidence Motion’ »

Several MP’s Including Kiriella,Samarawickrama, Jayawickrama Perera and Vijitha Herath Along With Police Officers Attacked by Mahinda Rakapaksa’s Minions (MP’s) Running Amok in Parliament.

Several Parliamentarians came under chillie powder and water attacks by protesting UPFA Parliamentarians, after the second No Confidence Motion was passed in Parliament amid severe interruptions.

JVP Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath, UNP MP Malik Samarawickrma, UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella and UNP MP Gamini Jayawickrema Perera were among MPs who came under attack this afternoon.

Continue reading ‘Several MP’s Including Kiriella,Samarawickrama, Jayawickrama Perera and Vijitha Herath Along With Police Officers Attacked by Mahinda Rakapaksa’s Minions (MP’s) Running Amok in Parliament.’ »

No Confidence Motion Passed for the Second Time Against Mahinda Rajapaksa With Beleagured Speaker Conducting Voice Vote Under Police Protection.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya declared that the second No Confidence Vote against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was passed in Parliament.

Amidst severe interruptions by UPFA MPS, Speaker Jayasuriya, standing in the aisle of Parliament, conducted a voice vote on the second No-Confidence Motion against Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘No Confidence Motion Passed for the Second Time Against Mahinda Rajapaksa With Beleagured Speaker Conducting Voice Vote Under Police Protection.’ »

A “bloodless coup” in Sri Lanka is Going Awry With The Schemes of Maithripala Sirisena Blowing Up In His Face – “The Economist”


THE SCHEMES of Maithripala Sirisena, the president of Sri Lanka, are blowing up in his face. On November 13th the Supreme Court suspended his order dissolving parliament and calling a snap general election. The next day the reinstated parliament raucously approved a motion of no confidence against the government that the president had only just installed. It was a stinging rebuke to Mr Sirisena, who had stretched the constitution in his attempt to replace a supposed ally, Ranil Wickremesinghe , with a supposed enemy, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The president has put Sri Lanka in a constitutional quandary. It now has no clear government. Mr Rajapaksa’s team have occupied all the ministries, but Mr Wickremesinghe’s insists that it remains the legitimate cabinet. “We went from one prime minister to two prime ministers to no prime minister in a span of 20 days,” says Thishya Weragoda, a bemused lawyer.

Continue reading ‘A “bloodless coup” in Sri Lanka is Going Awry With The Schemes of Maithripala Sirisena Blowing Up In His Face – “The Economist”’ »

” Brave Lion”Karu Jayasuriya Faces Cowardly Attacks From Mahinda Loyalist “Hyena MP’s” Who Throw a Dustbin, File Folder,Water Bottle and Copy of Constitution at Speaker.

By Ashwin Hemmathagama

Turmoil continued in Parliament yesterday with both MP Ranil Wickremesinghe and MP Mahinda Rajapaksa camps clashing with each other, with the furore descending into fisticuffs and foul language hurled at Speaker Karu Jayasuriya along with a dustbin, a file folder, a water bottle and even a copy of the Constitution.

The mayhem inside the main Chamber began shortly after the House met at 10 a.m. Speaker Jayasuriya was greeted by hoots from the Rajapaksa camp. Seeking the MPs’ support to continue the day’s proceedings with necessary decorum in the House, the Speaker said “thank you” to the disturbing lawmakers.

Highlighting the vacuum in the post of prime minister, Speaker Jayasuriya said: “I will not recognise any MP as the prime minister, minister, state or deputy minister, chief government whip or leader of the house as the cabinet of ministers stands dissolved after the no confidence motion on Wednesday. A new prime minister and cabinet of ministers are not yet appointed. There is free seating for the convenience of business of the House today. I also remind you that according to the Standing Orders, the final decision on all Parliamentary affairs lies with the Speaker. Such decision can only be challenged inside the Chamber,” he said.

Continue reading ‘” Brave Lion”Karu Jayasuriya Faces Cowardly Attacks From Mahinda Loyalist “Hyena MP’s” Who Throw a Dustbin, File Folder,Water Bottle and Copy of Constitution at Speaker.’ »

Chandrika Kumaratunga Lashes Out at Maithripala Sirisena Without Specifically Naming Him for “Betraying Policies” and ” Joining Hands With a Group that Destroyed Democracy and Built up a Network of Graft and Corruption”.

Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga yesterday said the country needs enlightened governance and unity by people to save Sri Lanka from anarchy.

Following is the full statement issued by Kumaratunga:

I am watching with concern and regret the efforts by some SLFPers to betray the peoples’ demands for a better Sri Lanka which gained victory on 8 January 2015.

The SLFP, together with most other parties and civil society, built a massive unprecedented movement to win the struggle for a decent, honest and prosperous Sri Lanka. It is regretful that some sections of our beloved party finds it fit to betray all our policies and once again join hands with a political group that destroyed fundamental rights, democracy, democratic institutions and built a destructive network of graft and corruption.

Continue reading ‘Chandrika Kumaratunga Lashes Out at Maithripala Sirisena Without Specifically Naming Him for “Betraying Policies” and ” Joining Hands With a Group that Destroyed Democracy and Built up a Network of Graft and Corruption”.’ »

President Sirisena Prepared to Accept Parliament Decision if No Confidence Motion With Deleted Clauses is Passed Through Voting by Name Instead of Voice Vote.

By Chathuri Dissanayake

The standoff between President Maithripala Sirisena and United National Party (UNP) led Parliamentarians showed signs of easing yesterday with the Executive agreeing to accept the decision of the Legislature if the vote for no confidence motion is taken following ‘Parliamentary conventions and proper process’ and Clause No. 1 of the document is omitted.

Representatives of parties who supported the no confidence motion against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Government appointed by Sirisena after the shock sacking of sitting Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe on 26 October met the President yesterday with hopes of ending the ongoing battle between the Executive and the Legislature. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, who was engaged in a battle of words with Sirisena, was also present at the meeting spanning over two hours.

“The President informed them to show majority following Parliamentary conventions,” the statement issued by the President’s Media Division said.

The President also agreed to not prorogue Parliament and to keep all members of MP Mahinda Rajapaksa’s camp under check to ensure a vote by name is possible, a UNP Spokesperson told Daily FT.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Prepared to Accept Parliament Decision if No Confidence Motion With Deleted Clauses is Passed Through Voting by Name Instead of Voice Vote.’ »

78 Year old Sri Lankan Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Hurried Out Through Back Door as Gang of MP’s Attack Him Throwing Things and Swarming Podium.

By Dharisha Bastians and Jeffrey Gettleman

When the parliamentary speaker tried to call a vote, several lawmakers heckled him, and a gang of them swarmed the podium and broke his microphone. Someone threw a garbage bin at him. Then a bound copy of the Sri Lankan Constitution soared through the air.

Fists swung wildly. Several lawmakers were injured. The speaker, Karu Jayasuriya, 78, had to be hurried out a back door and the session canceled. Several members of Parliament were left dabbing their wounds with tissue paper.

But the chaos on the floor of Sri Lanka’s Parliament on Thursday may have finally focused the deeply divided government. For the first time since a constitutional crisis erupted last month, pitting the president against his own prime minister, the two sides are meeting.

Lawmakers in Colombo, the seaside capital, said Thursday night that they had talked to the president, trying to find a way to break the deadlock.

Continue reading ‘78 Year old Sri Lankan Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Hurried Out Through Back Door as Gang of MP’s Attack Him Throwing Things and Swarming Podium.’ »

Sri Lankan Parliament Descends Into Chaos as Lawmakers Engage in Scuffle Pushing, Kicking, Punching and Shouting at Each Other.

By Joanna Slater

Since late last month, politicians in Sri Lanka have engaged in a war of words over who is the country’s rightful prime minister. On Thursday, their battle turned physical.

A scuffle broke out on the floor of Sri Lanka’s Parliament after the speaker attempted to call the body for a vote, the latest maneuver in a three-week-old power struggle that has pitted the country’s president, Maithripala Sirisena, against its sitting prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Lawmakers pushed and grabbed one another. One threw a garbage can at the speaker. Another clutched the speaker’s microphone and tried to take it away, injuring his hand in the process and requiring a trip to the hospital.

The fight came as the turmoil in Sri Lanka reached a crucial stage. Sirisena first moved to oust Wickremesinghe as the prime minister on Oct. 26, replacing him with Mahinda Rajapaksa, a controversial former president.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Parliament Descends Into Chaos as Lawmakers Engage in Scuffle Pushing, Kicking, Punching and Shouting at Each Other.’ »

Shameful Day in Parliament! Mahinda Rajapaksa Sits on Prime Minister’s Chair Defying Speaker’s Ruling;Ex-Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala Approaches Karu Jayasuriya Yelling Obsecenities; Brawl Ensues Between MP’s Trying to Attack Speaker and MP’s Trying To Protect Speaker.

By

Dr.Harsha de Silva

Sequence of events that led to the was most shameful day in Parliament.

Starting with MR (Mahinda Rajapaksa) forcing himself on the PM chair even after Speaker stating he has lost the no confidence motion yesterday thus he is no longer PM;

MR making statement as PM by force;

Speaker calling for a vote by name on ‘PM statement’ as per request by Lakshman Kirielle;

Thilanga Sumatipala (disgrace to be called an honorable MP) approaches Speaker and starts yelling obscenities at him;

Others from his side join him to a scream at Speaker getting close to physically assault him;

Our MPs approach the Speaker’s chair to protect him and get entangled in brawl.

What a shame.

All the while the illegal PM occupies the chair reserved for PM and directs the show.

In the melee Speaker calls for vote again and we all rise to vote against the ‘PM Statement’ and Speaker leaves Chair for short adjournment.

(Excerpted from Dr. de Silva MP’s Facebook)

“Some may find it hard to believe that ‘I’ stand here without a political bias or favouritism or a secret strategic personal agenda” – Chief Justice Nalin Perera

(Speech of His Lordship The Chief Justice H. N. J. Perera at the Ceremonial Sitting held on October 22, 2018)

It is with humble gratitude that I receive the warm welcome, kind sentiments and expressions of confidence that you have expressed in this august assembly today. I wish to approach this great honour with a full appreciation of the magnitude of responsibility that this office brings with itself. It is with a sincere and passionate heart that I assume this position granted to me for the service of my country.

I am painfully aware that we live in a society that is increasingly losing confidence in the ability to uphold justice. The increasing depravity of human values and practices has had its impact on the trust that people in a country may place on the judicial system itself.

We live in a world where people almost by default expect those in power to misuse the same. We are taken by surprise if those in power actually make true their promises. Public often assume that speeches such as this are merely sugar coated and loaded with empty words outside of real commitment. In a society like this we are almost programmed to look at each other with mistrust and much more at those who hold power in positions. As such I am aware that all of this makes it difficult for the general public to look to the judiciary in trust, expecting an independent and just solution.

And to this reality I speak today. I understand some may find it hard to believe that ‘I’ stand here without a political bias or favouritism or a secret strategic personal agenda that brought me here.

Continue reading ‘“Some may find it hard to believe that ‘I’ stand here without a political bias or favouritism or a secret strategic personal agenda” – Chief Justice Nalin Perera’ »

” When the President hands the country over to us in order to prevent a major catastrophe from taking place, it is our duty to accept that responsibility” – Parliament Speech by Mahinda Rajapaksa

(Text of the speech made by Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa in Parliament on Thursday the 15th November 2018)

Hon Speaker,

The President has explained why he dismissed the previous government and appointed an interim government until the conclusion of the next general election. By the 26th of October, the people of this country were living under enormous pressure. The cost of living was increasing on a daily basis due to the fuel pricing formula and the rapid depreciation of the Rupee. The unprecedented tax burden, the doubling of interest rates as a result of the Central Bank bond scam, the preparations being made to sell off harbour terminals, airports and profitable government ventures to foreign parties, the laws being drafted to enable foreigners to purchase freehold land in Sri Lanka, the signing of free trade agreements against the advice of professionals and local businessmen, the soliciting of bribes from potential investors were all weighing down on the people and there was a great deal of popular resentment against the previous government on that account.

