129 MPs write to Speaker

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya

Hundred and twenty nine (129) Parliamentarians have requested Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to summon the Parliament immediately, to put a halt to the prevailing political turmoil in the country, which erupted following the appointment of Former President and Incumbent MP Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Premier on 26 October evening, Parliamentary sources said.

Furthermore, MPs of the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG), the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) had made separate written requests to the Speaker to summon the Parliament before 16 November.

None of the MPs of the United People’s Freedom Alliance had made such requests from the Speaker.

Jayasuriya also invited Party Leaders today (30) to discuss the same matter as per their requests.

Ousted Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe, holding a press conference with foreign media correspondents in Sri Lanka, at the Temple Trees, from where he refuses to leave said that he and his Party hope that the Speaker would take steps to summon the Parliament within the next few days.

The JVP, in the letter signed by all six members, urged that the Parliament be summoned without delay, to debate and defeat the objectives of the political conspiracy which they claimed had been orchestrated by President Maithripala Sirisena in removing Premier Wickremesinghe and appointing Former President Rajapaksa as the Premier, a move which they highlighted had wrought chaos by plunging the country into a daily deepening crisis of statelessness and instability.

However, when queried as to whether the Speaker has the power to summon the Parliament after the President prorogued a Session, Deputy Secretary General of Parliament, Neil Iddawela said that the Speaker has no such power according to the 19th Amendment of the Constitution.

Also, there are no provisions in both the Constitution and the Standing Orders of the Parliament to insist that the President consider summoning the Parliament before the date set for the commencement of the new Session after prorogation either, Iddawela noted.

Meanwhile, Charge d’Affairs of the United States (US) Embassy in Colombo Robert Hilton and Chief of the Political Section at the US Embassy in Colombo Anthony Renzulli yesterday (29) met Speaker Karu Jayasuriya at the Parliament to discuss the prevailing political crisis.

During the discussion, the US representatives had stated that they were surprised by the suddenly erupted political turmoil in the country. Sri Lanka should find a solution to end the prevailing crisis through Parliamentary democracy, they had pointed out.

Speaker Jayasuriya met the representatives of United Nations (UN) on the same day.

As it stands, Speaker Jayasuriya will meet Party Leaders today (30) to discuss the same matter as per their requests.

According to the Speaker’s Media Unit, Speaker Jayasuriya will meet Party Leaders separately. Each Party Leader has been given a half an hour meeting with the Speaker as he does not hold the power to call a Party Leaders’ Meeting after a prorogation of the Parliament, the Unit added.

However, 6 MPs from the groups supporting President Sirisena and Prime Minister Rajapaksa signed a letter to the Speaker protesting against the move. They said that due to the prorogation he had no right to hold Party Leaders’ Meetings.

(Source: Ceylon Today – By Methmalie Dissanayake)