We saw the President making some effort to mitigate the damage that was being done to the country by taking steps such as dismissing the UNP’s economic affairs committee. We heard that there had been sharp exchanges between the President and the Prime Minister in cabinet over these issues. It was at this stage that the media began to broadcast voice recordings relating to a conspiracy by persons associated with the UNP to assassinate the president and the former Defence Secretary with the involvement of certain elements in the police. It was only after things reached such a pass that the President decided to take the UPFA out of the coalition government. The withdrawal of the UPFA led to the dissolution of that government and the President under the powers vested in him by the Constitution, invited me to accept the Premiership and form a government.

I had the choice of either accepting that invitation or declining it. I could have simply said that it was best to allow the UNP government to continue in office for the remaining one year or so. However, we were the main opposition force in the country. We are the largest political party in the country. When the President hands the country over to us in order to prevent a major catastrophe from taking place, it is our duty to accept that responsibility. I accepted the responsibility of running the country on that basis. Another matter that I had to take into consideration was what would have happened to the country if the UNP had continued in power for another year. Since January 2015, that government had borrowed more than USD 21 Billion in foreign currency loans.

Continue reading ‘” When the President hands the country over to us in order to prevent a major catastrophe from taking place, it is our duty to accept that responsibility” – Parliament Speech by Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

JVP Leader Anura Dissanayake Tells Media That “Mahinda Rajapaksa is at the Lowest Point of his Political Career” After No Confidence Motion is Passed Against the “Disputed” Prime Minister

.
By

Meera Srinivasan

In a watershed floor test in the Sri Lankan Parliament, a majority of lawmakers on Wednesday voted for a no-confidence motion against disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“I hereby declare that the appointed government has no majority in this House,” Speaker Karu Jayasuriya told Parliament shortly after it reconvened.

Parliament had been shut for nearly three weeks since President Maithripala Sirisena prorogued and subsequently dissolved it, in the wake of an unprecedented political struggle in the country.

The vote was taken up after Leader of the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), Anura Kumara Dissanayake, moved a motion against Mr. Rajapaksa and his Cabinet, terming their appointment “unconstitutional.”

Continue reading ‘JVP Leader Anura Dissanayake Tells Media That “Mahinda Rajapaksa is at the Lowest Point of his Political Career” After No Confidence Motion is Passed Against the “Disputed” Prime Minister’ »

Sri Lanka’s Political Culture Deteriorates Drastically with Violation of Constitutional Provisions and Breach of Parliamentary Provisions Becoming the New Norm.

Sri Lanka was for long a bastion of Western culture in social and political behavior. But these markers, which distinguished it from its neighbors in South Asia for decades after independence from British rule, are fast disappearing in the political sphere.

Politics in Sri Lanka is now a crass and unabashed pursuit of self interest and power, irrespective of its impact on institutions so painstakingly built up and so carefully nurtured over the years since 1931 when universal adult franchise was introduced in the island for the first time in the British Empire.

The on-going sordid saga relating to the Premiership of the country involving the President, two Prime Ministers and the Speaker of parliament, brings out the nature of the disease in all its ugliness.

The malaise could become endemic if not checked in time. As on date, Lankans have little or no hope that it will be checked in the absence of a larger than life messianic figure who can take the people on a new path.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Political Culture Deteriorates Drastically with Violation of Constitutional Provisions and Breach of Parliamentary Provisions Becoming the New Norm.’ »

President Sirisena Reprimands Speaker Jayasuriya For Allowing a No Confidence Motion Against Mahinda Rajapaksa and Insists Only he is Empowered by Constitution to Appoint a Prime Minister.

President Maithripala Sirisena last night escalated a war of words with Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, accusing him of disregarding the Constitution, Standing Orders of Parliament and conventions of the House in allowing the passing of a no confidence motion against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Government.

Issuing a strongly-worded letter to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Sirisena insisted that only the Executive was empowered by the Constitution to appoint the prime minister and rejected the no confidence motion passed in Parliament.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Reprimands Speaker Jayasuriya For Allowing a No Confidence Motion Against Mahinda Rajapaksa and Insists Only he is Empowered by Constitution to Appoint a Prime Minister.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Walks Out While MP’s Aligned to Him Try To Block Voting But No Confidence Motion Passed with 122 out of 225 Parliamentarians Voting in Favour.

By Dharisha Bastians and Jeffrey Gettleman

A majority of Sri Lankan lawmakers voted Wednesday (14) morning to remove Mahinda Rajapaksa as prime minister, saying that his appointment last month was illegal.

Mr. Rajapaksa is considered the strongman of Sri Lankan politics, a wealthy, powerful former president who has been accused of grave human rights abuses. The country has been tied in knots since late last month when President Maithripala Sirisena abruptly fired the previous prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and appointed Mr. Rajapaksa to the post.

It was a rambunctious, unruly few hours in Parliament this morning.

Lawmakers allied with Mr. Wickremesinghe walked into the chamber wearing black sashes that read “For democracy.’’ The gallery was packed with journalists, diplomats and everyday citizens. Lawmakers allied with Mr. Rajapaksa did whatever they could to block a vote of no confidence. Some yelled, while others tried to grab the ceremonial mace, the parliamentary symbol of power. Some even called the speaker of Parliament a “mad fool.”

But a majority of lawmakers were determined to hold the vote. Mr. Rajapaksa then walked out. When the ayes were counted, 122 out of 225 said they wanted Mr. Rajapaksa gone.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Walks Out While MP’s Aligned to Him Try To Block Voting But No Confidence Motion Passed with 122 out of 225 Parliamentarians Voting in Favour.’ »

No Confidence Motion Against Mahinda Rajapaksa Passed by a Voice Vote Despite Boisterous Attempts by UPFA MP’s to Scuttle it,But President Sirisena Refuses to Accept NCM.

By Chathuri Dissanayake and Ashwin Hemmathagama

Amidst scenes of pandemonium, a no confidence motion against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Government was rushed through Parliament last morning, with several political parties jointly supporting the motion.

A motion was passed with a voice vote with Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announcing that the vote carried in favour of the “ayes” as his voice became almost inaudible with members of the UPFA hurling abuse at the Chair.

The Serjeant-at-Arms moved the Mace out of its bracket and held it in his arms and stood close to the Speaker’s chair as the situation became more boisterous.

United National Party Parliamentarians attended the session which convened yesterday at 10 a.m. following the Supreme Court’s interim order to suspend the gazette notice dissolving Parliament wearing black sashes printed with ‘For Democracy’ in all three languages around their necks, hoping to see an end to the ongoing constitutional crisis.

Adding to the drama of the day was the crossover by five MPs, all to the UNP camp. Three of the MPs – A.H.M. Fowzie, Manusha Nanayakkara and Piyasena Gamage – crossed over while the House was in session while Suresh Vadivel and Wasantha Senanayake too pledged support to the side later in the day.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya struggled to maintain order in the House as Rajapaksa camp resorted to yelling in protest when TNA Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran moved a motion to seek approval of the House to suspend Standing Orders of Parliament. A division was moved for suspending the Standing Orders, which received House approval despite the disturbances from the UPFA Joint Opposition.

Continue reading ‘No Confidence Motion Against Mahinda Rajapaksa Passed by a Voice Vote Despite Boisterous Attempts by UPFA MP’s to Scuttle it,But President Sirisena Refuses to Accept NCM.’ »

Escalation of Current Political Crisis May Provide President Sirisena an Excuse to Declare Emergency and Call Out the Armed Services to Maintain Law and Order.

by Prof S W R de A Samarasinghe

On November 13 evening, the third branch of government, the Judiciary in the form of the Supreme Court, dealt a blow for Sri Lanka’s fragile democracy when it issued a stay order on dissolving Parliament, effective until December 07. The Election Commission will suspend all action to hold parliamentary elections on January 5. In doing so the Supreme Court signalled the importance of constituitonal governance that puts the interest of the country before partisan poltical interests. In effect this ruling also allows the Speaker to recall Parliament.

“Me First”

In sharp contrast, the President, who is the head of the executive branch, has been acting in the last two weeks with impunity, largely in his own self-interest. The legislative branch (parliament) has become an auction house where bribery reigns, cabinet office is made available as a bribe for partisan behaviour and self comes before country for very many MPs.

Government in limbo

The decision of the Supreme Court is not the end of the threat that has been posed to Sri Lanka’s democracy but may well be the beginning of a more perilous course. The absurd situation of two individuals claiming to be prime minister remains unresolved at the time of this writing. The Supreme Court will deliver its final verdict only on December 06th. The general administration of the country remains at least semi-paralyzed with no clear political leadership at the top.

Power struggle

These constituitonal battles are being fought not for the sake of constituitonal propriety but for power. From that perspective the key parties in the fight have seen their prospects change dramatically since Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe on October 26.

Continue reading ‘Escalation of Current Political Crisis May Provide President Sirisena an Excuse to Declare Emergency and Call Out the Armed Services to Maintain Law and Order.’ »

Battle Between the Sri Lankan President and Parliament Takes Fresh Twist With Sirisena Faulting Speaker Jayasuriya’s Conduct and Rejecting Provisions of No Confidence Motion Passed with 122 Votes.

A battle between Sri Lanka’s Parliament and President Maithripala Sirisena took a new turn finding fault with a no-confidence motion passed against Mahinda Rajapaksa who was controversially appointed as Prime Minister, triggering a political crisis in the island.

President Sirsena replying a letter by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya earlier in the day, President Sirisena said he rejected part of the motion which said that gazette notices issued by him relating to appointing Rajapaksa as Prime Minister and sacking Ranil Wickremesinghe was unconstitutional.

The Speaker in a statement said he forwarded the no confidence motion passed against Rajapaksa and also a letter signed by 122 legislators of the 225 member assembly against Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘Battle Between the Sri Lankan President and Parliament Takes Fresh Twist With Sirisena Faulting Speaker Jayasuriya’s Conduct and Rejecting Provisions of No Confidence Motion Passed with 122 Votes.’ »

Sri Lankan Political Crisis Escalates Further With Two Different Governments Under Prime Ministers Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa Claiming Legitimacy.

Sri Lanka’s political crisis heightened further on Wednesday when ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and former president Mahinda Rajapakse both claimed they would continue in government following a heated debate in Parliament earlier in the day.

Hours after a no confidence motion was submitted on the floor of Parliament against new Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and his government, ousted Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said the motion had been passed through a ‘voice vote’ with a majority of legislators voting for it.

He then told journalists in a media briefing from the Parliamentary complex that 122 legislators in the 225 member Parliament had signed a motion favoring the no confidence motion and it was handed to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Political Crisis Escalates Further With Two Different Governments Under Prime Ministers Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa Claiming Legitimacy.’ »

Prorogued Sri Lankan Parliament is Re -convened on Nov 14 and Adjourned Until Nov 15 by Speaker Karu After No Confidence Motion is Passed Against Purported Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka’s Parliament has been adjourned till 10.00 am tomorrow (15) by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya after amid a tense situation, after the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna moved a motion of no confidence, legislators said.

Sri Lanka’s speakers had accepted that a majority of members supported a motion of no confidence against Mahinda Rajapaksa’s administration, legislators who came out of the chamber told reporters.

UNP’s Sajith Premadasa told reporters that legislators with Mahinda Rajapaksa had attempted to distrupt proceedings, but democracy had prevailed.

Continue reading ‘Prorogued Sri Lankan Parliament is Re -convened on Nov 14 and Adjourned Until Nov 15 by Speaker Karu After No Confidence Motion is Passed Against Purported Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Confirms to Media that 122 MP’s Have Informed Speaker They Voted In Favour of No Confidence Motion Against Mahinda Rajapaksa

UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said voice vote was taken by the Speaker on the No Confidence Motion submitted in Parliament against the Government and that 122 MPs informed the Speaker that they voted in favour of it.

He told media that the NCM passed in Parliament with a majority could not be challenged and added that if anyone wanted to challenge the Speaker’s decision, they could move a resolution challenging his decision tomorrow.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Confirms to Media that 122 MP’s Have Informed Speaker They Voted In Favour of No Confidence Motion Against Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

Mahinda Camp MP’s AHM Fowzie, Piyasena Gamage , Manusha Nanayakkara,Wasantha Senanayake and Vadivel Suresh Turn Against Mahinda Rajapaksa by Voting for No Confidence Motion Against Him.

The United National Party confirmed that 122 MPs have signed the No Confidence Motion against new Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his purposed government.

Apart from 102 MPs representing the UNP, the TNA, the JVP and several MPs who initially supported Sirisea-Rajapaksa alliance, namely Manusha Nanayakkara, Wasantha Senanayake, Vadiwel Suresh, Piyasena Gamage and A.H.M. Fowzie also supported the NCM against Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Camp MP’s AHM Fowzie, Piyasena Gamage , Manusha Nanayakkara,Wasantha Senanayake and Vadivel Suresh Turn Against Mahinda Rajapaksa by Voting for No Confidence Motion Against Him.’ »

122 Out of 225 MP’s Sign No Confidence Motion Against Mahinda Rajapaksa Who Walks Out of Chamber Suddenly Causing an Uproar in House

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has issued a statement saying the no-confidence motion against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was taken up in the house.

The Speaker said 122 MPs had signed the no-confidence motion.

The motion will be sent to President Maithripala Sirisena for him to take necessary action.

The United National Party (UNP) earlier confirmed that 122 MPs signed the No Confidence Motion although MPs of the UPFA denied the fact.

Continue reading ‘122 Out of 225 MP’s Sign No Confidence Motion Against Mahinda Rajapaksa Who Walks Out of Chamber Suddenly Causing an Uproar in House’ »

3 Judge Bench Comprising Chief Justice Perera and Justices Prasanna and Priyantha Jayawardana in Landmark Ruling Issues Stay Order Until December 7th on President Sirisena’s Gazette Dissolving Parliament .

By Chathuri Dissanayake

Emotions ran high as the three-judge bench ofthe Supreme Court yesterday delivered a landmark decision, issuing a stay order on the gazette dissolving Parliament issued by President Maithripala Sirisena until 7 December.

The decision, delivered at around 5.45p.m. in the evening after a gruelling 45 minutes of uncertainty, was heard in pin-drop silence with lawyers, politicians and journalists alike straining to hear every word uttered by Chief Justice Nalin Perera.

The three-judge bench, led by the Chief Justice, comprising justices Prasanna Jayawardane and Priyantha Jayawardane, yesterday heard out lawyers for the second day, only breaking at 3.00 p.m. before a decision was delivered.

Visibly moved by the victory, Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran hailed the order as “the most important decision the Supreme Court has delivered in its history”.

The Parliamentarian, who appeared for Petitioner Champika Fernando, confidently said that Parliament’s business could now go on as the gazette dissolving Parliament had been suspended and the previous gazette that the President issued reconvening Parliament was now active.

“Parliament will meet tomorrow at 10.00 a.m.,” a confident Sumanthiran told Daily FT. The Speaker’s office later confirmed Parliament would reconvene today at 10.00 a.m., preceded by a party leaders’ meeting at 8.00 a.m.

Continue reading ‘3 Judge Bench Comprising Chief Justice Perera and Justices Prasanna and Priyantha Jayawardana in Landmark Ruling Issues Stay Order Until December 7th on President Sirisena’s Gazette Dissolving Parliament .’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena to Form New Alliance Named ” Podujana Nidhahas Peramuna” to Contest Elections Scheduled for Jan 5th 2019.

President Maithripala Sirisena and newly-appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa have arrived at an understanding to contest the Parliamentary election as a common alliance under the name “Nidahas Podujana Peramuna.”

The discussion between the two leaders had taken place last night, a day after Rajapaksa and a host MPs relinquished their SLFP membership and joined the Sri Lanka Podujana Party.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena to Form New Alliance Named ” Podujana Nidhahas Peramuna” to Contest Elections Scheduled for Jan 5th 2019.’ »

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to Convene Parliament at 10 am On Wednesday Nov 14th Preceded by Party Leaders Meeting at 8.30 am In the Parliamentary Complex.

Sri Lanka’s Speaker, Karu Jayasuriya has asked members to convene to determine the legitimacy of a government and asked the public and officials to abide by the decisions of court and parliament after courts suspended a sacking of the Parliament by President Maithripala Sirisena.

“After several days of political uncertainty, the public can take pride in our judiciary, which has risen to the occasion and treated this matter of grave national importance with due urgency and deliberation,” Speaker Jayasuriya said in a statement.

“Parliament must now perform its role by allowing the elected representatives of the people to reach a determination on the legitimacy of their government.

“I urge the public to find comfort in the day’s events and to share my confidence in our elected representatives.

:It is important that the general public and especially persons in positions of responsibility conduct themselves in a calm and dignified manner in order to avoid unnecessary provocation and instability.

Continue reading ‘Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to Convene Parliament at 10 am On Wednesday Nov 14th Preceded by Party Leaders Meeting at 8.30 am In the Parliamentary Complex.’ »

Prominent Buddhist Monk Organizations “National Bhikku Forum ” and ” Pevidi Handa” Want President Sirisena To Hold a Referendum to Obtain the Peoples Will Over Parliament Dissolution Issue.

Two prominent Bhikkhu organisations yesterday urged President Maithripala Sirisena to hold a referendum immediately to let the people decide whether they approved of the dissolution of Parliament.

Addressing a press conference organized by the Pevidi Handa in Colombo, Ven. Murutththettuwe Ananda Thera said that there were sinister forces in overdrive to deprive the people of the victory they had achieved.

Continue reading ‘Prominent Buddhist Monk Organizations “National Bhikku Forum ” and ” Pevidi Handa” Want President Sirisena To Hold a Referendum to Obtain the Peoples Will Over Parliament Dissolution Issue.’ »

Nimal Siripala de Silva Says Request Will be Made to Appoint a Full Bench of 9 to 11 Supreme Court Judges To Determine Final Ruling on Fundamental Rights Petition Cases.

By

Lahiru Pothmulla

The government yesterday maintained that the Supreme Court’s interim order does not mean that the dissolution of parliament has been cancelled and said that it would request for a full-judge bench to hear the case.

Addressing a hurriedly called news briefing last night at the Prime Minister’s Office, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said respondents have a right to request for a full-judge bench comprising nine to 11 Judges to hear a case.

“People should note that the Supreme Court has not yet made a final decision on the gazette issued by the President dissolving parliament. The final ruling will be made on December 7. There is no finality in the matter as of yet,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Nimal Siripala de Silva Says Request Will be Made to Appoint a Full Bench of 9 to 11 Supreme Court Judges To Determine Final Ruling on Fundamental Rights Petition Cases.’ »

President Sirisena’s Gazette Notification Has Not Been Abolished,Withdrawn or Invalidated by the Supreme Court that has Only Suspended Its Operation Until Dec 7th Points out Nimal Siripala de Silva.

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.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena’s Gazette Notification Has Not Been Abolished,Withdrawn or Invalidated by the Supreme Court that has Only Suspended Its Operation Until Dec 7th Points out Nimal Siripala de Silva.’ »

Attorney -General Jayantha Jayasuriya Tells Supreme Court the Executive Presidency is in Force now and That the President Could Exercise his Executive Powers to Prorogue,Dissolve or Summon Parliament

By Chitra Weerarathne

The Supreme Court yesterday issued an interim order suspending, till Dec. 07, President Maithripala Sirisena’s gazette notification dissolving Parliament and calling a general electioni and granted leave to proceed with all the fundamental rights violation petitions filed against the recent dissolution of Parliament.

At the outset Attorney General, Jayantha Jayasuriya President’s Counsel told the Supreme Court that Article 33/2/C of the Constitution empowered the President to exercise his executive powers, to prorogue, dissolve or summon Parliament and Article 70/1, explained the procedure he was bound to follow, in dissolving Parliament and fixing the dates for the nomination and the election.

The incumbent President had followed the constitutional provisions in dissolving the Parliament and fixing a date for the election, the AG maintained. The aforesaid provisions had been endorsed even after the introduction of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

Article 62(2) of the Constitution empowered the President to dissolve Parliament.

Continue reading ‘Attorney -General Jayantha Jayasuriya Tells Supreme Court the Executive Presidency is in Force now and That the President Could Exercise his Executive Powers to Prorogue,Dissolve or Summon Parliament’ »

Can President Maithripala Sirisena Be Impeached By The Present Parliament?

By Faizer Shaheid

Elections are only a few days away and the politicians are at it again trying to tear each other apart. The political rivalries have stood the challenge of time, continuing to appeal to summon the inner hopes of the people despite their anticlimactic approach.

Two weeks ago, a fresh saga unveiled when President Maithripala Sirisena marched out from a Cabinet meeting in disgust that Members of the United National Party (UNP) were slinging mud at him regularly. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had to make a statement requesting UNP members from casting aspersions at Sirisena. Still, the cracks began to show.

Although Sirisena had warned the UNP against expressing any dissent to his actions, the President’s own Party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) continued to express anti-UNP sentiments. Especially following the Bond Scam revelations, Sirisena had asserted that he would take the finance related ministries under his wing and maintain control of the economy through a special economic council.

Going even further than this, rumours had been flying around that President Sirisena also wished to replace Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with a new person at the helm. UNP Parliamentarian Chaminda Wijesiri expressed his outrage with an out and out challenge. He stated that if President Sirisena did replace Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister, the UNP will prepare to impeach President Sirisena in Parliament.

Continue reading ‘Can President Maithripala Sirisena Be Impeached By The Present Parliament?’ »

Supreme Court Issues “Historically Important” Interim Order Restraining President Sirisena From Dissolving Parliament and Hoding Elections:Ranil May be Able Re-Claim Prime Minister Post?


By Dharisha Bastians and Jeffrey Gettleman

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked the president from dissolving Parliament, raising the possibility that the former prime minister could reclaim the post after weeks of unnerving political drama.

Sri Lanka has been in crisis since late last month, when President Maithripala Sirisena abruptly fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, accusing him of being inept and corrupt. He then swore in a new prime minister: Mahinda Rajapaksa, a popular former president who has been accused of human rights abuses. Many lawmakers and government ministers denounced the move. Protests erupted, and at least one person was killed.

Insisting his firing was unconstitutional, Mr. Wickremesinghe refused to leave his official residence and demanded that Parliament be summoned to prove he still had support.

Instead, Mr. Sirisena dissolved Parliament and called for new elections. Opponents said he had done so because Mr. Rajapaksa could not assemble a majority. The maneuverings were seen as a back door way to bring Mr. Rajapaksa and his allies back into power.

Continue reading ‘Supreme Court Issues “Historically Important” Interim Order Restraining President Sirisena From Dissolving Parliament and Hoding Elections:Ranil May be Able Re-Claim Prime Minister Post?’ »

“President Cannot Act as if he was Like Alice in Wonderland” – Counsel States in Landmark Fundamental Rights Petition Case Regarding Parliament Dissolution and Elections Being Heard by 3 Judge Bench of Supreme Court

By Hafeel Farisz

Negating every argument to the contrary put forward for the dissolution of Parliament, the Supreme Court heard yesterday that the President could not act like he was “Alice in Wonderland” and had to abide by the provisions of the Constitution when exercising the powers vested in the Executive.

Ten Petitioners submitted to court that the powers of the President under Article 33 (2) (c) to dissolve parliament was not an unfettered power and was circumscribed by the express provisions in Article 70 (1) of the constitution. “ Article 33 is an empowering provision but clearly subject to procedure. In fact 33 A is clear in the Presidents accountability to parliament” counsel said. They said the proclamation of the President to dissolve parliament was ab initio void (invalid from the outset) illegal and unconstitutional.

Explaining the “absurdity” of the argument of Aticle 33 (2) (c ) being stand alone “If the power to summon, prorogue or dissolve as provided for in 33 (2) (c ) was to stand alone, that means the President could prorogue parliament indefinitely isn’t it? Could he do that? I ask you could he do that? No he can’t because his powers to prorogue are confined by the provisions of Article 70 (3)” M.A Sumanthiran PC submitted.

Continue reading ‘“President Cannot Act as if he was Like Alice in Wonderland” – Counsel States in Landmark Fundamental Rights Petition Case Regarding Parliament Dissolution and Elections Being Heard by 3 Judge Bench of Supreme Court’ »

Attorney -General Request for More Time Until At Least Wednesday in 11 FR Petitions Against Parliament Dissolution Case is Denied by Supreme Court Due to Urgency of Situation; A-G Directed To Make Presentations on Tuesday 10 am


Civil society members, activists, and politicians alike sought the intervention of the Supreme Court as their last refuge yesterday, filing 11 fundamental rights petitions claiming President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to dissolve Parliament was unconstitutional.

In an unprecedented move, one of the three members of the Election Commission, Dr. Ratnajeevan Hoole, was also among those who petitioned the three-member bench, claiming the move by Sirisena to dissolve Parliament was ex facie illegal, stating that he was duty bound to ensure the Constitution was honoured.

As the country’s political crisis entered yet another new phase, with Sirisena’s sudden move to dissolve Parliament days before his new Prime Minister was to show majority in the House, activists and politicians flocked to the Supreme Court as their last resort. The three-member bench, comprising of Chief Justice Nalin Perera and Justices Prasanna Jayawardane and Priyantha Jayawardane, listened to arguments listed out by petitioners in a courtroom packed to its capacity with lawyers, politicians, and journalists.

The sense of gravity was almost tangible when the Court decided to hear the cases filed just yesterday morning, taking into consideration the urgency of the matter, despite the Attorney General (AG) claiming that proper notice should be given to the Elections Commission. It was pointed out to the Court that one of the three members of the Elections Commission (EC), Dr. Hoole, was himself a petitioner in the matter, therefore the concern on notice was not valid.

Continue reading ‘Attorney -General Request for More Time Until At Least Wednesday in 11 FR Petitions Against Parliament Dissolution Case is Denied by Supreme Court Due to Urgency of Situation; A-G Directed To Make Presentations on Tuesday 10 am’ »

“Ratharang” Rohitha Abeygunawardena Wants to Evict Ranil Wickremesinghe From “Temple Trees” by Resorting to Legal Action Under the Public Property Act.

By Nuwan Senarathna

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) yesterday said legal action would be taken against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe under Public Property Act for occupying Temple Trees after the dissolution of Parliament.

Wickremesinghe continuing to remain at his Official Residence even after the dissolution was gazetted is unlawful, charged SLPP member Rohitha Abeygunawardena, and could be used to file a case against him.

He alleged Wickreme-singhe’s decision to let numerous parties enter Temple Trees after 26 October had created significant damage to the valuable monuments on the premises. “I believe those who entered Temple Trees might have damaged all the valuable things there, and I have reason to believe that some might even be missing.”

Continue reading ‘“Ratharang” Rohitha Abeygunawardena Wants to Evict Ranil Wickremesinghe From “Temple Trees” by Resorting to Legal Action Under the Public Property Act.’ »

Envoys of Britain, Netherlands, Norway, France, Australia, South Africa, Italy, and Canada Keep Away From Meeting Convened by Dr.Sarath Amunugama to Explain Current Political Situation.

REUTERS: Eight Western countries stayed away from a meeting with Sri Lanka’s Government on Monday to register their protest against President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to dissolve Parliament, diplomatic and government sources said.

Sri Lanka has been in political turmoil since Sirisena fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last month and appointed a pro-China former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his place.

Western countries, led by the United States and the European Union, had been urging Sirisena to convene Parliament and let the legislature determine who should be Prime Minister.

Sirisena reconvened Parliament on 14 November, but on Friday, he dissolved it and ordered a general election for 5 January.

Continue reading ‘Envoys of Britain, Netherlands, Norway, France, Australia, South Africa, Italy, and Canada Keep Away From Meeting Convened by Dr.Sarath Amunugama to Explain Current Political Situation.’ »

“We will not allow the precious freedoms that we fought so hard to secure to be stolen from us”- Ranil Wickremesinghe Issues Statement Pledging to Protect Democracy.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday pledged to build a broad coalition against what he described as a return to authoritarianism and to continue the battle to restore democracy, transparency and institutional independence in Sri Lanka.

Releasing a statement in response to the national address made by President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday, Wickremesinghe insisted the United National Party (UNP) would stand by its efforts begun in 2015 to restore democracy to Sri Lanka, protect and uphold the Constitution and work for the development of the people. Conceding that these efforts did not progress as swiftly as was desired, he nonetheless insisted that progress was made and people were allowed to live in freedom.

“We will not allow the precious freedoms that we fought so hard to secure to be stolen from us. I promise you that we who value our democracy will work together to save our nation from this unprecedented crisis,” he said.

Continue reading ‘“We will not allow the precious freedoms that we fought so hard to secure to be stolen from us”- Ranil Wickremesinghe Issues Statement Pledging to Protect Democracy.’ »

Depleted Sri Lanka Freedom Party to Form Broad Coalition with Sri Lanka Podujana Party After Losing Cream of Parliamentary Members to the “Pohottuwa” Party.

By Uditha Jayasinghe

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) remained unperturbed by the spate of members leaving its ranks to join the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) yesterday, insisting that its main goal was winning a Parliamentary majority in the likely event of elections.

Over the weekend, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, together with his son Namal Rajapaksa and several dozen SLFP members, took SLPP membership. More key members within the SLFP ranks are expected to accept SLPP membership over the coming days. Political experts have pointed out that the SLFP runs the risk of becoming a less effective party within the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), ceding pole position to the SLPP.

Continue reading ‘Depleted Sri Lanka Freedom Party to Form Broad Coalition with Sri Lanka Podujana Party After Losing Cream of Parliamentary Members to the “Pohottuwa” Party.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Hits Out at Elections Commission Member Ratnajeevan Hoole For Submitting a Fundamental Rights Petition in the Supreme Court Against the Holding of Elections Calling It “Unethical”,

By Norman Palihawadana and Rathindra Kuruwita

For the first time in world history a Commissioner in charge of facilitating elections had gone to the Supreme Court to prevent elections, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa told The Island yesterday commenting on Ratnajeevan Hoole, a member of the Elections Commission, challenging in courts the President’s decision to dissolve Parliament.

The previous government had appointed politically biased individuals to all ‘independent’ commissions, starting from the Constitutional Council, and the behaviour of the commissioners had created chaos in the country, the Prime Minister said.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Hits Out at Elections Commission Member Ratnajeevan Hoole For Submitting a Fundamental Rights Petition in the Supreme Court Against the Holding of Elections Calling It “Unethical”,’ »

“President Sirisena Should Know the Amounts Paid to MP’s for Crossing Over Because he Bought Several MP’s from the UNP and TNA ” -Ranil Hits Back strongly Against Maithripala.

President Maithripala Sirisena should know well the amounts MPs got for crossing over because he had bought several UNP and TNA MPs, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday issuing a statement.

“Because of this horse trading the public faith in MPs has hit an all-time low. It is very unfortunate.”

Continue reading ‘“President Sirisena Should Know the Amounts Paid to MP’s for Crossing Over Because he Bought Several MP’s from the UNP and TNA ” -Ranil Hits Back strongly Against Maithripala.’ »

Chief Justice Nalin Perera, Justice Prasanna Jayawardena and Justice Priyantha Jayawardena Commence Hearing 12 F.R. Petitions Challenging Early Dissolution of Parliament and Holding of Elections; Proceedings To Continue Tomorrow as Attorney – General Required More Time

Sri Lanka’s main political parties, on Monday November 12th 2018 filed legal challenges in the island’s Supreme Court, against the early dissolution of Parliament by President Maithripala Sirisena.

The petitioners said President Sirisena had no powers to dissolve the Parliament under the 19th amendment of the constitution and requested the Supreme Court to issue an order voiding the gazette issued by the President and to suspend the upcoming Parliamentary Election until a verdict is announced.

Continue reading ‘Chief Justice Nalin Perera, Justice Prasanna Jayawardena and Justice Priyantha Jayawardena Commence Hearing 12 F.R. Petitions Challenging Early Dissolution of Parliament and Holding of Elections; Proceedings To Continue Tomorrow as Attorney – General Required More Time’ »

Election Commission Member Ratnajeevan Hoole Files 5 Page Petition in Supreme Court Seeking the Quashing of President Sirisena’s Gazetted Order Dissolving Parliament and Holding Elections.

A member of the three-man independent Election Commission joined a dozen petitioners asking the Supreme Court to declare as illegal the actions of President Maithripala Sirisena against parliament.

Ratnajeevan Hoole filed a five-page petition seeking the quashing of the president’s decree sacking parliament and calling a snap election on January 5.

Continue reading ‘Election Commission Member Ratnajeevan Hoole Files 5 Page Petition in Supreme Court Seeking the Quashing of President Sirisena’s Gazetted Order Dissolving Parliament and Holding Elections.’ »

If the President Feels his Relationship With The Prime Minister is a “Bad Marriage” The Answer is Not to Burn The House Down With The Children In It.


By

Radhika Coomaraswamy

For the most part of the last few weeks we have been in a suspended state of disbelief. Yes, the 2015 government had not lived up to its expectations, some people were plotting for the next election to teach them a lesson, and then lightning struck. The Prime Minister was removed in the stealth of the night replaced by the arch-rival that the President was elected to depose, Parliament was prorogued and then dissolved and a huge cabinet appointed. Neither the Prime Minister nor the cabinet have shown that they have the majority of Parliament behind them and this autocratic rule will continue until January 5, unless the Supreme Court decides otherwise.

Every day my friends and I text each other with information on who is crossing, what is happening here, what is happening there, so much so that we get lost in the weeds and miss the big picture.

What is the big picture?

We are today witnessing the gross abuse of executive power in ways that have been quite unimaginable even to the best of our cynics. It is power being wielded not only against the traditions and customs of a parliamentary tradition but in brazen disregard of the words and terms of the Constitution. When I meet people socially due to spin and confusion they say, “Who cares – one set of crooks vs. another”. This is not about the crooks; it is about institutions, democracy and the system of government you would like in place for your children.

The first institution under attack by this runaway executive is the institution of Parliament. It is true the public image of Parliament and parliamentarians is not very good but they do pass laws and do many other things that allow us to govern ourselves according to a set process. The procedure set for the removal of the Prime Minister is quite clear, Sinhala technicalities notwithstanding. But the most important point in a parliamentary democracy is that the prime minister must enjoy the confidence of a parliamentary majority.

Continue reading ‘If the President Feels his Relationship With The Prime Minister is a “Bad Marriage” The Answer is Not to Burn The House Down With The Children In It.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Renounces Membership of Sri Lanka Freedom Party(SLFP) Co-founded by His Father DA Rajapaksa and Becomes ‘De Jure’ Member of SLPP the Party of which he is Already ‘De -Facto’ Leader.

Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa Sunday renounced his membership in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and joined the newly formed SLPP ahead of a court challenge to his controversial appointment as prime minister.

Rajapaksa, 72, followed his legislator son Namal in joining the Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Podujana (SLPP) which emerged the largest single party at the February local council elections.

He did not say if he will run for prime minister at the January 5 election as a SLPP candidate or in a coalition within President Maithripala Sirisena’s SLFP.

However, Rajapaksa told reporters at his home Sunday that he was consulting lawyers to face several legal challenges to his appointment as well as the snap elections Sirisena called nearly two years ahead of schedule.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Renounces Membership of Sri Lanka Freedom Party(SLFP) Co-founded by His Father DA Rajapaksa and Becomes ‘De Jure’ Member of SLPP the Party of which he is Already ‘De -Facto’ Leader.’ »

Maithripala Led SLFP Left in the Lurch as Mahinda Leads Over 40 UPFA Ex-MP’s of “Purportedly Dissolved Parliament” to Become Official Members of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna(SLPP) Ahead of Prospective Elections.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

About 40 former UPFA MPs, including former Kurunegala District MP and Prime Minister of the caretaker cabinet Mahinda Rajapaksa received membership of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) yesterday as the party consolidated its position ahead of Nov 19-26 nominations for the January 5 parliamentary polls.

Former Kalutara District MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena yesterday said that the decision had been taken after carefully studying the ground realities. The former MP acknowledged the impact their action could have on the SLFP. The PM went ahead with his anticipated move in spite of strong attempts by the SLFP to discourage them obtaining SLPP membership.

A smiling Abeygunawardena said that he too along with many other former lawmakers would take SLPP membership today (Nov 11). The Island raised the issue at a special media briefing called by SLPP Chairman Prof. G. L. Peiris at the Prime Minister’s Office at Flower Road yesterday about an hour before former MPs were to take SLPP membership.

Asked by The Island whether the move could undermine the SLFP and cause further political turmoil, Abeygunawardena explained discussions were continuing to reach a consensus with the SLFP as regards the party/coalition, symbol and other matters.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Led SLFP Left in the Lurch as Mahinda Leads Over 40 UPFA Ex-MP’s of “Purportedly Dissolved Parliament” to Become Official Members of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna(SLPP) Ahead of Prospective Elections.’ »

Sirisena May go down in history as the man who virtually singlehandedly jeopardized nearly one century of democratic governance.

By Professor S W R de A Samarasinghe

President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved Sri Lanka’s parliament on November 9, 2018. Media reports suggest that he disregarded the opinion of the Attorney General who had pointed that it was a violation of the Constitution. This event is organically connected to the sacking of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replacing him with Mahinda Rajapaksa two weeks earlier on October 26.

Those who support the president’s action have cited Article 33 (2) (c) of the 19th amendment to the Constitution to justify the dissolution of parliament. His critics have cited Article 70 of the same Amendment that prohibits dissolution before the end of 4.5 years from the first date of meeting of that parliament, unless parliament itself by a two-thirds vote requests dissolution.

There is a similar constituitonal dispute over the sacking of PM. Sirisena justifies his action citing the 19th amendment to the Constitution that says “The President shall appoint as Prime Minister the Member of Parliament, who, in the President’s opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament.” Wickremesinghe urged that parliament must be summoned immediately for a vote of confidence. But Sirisena prorogued parliament until November 16 and thereby revealed that Rajapaksa did not have majority support. If Rajapaksa had majority support it makes no political sense to delay reconvening of parliament.

Supreme Court

Under the Constitution the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of all constitutional disputes. Ranil Wickremesinghe, who opposed his dismissal did not immediately appeal to the Supreme Court. It probably was a tactical decision because he would have been confident that Rajapaksa did not have the required 113 votes and an appeal to the Supreme Court would have allowed Rajapaksa more time to “buy” MPs to reach the required number.

Bribery

The available evidence suggests that since October 26th parliamentarians supporting Wickremesinghe were offered two kinds of bribes. The first, very large sums of money funded from unknown sources. The speculation is that at least some of it came from the ill-gotten wealth that the Rajapaksas accumulated when in government.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena May go down in history as the man who virtually singlehandedly jeopardized nearly one century of democratic governance.’ »

President Sirisena in Special Statement Says He Dissolved Parliament ” not to allow those 225 members in the Parliament to fight each other and allow that to develop into a street fights in every part of the country”.

(Text of The Special statement delivered by President Maithripala Sirisena on November 11, 2018)

This is the third occasion in 14 days I am addressing you to explain recent developments. First, on October 26 I explained my views to you after appointing Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister.

Then, at the meeting held at Ape Gama in Battaramulla on 5th November, I explained the political views to you. Today is the third occasion and significantly, this is the first time I address you after dissolving the Parliament. First, I must tell you the circumstances leading to the dissolution of the Parliament very briefly.

Our Parliamentary System began in 1947 after the end of the State Council System. Since then, the country was governed over the years with holding of elections and changing of governments. By the last week, in the highest institute that represents people’s supremacy to usher in a disciplined, ethical ad cultured society, the individual worth of Members of Parliament was estimated as Rs 100 million to Rs 150 million, and in one instance as high as Rs 500 million.

We have experiences about several political crisis and changes in the past. I remember the political crisis due to the opposition to the Lake House Bill in 1964. The government was changed due to that. However, since 1947 we have not seen of dissolution of parliament due to issues of corruption. The Central Bank robbery after 2015, the involvement in various corrupt practices since then and finally the political crisis during the attempts to show the majority support after the appointing of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister and the value placed on Members of Parliament as I mentioned earlier were extremely unfortunate developments. All of you will acknowledge what a tragical situation in politics when the value of the Members of Parliament, who were elected to represent the people, were commercially evaluated.

That was one of the main reasons for the dissolution of the Parliament. The second reason was the most peculiar behavior of the former Speaker, Mr. Karu Jyasuriya. I am extremely sad about that. He is a good friend of mine. The Speakers of our Parliament since 1947, until now, traditionally conducted themselves in neutral and most impartial manner. I wish to state, that his behavior of disregarding Standing Orders and Parliamentary Conventions and attempting not to recognize the appointment of a Prime Minister by the President exercising his Presidential powers was the second reason for dissolving the Parliament.

I must remind you here that, as we take the situation in to account politically, following my victory on 2015 January 08th, when I appointed Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe as the Prime Minister on the very next day, he had the support of a mere 41 members in the Parliament, whereas the sitting Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne had the support of 162 members in the Parliament.

At that moment, as you know, those who talk about the majority today, were silent about that. Often, the custom is to appoint among the members of the Parliament, someone whom the President, in his opinion, can trust to get the support of the majority in accordance with the constitution. Following that appointment, the support of the majority is obtained in terms of the standing orders of the Parliament and in the Constitution of the country.

However, in our Parliamentary tradition, there has been no occasion on which the majority support for a newly appointed Prime Minister has been tested by vote. Nothing of the sort happens under the standing orders. However, the second statement by Hon. Karu Jayasuriya violated those traditions. In his first statement, he accepted the appointment of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister and stated that he would provide the rights and the privileges of the Prime Minister to him in the Parliament. That means, specially reserving the seat of the Prime Minister and the Office of the Prime Minister in the Parliament. His first press statement admitted this.

However, his second statement was a complete deviation from it. In that he stated that he recognizes Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe as the Prime Minister. I paid serious attention to this development. Members of Parliament from both sides issued various statements in media, that there would lead a big fight when the Parliament is convened on the 14th November. Some speculated that even death of some members would occur.

It appeared to me that, if I allowed the Parliament to be convened on the 14th, without dissolving it, it could have brought about commotion and fights, in every city and every village would lead to very unpleasant and difficult situation for the average citizens of my beloved country.

As such, the best solution was not to allow those 225 members in the Parliament to fight each other and allow that to develop into a street fights in every part of the country. It is my duty and the responsibility to take democracy to guide us, and create the situation for the fifteen million voters in this country take the ultimate decision by choosing their members to the Parliament through a free and fair election.

As such, given the corrupt practices among Parliamentarians as well as the conduct of the Speaker, the best and fair solution to the political crisis that emerged was to allow the people decide in keeping with the principle of democracy. It was with that noble intention of upholding democracy that I dissolved the Parliament. I must state that a permanent and a clear solution to the current situation can be reached through a General Election.

The ultimate responsibility of holding the election rests with the elections commission. We need to extend our fullest support to the election commission.

I humbly make the request from all those involved to extend their unwavering support to the elections commission, officers on election duty and the Tri-forces and the Police in their respective duties. We have chosen a new government. Now it is up to you to defeat the corrupt and elect clean Parliamentarians to represent you. I consider the decision uphold democracy by calling a general election is a welcome by all.

The solution to many burning issues in the country such as the current high cost of living, achieving a prosperous economy, strengthening local industries, obtaining clean foreign investments, building a cultured and disciplined society, and strengthening democracy is to conduct an election and give the people the choice.

For this, purpose we take our Motherland to a new path. In order to create an intellectual young generation suitable for the technologically advanced world, we take steps while preserving our heritage of customs, traditions, ethics and culture for the present generation as well as the future generations.

Furthermore, you have an excellent opportunity now to elect intelligent and experienced representatives to govern. Hence, we give fullest support to the Gazette Notification on holding of General Elections and the steps taken by the Elections Commission accordingly. Here, I would like to remind you about one or two areas in which electoral laws have been violated in the past.

Firstly it is essential to stop misuse of public assets for the electioneering of political parties or candidates. Use of state vehicles for election campaigns must be stopped. As you are aware, during the former government as well as during the current interim government, the Ministries were provided with vehicles for the use of Members of Parliament.

Today, we have an interim government comprising of the President, Prime Minister and Ministers. Under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, the interim government will function during the elections period until a new government is established. As you know only the President, Prime Minister and Ministers are functioning in the interim government and in accordance with the regulations of the Elections Commission none of the former State Ministers, Deputy Ministers or MPs could use official vehicles for the election campaign.

I request with respect to all the former Ministers and MPs to return their government vehicles to the Secretaries of Ministries immediately. If they do not act accordingly, I will have to ask the police to confiscate the vehicles and I will not hesitate to take strict legal action against the defaulters irrespective of their political party affiliations. I would like to kindly remind that use of government vehicles and public assets for elections is illegal and it should not be done.

Accordingly, we provide fullest cooperation to the Election Commission, Public Officials, Police and Tri Forces to conduct the elections. It is the responsibility of the Party Leaders, Ministers former MPS, candidates and the supporters and the public to ensure that elections are conducted peacefully without any acts of violence and conduct election by acting with dignified and responsible manner.

While reminding all these, I urge you most respectfully to extend fullest cooperation to the efforts to take our great Motherland to be a peaceful, progressive and economically prosperous nation with a great governing structure and an ethical, cultured society that preserve our heritage, customs, traditions, ethics and culture.

Courtesy:Presidents Media Division

What our country so desperately needs right now is for all its people to rise collectively but peacefully for a Common Cause – TO SAVE OUR SRI LANKA!


By Sharmini Serasinghe

“United we stand, divided we fall” Aesop

I am sick, tired and bloody fed up of reading and listening to pessimistic tales of woe on the unprecedented crisis we and our country are facing at this dark moment in time. I am also fed up to the back teeth with reading and listening to lamentations of what should have and could have been done. This in my opinion is sheer stupidity, a waste of time and energy. What has been done has been done dusted and finished. We cannot return to the past and undo it. Period!

Instead, look at what needs to be done and can be done, NOW. We the voting public are collectively responsible for the state our country is in today. Why? Because we all foolishly placed our trust in the dregs in politics to represent us and administer our country!

They have all collectively or not, irrespective of political parties, kicked us all in our faces and let our country down in the most degrading and deplorable ways possible. So stop pointing fingers at the follies you voted for and point it at yourself instead. They did this to our country because we let them. We have looked up and spat on our own faces.

Continue reading ‘What our country so desperately needs right now is for all its people to rise collectively but peacefully for a Common Cause – TO SAVE OUR SRI LANKA!’ »

Dissolution of Parliament was by far the best Solution to be had under Present Circumstances to Preserve Sri Lankan Democracy

By

Rajpal Abeynayake

When Parliament was dissolved with effect from midnight on Friday November 9, the people were given the opportunity to revert to the status quo ante, predating 8 January 2015. On the face of it, this statement may sound curious to some, and perhaps a trifle unclear to others. But yet, most Sri Lankans would rejoice that the people have the right to choose their government as a result of the dissolution, and the numbers at the last LG elections would certainly point to that.

Legal experts have said that the Constitution allows the President to dissolve Parliament under terms of Article 33(2)c, notwithstanding any other Articles. Those who disagree say that the strict interpretation of the Constitution is required under Article 70 (1).

The legal minutiae behind the President’s decision would be clearer as legal minds deconstruct the details in the coming weeks, in the lead up to the election.

It is the veritable back-story behind the dissolution and its legal ramifications that are more pertinent to the issues at hand, that should have an impact on the aforementioned legal aspect as well.

With the passage of time, and in hindsight, there would be a collective national reawakening to the extent of the onslaught on legality, due process and yes — democracy — in the near four year Yahapalana rule. The country has seen nothing as egregious as this attack on good governance, since the grant of independence, and that can be stated with a great sense of responsibility.

A dictatorship was foisted …

The Wickremesinghe UNP foisted a dictatorship on the country, that unfolded in crystal clear clarity to supporter and dissident alike, except that the two groups reacted differently to the fallout.

Continue reading ‘Dissolution of Parliament was by far the best Solution to be had under Present Circumstances to Preserve Sri Lankan Democracy’ »

It is the Nation’s Hope (Against Hope)That the Judiciary Will Solemnly Fulfill Its Role of Being the Protector of the Constitution.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

As the core of Sri Lanka’s Democratic Socialist Republic implodes in multiple critical ways today, it cannot be said that we were not forewarned.

For not only President Maithripala Sirisena but also each and every one of us must abide by a fundamental truth underlying the legal order. The Constitution cannot be selectively applied because we happen to like someone or dislike another. If this is not recognised, we are condemned to unceasingly wander in a weary cycle of constitutional attrition, much like the bewildered rat in the cage.

Selective constitutional propriety

There is a particular context to that warning. A bare eight months into office in 2015, the President addressed the nation before television cameras stating that even if former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party was successful in obtaining a majority at the pending parliamentary election, he would not appoint him as Prime Minister.

Voices of reason should have been aghast at this proclamation. It was an affirmation in no uncertain terms that constitutional propriety will yield to a visceral reaction of whom the President felt should be suitable or not to appoint as Prime Minister.

But few raised their eyebrows. In fact, many applauded. Why?

Because a hated and feared Rajapaksa was at the receiving end of that presidential diatribe. It was on that same reasoning that many clapped and cheered when earlier that same year, a Chief Justice who should have been properly impeached for misbehaviour in office was declared by a Presidential letter ‘never to have been in office’.

As pointed out in these column spaces, that was an assessment that should have been made by Court, not by executive fiat. Yet, this was justified, supported and even urged by those who wax eloquent (then and now) on constitutional propriety.

Even as members of the black-coated fraternity strode up and down Hulfsdorp’s streets bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, demanding the Chief Justice’s summary ouster, I remember receiving a phone call from a colleague who asked me only half in jest, as to why I was not joining the ‘yahapalanaya’ melee. My response was these disastrous precedents will be rued once triumphalism following Rajapaksa’s defeat subsided.

Continue reading ‘It is the Nation’s Hope (Against Hope)That the Judiciary Will Solemnly Fulfill Its Role of Being the Protector of the Constitution.’ »

By Attempting to Bring Mahinda Back to Power, Sirisena is Trying to Obliterate a Decade of Crimes Under the Rajapaksa Regime?

By Gamini Weerakoon

The often cited quote of a former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli: ‘Lies, damn lies and statistics’ kept coming to our minds during the past two weeks when ‘truth’ became a casualty in this pious isle, where a great many take vows to abide by the Fourth Precept of the Panchaseela — morning and night.

“We’ve got more than 113” was the claim of the new political combine of the president of the country, Pohottuwa and Yasapalanaya dropouts while irate UNPers claimed more than 120 or more (with support of allied parties). These statistics simply did not tally with the 225-member parliament. It reminded us also of a saying of the journalist of yore Mark Twain: Statistics are pliable.

This great mathematical and constitutional law conundrum could have been resolved simply by summoning parliament and taking a vote — but that has yet to happen.

The country is agog with those, ranging from three wheel drivers to university dons, splitting legal hairs and juggling with arithmetical calculations for a parliamentary majority. Some of those keeping aloof of this crisis ask: Is there no morality in this whole business? A curt reply we heard was: Morality is best left to morons.

Continue reading ‘By Attempting to Bring Mahinda Back to Power, Sirisena is Trying to Obliterate a Decade of Crimes Under the Rajapaksa Regime?’ »

Speaker of “Illegally Dissolved” Parliament Karu Jayasuriya Calls Upon Public Servants ” to Refuse to Execute Illegal Orders They May Receive No Matter From Whom”.

The Speaker of Sri Lanka’s controversially dissolved parliament has asked citizens and public officials to defend the constitution and warned that the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens are at risk

“As the custodian of Parliament, I have watched over the last two weeks as the executive Branch has seized the rights and usurped the powers of Members of Parliament who were elected to represent the people,” Karu Jayasuriya said in a statement.

“The wilful disregard demonstrated by the executive towards Parliament, the engine of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, leaves the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens at grave risk of similar abuse.

“Under these dire circumstances, I urge all public servants who have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution to revisit that oath.

“Ask why we are required to pledge fealty to this document and not to any one person or a single position of power. Our foremost duty is to the Constitution.

“I ask all public servants across the country to remember their obligations to this supreme law of our motherland, and to safeguard the independence of the public service, police and the judiciary. I call upon all public servants to refuse to execute any illegal orders they may receive, no matter from whom.

The full statement is reproduced below:

Continue reading ‘Speaker of “Illegally Dissolved” Parliament Karu Jayasuriya Calls Upon Public Servants ” to Refuse to Execute Illegal Orders They May Receive No Matter From Whom”.’ »

Sri Lanka Parliament Dissolution: Is President Sirisena’s Action Legally tenable?


By

Meera Srinivasan

From the time President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Ranil Wickremesinghe on October 26, till he dissolved parliament exactly two weeks later, doubts about the constitutional validity of his moves have been a recurring theme. The dissolution of the House in particular, shortly after Mr. Sirisena’s party declared it lacked numbers for a majority, sparked an instant dispute. Is the action, evidently a politically manoeuvre, legally tenable?


Under Article 33

Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva argues it is. Speaking to the local media, he has pointed to article 33 (2) (c) in the 19th Amendment, which states “in addition to the powers, duties and functions expressly conferred or imposed on, or assigned to the President by the Constitution or other written law, the President shall have the power to summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament.” His position is in line with many of the President’s supporters, who privilege the import of article 33 (2) C, over what other pertinent sections may say.

However, Asanga Welikala, Director, Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law terms the dissolution of Parliament “wholly illegal and unconstitutional”.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Parliament Dissolution: Is President Sirisena’s Action Legally tenable?’ »

No one lying politician should have the power to appoint or remove another lying politician unilaterally.

By Gehan Gunatilleke

Let me apologise to building managers in advance.

Imagine entrusting a building to a manager who is dishonest.

To one’s horror, one discovers dishonesty is not a problem confined to one particular building manager, but an affliction common to all building managers. There is a serious dilemma.

The building needs managing, and the building’s owners neither have the time nor the skills to manage buildings. So owners may have little choice but to rely on dishonest building managers.

One option is to keep looking for that one miraculous building manager who is honest. But until then, the building will have to be managed by the dishonest. The other option – the one I am going to propose in this article – is to operate on the assumption that all building managers everywhere are going to be dishonest.

So then the owners must prepare themselves for that inevitability, and try to mitigate the damage of dishonesty, while keeping the building and its contents intact.

It is obviously not true that all building managers are dishonest. But there are some basic truths we cannot escape. The sun sets in the west. Prices rise. Politicians lie.

We Sri Lankan citizens do not look to the east to see a sunset. We are not surprised when the cost of living rises each year. Yet we never cease to be shocked when politicians betray us. Perhaps the current crisis in Sri Lanka is an opportunity for us to reflect on our predicament.

Continue reading ‘No one lying politician should have the power to appoint or remove another lying politician unilaterally.’ »

In the Mahinda-Maithripala “Cat and Mouse” Alliance The Question is Not Whether Rajapaksa Will Topple Sirisena But When!

By

Tisaranee Gunasekara

A certain cat had made the acquaintance of a mouse and has said so much to her about the great love and friendship she felt for her, that at length the mouse agreed that they should live and keep house together.”
– Brothers Grimm (Cat and Mouse in Partnership)

Some words are more evocative than others. Coup is such a word, bringing to mind images of gun-toting soldiers and generals ousting elected politicians. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word coup originated in the medieval Latin word colpus, meaning blow. Coup d’état is a blow against the state, even when that blow is non-violent and administered by civilian politicians.

A blow against the state was what happened on October 26th, when Maithripala Sirisena sacked Ranil Wickremesinghe, in clear violation of the 19th Amendment.

Mr. Sirisena knew what he was doing. The proof is in the brief letter of dismissal he sent Mr. Wickremesinghe. That letter mentions the provision under which Mr. Wickremesinghe was appointed as the prime minister. It does not mention the provision under which Mr. Wickremesinghe was being dismissed from his post. There is no mention of the provision under which the prime minister was being dismissed, because there is no such provision in the constitution.

The letter is a masterpiece of evasion. Written in Sinhala, it is worded in such a way that a casual reader (and most voters are casual readers of such missives) would not notice that key omission.

“The lie is quite as real as the truth, it works upon the world, transforms it,” said Italian writer Claudio Magrisi. That is what the Sirisena—Rajapaksa combo is trying to do – using mammoth lies to upend the popular perception of reality.

Take, for instance, the widely disseminated lie about a discrepancy between Sinhala and English versions of the relevant section in the 19th Amendment. Had there been such a discrepancy, Mr. Sirisena would have mentioned it in his letter, adding that his action is based on the Sinhala version. He didn’t, because there isn’t – any discrepancy – whatsoever. (The official Sinhala and English versions can be read hereii).

Continue reading ‘In the Mahinda-Maithripala “Cat and Mouse” Alliance The Question is Not Whether Rajapaksa Will Topple Sirisena But When!’ »

Why we Need to keep on Protesting Because we Need to Care About the Things That are Dear to us

By

Anura Gunasekera

Over the last couple of decades, particularly after Mahinda Rajapaksa first became president in, I have written intermittently in various daily and weekly papers, on matters of political interest or significance. At the outset I must declare firmly that I am not a political writer per se or a professional journalist in the real sense of the word. That identification must be reserved for writers who own columns in various papers and regularly comment, comprehensively, clearly and learnedly, on current issues. I , on the other hand, belong to the class of agonized, ordinary citizens, who burst out sporadically when something they value is threatened; the kind of people who write indignant “Letters to the Editor”, when they wish to focus public attention on matters of common interest or value.

Recently I scrolled through my early writings and noticed a disturbing trend. It is that of a gradual change in tone and content of the writing. I find that I have commenced with Hope, steadily degenerating over time to confusion, suspicion, disbelief, anger, discouragement, disillusionment, resignation , cynicism and finally despair.

Despair is now, today

Despair is when a man who first seemed eminently reasonable, articulate but not impassioned, strong in his convictions but unbiased, a man with an ostensibly clean past and who promised a clean, uncorrupt future, a man who promised credibly to right old wrongs and to prevent the commission of such in the future, a man who pledged, very convincingly , to redress inequities and to address inequalities, a man who swore to punish the guilty and to reward the virtuous, suddenly turns his back on everything that he promised before the nation to hold dear, and commits an act of incredible imprudence, that which is glaringly duplicitous, and plunges the entire nation and its machinery in to total chaos.

Despair is when a man who rekindled hope and provided a glimpse of a path to sanity, suddenly commits an act which is both absolutely deceitful and irresponsible . An act which, in the light of events in its immediate aftermath, proves totally damaging to the national fabric and recommits it to the noon darkness which once threatened to engulf it.

Continue reading ‘Why we Need to keep on Protesting Because we Need to Care About the Things That are Dear to us’ »

If the President can Dissolve Parliament at any Time at Will is Correct, then Parliament can be Dissolved by the President Just one day After the new Parliament Meets


By

Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne

There is speculation that Parliament will be dissolved. Arguments have been made for and against the right of the President to dissolve Parliament at will, at any time.

It is a golden rule that in interpreting a Constitution, the Constitution as a whole must be looked at, not at just one provision in isolation. If the issue is related to an amendment made to the Constitution, we need to look at the corresponding provisions before such amendment. The intention of the legislature in amending the Constitution must be considered. If the amendment was consequent to a pledge made at an election, then the circumstances of that election must also be considered. Constitutional provisions cannot be read in isolation, in a vacuum.

Before the Nineteenth Amendment that came into force on 15 May 2015, the Constitution gave the President a near-unbridled power to dissolve Parliament at will. Article 70 gave him the power to so do, subject to just one limitation. If the previous Parliament had been dissolved prior to it completing its six year term, then the President could dissolve Parliament only after one year.

At the Presidential Election of January 2015, one of the main issues raised was the executive presidency. The forces that supported the common candidate were clearly for limiting Presidential powers and strengthening Parliament. One does not have to labour the point.

The Nineteenth Amendment, which was passed with just one Member of Parliament opposing it, reduced the term of Parliament to five years. Provisions that Supreme Court held required a Referendum were amended or dropped. Article 70 of the amended Constitution restricted the power of the President to dissolve Parliament. It now provides that “the President shall not dissolve Parliament until the expiration of a period of not less than four years and six months from the date appointed for its first meeting, unless Parliament requests the President to do so by a resolution passed by not less than two-thirds of the whole number of Members (including those not present), voting in its favour.” Thus, Parliament can now be dissolved by the President in the first four and a half of years of its term only if 150 Members of Parliament so request by a resolution passed in Parliament. The wording is clear and unambiguous.

Continue reading ‘If the President can Dissolve Parliament at any Time at Will is Correct, then Parliament can be Dissolved by the President Just one day After the new Parliament Meets’ »

How Will the Voting Public That Has Been Complaining about Long Delays in Holding Elections React to Political Parties Going to Courts Seeking a Declaration that Parliamentaty Elections are Illegal?


by C.A. Chandraprema

The President unexpectedly dissolved Parliament on Friday night. The proclamation dissolving Parliament states that it was done by virtue of the powers vested in the President by Article 33(2)(c) of the Constitution and Article 70(5) which should be read with Article 62(2). What Article 33(2)(c) – which was a new provision introduced into the Constitution by the 19th Amendment – states is that the President will have the power to summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament in addition to the powers, duties and functions expressly conferred or imposed on, or assigned to the President by the Constitution or other written law… Article 62(2) states that every Parliament shall continue for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting unless Parliament is sooner dissolved. Hence Article 62(2) buttresses the power conferred on the President by Article 33(2)(c) to dissolve Parliament.

The President’s proclamation dissolving Parliament also quotes Article 70(5) which stipulates among other things that upon the dissolution of Parliament by virtue of the provisions of paragraph (2) of Article 62, the President shall forthwith by Proclamation fix a date for the election of Members of Parliament, and shall summon the new Parliament to meet on a date not later than three months after the date of such Proclamation. The Gazette notification dissolving Parliament also mentions Section 10 of the Parliamentary Elections Act No.1 of 1981 which stipulates that “The President shall, in every Proclamation dissolving Parliament or in any Order requiring the holding date of an election, specify the period during which nomination papers shall be received by the returning officer; and the date on which the poll shall be taken.”

All those requirements have been met in the President’s proclamation dissolving Parliament. The duty conferred on the Elections Commission by Article 104B (1) of the Constitution is that “The Commission shall exercise, perform and discharge all such powers, duties and functions conferred on the Commission or the Commissioner-General of Elections, by the Constitution, and by the law relating to the election of Members of Parliament…”


Can the President dissolve Parliament?

Just before the dissolution actually took place, the UNP had been stressing at every press conference they held, that the President does not have the power to dissolve Parliament. At the same time, members of the Joint Opposition like Udaya Gammamila have been arguing that the President does have the power to dissolve Parliament. The arguments for and against the dissolution of Parliament hinge on the interpretation of Articles 33 and 70 of the Constitution. Dr Jayampathy Wickremaratne had written to the Colombo Telegraph recently, arguing that the President cannot dissolve Parliament because the 19th Amendment had amended Article 70 of the Constitution so that the President cannot dissolve Parliament until the lapse of four years and six months from the date of its first meeting, unless Parliament requests the President to do so by a resolution passed by a two-thirds majority.

Continue reading ‘How Will the Voting Public That Has Been Complaining about Long Delays in Holding Elections React to Political Parties Going to Courts Seeking a Declaration that Parliamentaty Elections are Illegal?’ »

“We are Going to the Supreme Court First Thing in the Morning on Monday November 12” Says TNA Lawyer -Politico MA Sumanthiran as Sri Lanka’s Opposition Parties Resolve to Challenge Dissolution of Parliament.

Sri Lanka’s opposition parties are to challenge in the Supreme Court on Monday, the dissolution of the country’s parliament, which was announced late on Friday by President Maithripala Sirisena.

“We are going to the Supreme Court first thing in the morning on Monday, November 12,” said M.A.Sumanthiran, opposition Member of Parliament, who is also a top Supreme Court lawyer.

Through a gazette notification dated November 9, Lankan President Sirisena dissolved parliament and announced that fresh elections to the House will be held on January 5, 2019, and that the newly elected parliament will meet on January 17.

The opposition’s point of view was best stated by the Lawyers of Democracy in their press release on Friday.

The release said that the “arbitrary move is clearly both unconstitutional and undemocratic.”

“The unconstitutionality is stark, in as much as Article 70 of the constitution expressly prohibits the President from dissolving parliament by proclamation without 2/3rds of the Parliament approving a resolution requesting him to do so at any time during the first 4-1/2 years of its term.”

Continue reading ‘“We are Going to the Supreme Court First Thing in the Morning on Monday November 12” Says TNA Lawyer -Politico MA Sumanthiran as Sri Lanka’s Opposition Parties Resolve to Challenge Dissolution of Parliament.’ »

Maithripala Sirisena Dissolves Parliament in an act of Political Desperation After It Became Evident He had No Majority in the House.

By Chathuri Dissanayake and Uditha Jayasinghe

In an act that smacked of political desperation after it became evident his party may not be able to show majority in the House, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday dissolved Parliament with elections likely to be held on 5 January.

The Gazette, which was sent by the Attorney General’s Department on Friday evening, was signed by President Sirisena, confirmed a top Minister to Daily FT. The nomination period will be from 19 November to 26 November, according to the Gazette. The new parliament will meet on 17 January 2019. Earlier in the day, the President also issued a Gazette bringing the Government Printing Department under his preview, triggering widespread speculation of a dissolution.

“According to election regulations, which gives three weeks for the Election Commissioner to call for nominations and another five to eight weeks to announce the date for elections, we can speculate polls will be held in early January,” the Minister said.

Upon being notified of the snap decision to dissolve the House, top members of the United National Party (UNP) convened for an emergency meeting to strategise on the next possible course of action. It is also possible the UNP will seek the intervention of the Supreme Court, sources said.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Sirisena Dissolves Parliament in an act of Political Desperation After It Became Evident He had No Majority in the House.’ »

President Sirisena Dissolved Parliament Because the Govt he Installed Under Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM was Unable to Obtain the Support of 113 MP’s in a Pariament of 225.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday dissolved the country’s parliament on account of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government’s inability to face a No Confidence Motion which was due to be taken up after the reconvening of parliament on November 14.

The Rajapaksa government had been installed by President Sirisena on October 26 after sacking Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in a widely criticized move.

But the Rajapaksa government could not muster the support of a minimum of 113 MPs in a House with a total strength of 225 members to be in power and defeat the No Confidence Motion filed earlier by the Joint Opposition led by Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP).

Only eight MPs from the UNP and the United National Front (UNF) crossed over since October 26.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Dissolved Parliament Because the Govt he Installed Under Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM was Unable to Obtain the Support of 113 MP’s in a Pariament of 225.’ »

Sirisena Violates Constitution Again By Gazetting Dissolution of Parliament in Breach of 19th Amendment Forbidding it Before Four and a Half Years is Completed.

By K. Ratnayake

Yesterday Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena blatantly violated the country’s constitution and dissolved parliament almost two years before its term officially ends. According to the gazette notification issued last night, new elections will be held on January 5 and the new parliament convened on January 17.

Sirisena’s anti-democratic actions came just two weeks after he sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed former President Mahinda Rajapakse to replace him. Sirisena then prorogued the parliament for three weeks until November 16, later changing the date to November 14 following domestic and international criticism. The prorogation was a crude manoeuvre to give Rajapakse time to secure a governing majority in the 225-member parliament.

Sirisena’s dissolution of the parliament yesterday was announced a few hours after Rajapakse declared that he was still eight MPs short of a majority.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena Violates Constitution Again By Gazetting Dissolution of Parliament in Breach of 19th Amendment Forbidding it Before Four and a Half Years is Completed.’ »

President Sirisena’s Gazette Proclamation Dissolving Parliament Will be Challenged in Courts by UNP Says Mangala Samaraweera.


By

Meera Srinivasan

Avoiding a resolution to Sri Lanka’s political crisis through Parliament, President Maithripala Sirisena late on Friday dissolved the House. The move came just hours after his political front admitted to lacking the majority needed for its controversially installed Prime Minister to be declared legitimate.

Issuing an extraordinary gazette, Mr. Sirisena dismissed the 225-member assembly with effect from midnight, and called for a snap general election on January 5, 2019.

Power struggle

The development comes a fortnight into Sri Lanka’s unprecedented power struggle that saw two rival leaders claiming to be the legitimate Prime Minister.

Caught in a bitter tussle with his Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, with whom he joined hands to form the government in 2015, Mr. Sirisena sacked him abruptly on October 26 and appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place.

The move drew considerable domestic and international criticism for its apparent defiance of the Constitution. Mr. Wickremesinghe refused to accept the decision and sought a vote in the House to test who commanded its confidence. However, days before Parliament — earlier suspended — was scheduled to reconvene, Mr. Sirisena announced its dissolution.

UNP for legal challenge

Following the announcement, Mr. Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) convened an “emergency meeting”.

“We are certainly challenging this in court,” senior UNP politician Mangala Samarweera, who was Finance Minister in the government that fell, told The Hindu.

Irrespective of the outcome, the party would also move an impeachment motion against the President, Mr. Samaraweera said, “because he is a menace to the country, a menace to our democratic traditions.”

The UNP was “ready to face election any time”, but felt the need to challenge the dissolution which is “a blatant violation of the Constitution,” he said.


Validity under cloud

While the political logic of the President’s move is evident in the absence of a parliamentary majority for his front, its constitutional validity is questionable. As per the 19th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution, the President does not have the powers to dissolve Parliament within four-and-a-half years of its convening, unless requested by two-thirds of its members.

The President’s legal team, on the other hand, has invoked Article 33(2) c, which lists the powers to summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament, in addition to existing powers. However, critics observe that while the article is a general enumeration of his powers, the specific provision in the 19th Amendment must prevail.

Asked if Sri Lanka’s Election Commission would seek the Supreme Court’s opinion on the matter, ahead of elections, Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya told The Hindu: “No comments.” However, he added: “The President has the powers to fix the date for elections in his proclamation.”

All the same, pressed on the Commission’s position on holding polls when the announcement follows a controversial move, Mr. Deshapriya said: “The Commission will discuss it.”

Earlier on Friday, Sri Lanka’s purported new government said it had “104 or 105” MPs in the 225-member House, in a public admission of lacking majority in the House. Addressing a press conference at the Prime Minister’s office — which Mr. Rajapaksa took over after his disputed appointment — spokesman of the Sirisena-Rajapaksa front Keheliya Rambukwella said, “We have about 105 now”, contradicting Mr. Sirisena’s claim last week of “having the majority”.

Mr. Rajapaksa, who sought early general election even while in opposition, said in a tweet: “As leaders, it is our responsibility and obligation to give the people the opportunity to voice their opinions on the future of #SriLanka.

A general election will truly establish the will of the people and make way for a stable country.” By Friday evening, President Sirisena had sworn in virtually the entire “new cabinet”, that included senior aides of Mr. Rajapaksa and himself in key Ministerial positions.

Courtesy:The Hindu

Sri Lankan President Sirisena Dissolves Parliament and Calls For Elections in January in a Move Described as “Illegal”by Critics.

By Dharisha Bastians and Vindu Goel

The president of Sri Lanka dissolved the country’s Parliament on Friday night and called for elections in January to choose new lawmakers, a move that critics said was illegal, and that deepened a two-week-old constitutional crisis over who is the legitimate prime minister of the island nation.

The move followed President Maithripala Sirisenato’s dismissal in late October of Sri Lanka’s prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and his naming as a replacement a popular former president who had been accused of human rights abuses, nepotism and excessively close ties to China during his tenure.

Mr. Wickremesinghe and many members of Parliament challenged the appointment of his successor, Mahinda Rajapaksa. No major foreign country, including the United States, has recognized the new government. They have urged Sri Lankan leaders to allow Parliament to choose between the two men.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan President Sirisena Dissolves Parliament and Calls For Elections in January in a Move Described as “Illegal”by Critics.’ »

Machiavellian Manipulation by Maithripala To Replace Ranil With Mahinda 👑

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Machiavelli is the only political thinker whose name has come into common use for designating a kind of politics, which exists and will continue to exist independently of his influence, a politics guided exclusively by considerations of expediency, which uses all means, fair or foul, iron or poison, for achieving its ends – its end being the aggrandizement of one’s country or fatherland – but also using the fatherland in the service of the self-aggrandizement of the politician or statesman or one’s party.
– Leo Strauss

pic courtesy of: facebook.com/Awantha.artigala

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli known as Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was an Italian diplomat,writer,historian and political philosopher who is regarded by some as the Father of modern political science.His most famous work was the political treatise “The Prince” which gained notoriety because it supposedly justified duplicity and a cynical disregard for morality as acceptable means to achieve the ends of gaining or maintaining power.Machiavellianism derived from the name Machiavelli is a word used to describe “the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or general conduct”. The term Machiavellian is often associated positively with pragmatic politics and negatively with political deception and deviousness.
Continue reading ‘Machiavellian Manipulation by Maithripala To Replace Ranil With Mahinda 👑’ »

The Sri Lankan Economy is now in Acute Crisis, Leaving the Sirisena-Rajapakse Government with no Room to Manoeuvre.

By Saman Gunadasa

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, installed in a political coup on October 26, has also appropriated the post of finance and economic affairs minister. Last week, in a bid to deflect the opposition of working people, he announced cosmetic measures to ease the economic and social crisis facing workers, peasants and the poor.

Rajapakse is trying to paint himself as “people-friendly” in contrast to Ranil Wickremesinghe who was unconstitutionally sacked as prime minister by President Maithripala Sirisena.

In fact, whichever faction of the Sri Lankan ruling class finally consolidates power in the ongoing bitter political struggle, it will certainly deliver further blows to the living conditions of working people.

On Monday, Mangala Samaraweera, former finance minister, responded to Rajapakse’s announcement by warning that the measures would “put the economy in peril” and expressed concern that they would undermine the austerity program dictated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Rajapakse’s announcements included small reductions in the prices of petrol, diesel, dhal, chickpeas, wheat grain and sugar. Other measures reduced the telecom levy on phone charges from 25 to 15 percent; increased the value added tax (VAT) threshold from 12 million to 24 million rupees; waived interest on farmer’s loans below 50 million rupees for the past three years; and reduced fertiliser prices for crops other than paddy rice by a third.

Continue reading ‘The Sri Lankan Economy is now in Acute Crisis, Leaving the Sirisena-Rajapakse Government with no Room to Manoeuvre.’ »

“Those Who Caused a Crisis by Violating the Constitution Are Now Discussing About Solutions to the Crisis by More Violations of the Constitution “-Prof Jayadeva Uyangoda.

Sounding a dire warning, veteran political scientist Prof. Jayadeva Uyangoda yesterday severely criticised what he termed as an open and ongoing violation of the Constitution, which could plunge the country into anarchy, unless there was moral intervention by the public and community leaders.

Delivering the commemorative oration at the ceremony held to mark the third death anniversary of Sobhitha Thero, Prof. Uyangoda drew stark parallels with Sri Lanka’s past and lauded Sobhitha Thero as a visionary leader who had always stood for democracy, at times by himself. However, this latest crisis threatens to dwarf all previous struggles endured by Sri Lanka’s democracy and could well end in a crisis of never-before-seen proportions unless the moderate and mature public step up to demand redress. President Maith-ripala Sirisena was a notable absentee at the event, which he had attended on two previous occasions.

“It is clear now that those who have created the crisis are struggling to settle it. They are now trying to find solutions for the crisis that began with violating the Constitution once, through violating the same further. Right now they are discussing how they can further violate the Constitution,” he told the gathering.

Continue reading ‘“Those Who Caused a Crisis by Violating the Constitution Are Now Discussing About Solutions to the Crisis by More Violations of the Constitution “-Prof Jayadeva Uyangoda.’ »

Traffic Chaos in Colombo Ranil Wickremesinghe Supporters Proceed in Cavalcade of Motor Cycles,Three-wheelers,Cars &Vans to Independence Square Protest Rally Demanding Re-convening of Parliament.

A rally of hundreds of cars carrying supporters of Sri Lanka’s deposed Prime Minister brought chaos to Colombo streets on Thursday as they demanded that Parliament be reopened.

A noisy cavalcade of motorcycles, auto-rickshaws, cars and vans took loyalists of ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to a rally to hear speeches slamming the President for sacking the head of Government last month.

Continue reading ‘Traffic Chaos in Colombo Ranil Wickremesinghe Supporters Proceed in Cavalcade of Motor Cycles,Three-wheelers,Cars &Vans to Independence Square Protest Rally Demanding Re-convening of Parliament.’ »

Former Civil Servant and Academic Dr.Devanesan Nesiah Announces Return of “Deshamanya” medal and Certificate Awarded by President in 2017 In Protest Against Maithripala Sirisena Flouting Democracy.

The following is the text of an open letter sent in by Dr. Devanesan Nesiah, a retired civil servant who has who has served the country since 1959. In 2017, he was awarded with the National Honours by President Sirisena.

7 November 2018

His Excellency

Maithripala Sirisena,

President,

Sri Lanka.

Your Excellency,

I write as a loyal citizen of Sri Lanka and a proud recipient of the great titular honour of ‘Deshamanya’, that Your Excellency saw fit to confer on me in March of 2017. My children, grandchildren, other relatives and close friends gathered from three continents in celebrating the award and the Presidential recognition of my services to our great nation.

I barely knew you earlier, but my family, friends and I were greatly elated when you were elected President. That elation and hope, Your Excellency, has given way to disappointment over your very blatant flouting of our seventy-year-old democracy, in recent weeks.

Continue reading ‘Former Civil Servant and Academic Dr.Devanesan Nesiah Announces Return of “Deshamanya” medal and Certificate Awarded by President in 2017 In Protest Against Maithripala Sirisena Flouting Democracy.’ »

SB Dissanayake Admits he Offered UNP MP Palitha Range Bandara 200 Million Rupees and Cabinet Minister Portfolio and Says Making Such Offers are not Bribes.

By

Sandun A Jyasekera

Minister S.B.Dissanayake today admitted that the UPFA had only the support of 105 MPs at the moment but said they were ready to show 116 on the 14th, the day Parliament reconvenes after prorogation.

Addressing a news briefing, Minister Dissanayake said he was in contact with a number of Parliamentarians of the TNA, SLMC and ACMC to woo them to the UPFA and added he was confident that UPFA would be in a position to show the support of 116 MPs.

Continue reading ‘SB Dissanayake Admits he Offered UNP MP Palitha Range Bandara 200 Million Rupees and Cabinet Minister Portfolio and Says Making Such Offers are not Bribes.’ »

Arjuna Ranatunga Shows 15 Minute News Clip at Press Conference and Alleges Powerful UPFA Politico was Behind the Mob Attack on His Life at the Petroleum Corporation Head Office in Dematagoda.

By

Harischandra Gunaratna

Former Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Minister Arjuna Ranatunga yesterday called upon the police to conduct an impartial probe and apprehend those responsible for mayhem at the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Head Office at Dematagoda on 28 Oct. Two persons were shot by one of Ranatunga’s security guards and one of them succumbed to his injuries.

A 15- minute video clip of the incident was shown at a news conference organised by the former Minister in Colombo. Ranatunga said a powerful UPFA politician was behind the incident.

Continue reading ‘Arjuna Ranatunga Shows 15 Minute News Clip at Press Conference and Alleges Powerful UPFA Politico was Behind the Mob Attack on His Life at the Petroleum Corporation Head Office in Dematagoda.’ »

“We Believe the Present Crisis is an Attempt by the Executive to Actively and Deliberately Undermine the Constitution of Sri Lanka” – Lawyers for Democracy

(A Short Brief on the Present Constitutional Crisis in Sri Lanka Whether the Speaker can convene Parliament by Lawyers for Democracy)

Since the commencement of the constitutional crisis on 26th October 2018, the Speaker has made several public statements on the need to reconvene Parliament. His most recent statement issued on 5th November reiterates this position. This is not the first time a Speaker of Parliament has made such a decision.

In 2003 the then-Speaker, Joseph Michael Perera, came to the same conclusion. We also have a rich history of decisions where the separation of powers is clearly established. In this short brief, Lawyers for Democracy, sets out why the reconvening of Parliament is in accordance with the spirit and the letter of our Constitution, and must be respected and upheld by all parties.

Continue reading ‘“We Believe the Present Crisis is an Attempt by the Executive to Actively and Deliberately Undermine the Constitution of Sri Lanka” – Lawyers for Democracy’ »

President Sirisena May Opt to Conduct a Referendum to Enable Dissolution of Parliament if Mahinda Rajapaksa Is Unable To Gain Majority Support Among Present Crop of MP’s.

By

Kelum Bandara

The political equation is constantly changing these days making it difficult for anyone to conclude which side would emerge with the required parliamentary majority to form a stable administration by the time Parliament meets on November 14.

The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) led by President Maithripala Sirisena was scoring high in the political scorecard with the support of 105 members in comparison to the United National Party’s (UNP) 98 seats early this week.

However, the UPFA suffered a setback when MP Manusha Nanayakkara, who was sworn in as a Deputy Minister, relinquished his office and stood with the UNP leadership.

It dealt a psychological blow to the game of toing and froing. Perplexed, the other members, who had initial plans to switch allegiance to the new Government, now have second thoughts regarding their moves.

It has led to the delay in the swearing in of Cabinet Ministers. The remaining 13 Cabinet slots are kept open for anyone defecting from the UNP.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena May Opt to Conduct a Referendum to Enable Dissolution of Parliament if Mahinda Rajapaksa Is Unable To Gain Majority Support Among Present Crop of MP’s.’ »

Will President Sirisena Carry Out His Threat Of Resigning within an Hour if Ranil Wickremesinghe Wins the Vote of Confidence in Parliament and is Affirmed as Prime Minister?

By P.K.Balachandran

The on-going power struggle in Sri Lanka between two powerful groups, one led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa; and the other led by ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe; has been keeping the 21 million citizens of the island nation on the edge since October 26.

It was on October 26 that President Sirisena upset the political apple cart when he suddenly and unceremoniously sacked Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place.

Sirisena followed this up the very next day by proroguing parliament up to November 15, clearly to enable Rajapaksa to garner supporters among Members of Parliament (MPs) to acquire a parliamentary majority.

But this triggered a domestic and international outcry. Those wanting to be polite called it a “constitutional coup” since the sacking was permissible (albeit in a convoluted way) under the official Sinhalese version of the constitution. But the more blunt critics dubbed it a “Machiavellian power grab in flagrant violation of the constitution.”

Continue reading ‘Will President Sirisena Carry Out His Threat Of Resigning within an Hour if Ranil Wickremesinghe Wins the Vote of Confidence in Parliament and is Affirmed as Prime Minister?’ »