Ex-PM once again assures government it needs not fear UNP exploiting situation if it reconvenes House

Ranil Wickremesinghe - Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

Former Prime Minister and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, yesterday said that if the government reconvened Parliament, there would be no need for all 224 MPs to attend the sitting and just 20 MPs could meet to avoid the impending constitutional crisis.

Wickremesinghe said the quorum was 20 MPs. Therefore, if the government decided to reconvene there would be no need for all former MPs to gather there.

UNP leader Wickremesinghe said so when he met a group of former MPs who called on him, at his Kollupitiya residence, yesterday.

The former PM said that all crises could be solved by passing required bills and affording parliamentary approval for the motions and granting legal status for government motions required to solve the issues resulting from the shutting down of the country to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Wickremesinghe assured that the UNP would not support any move or motion against the government, if it reconvened parliament. He said the government should not harbour any fears that the UNP would move a motion against it to put the government in trouble at a time when the entire nation was facing a health emergency.

He said so when the MPs pointed out that some government MPs had said the Opposition would  topple the government if Parliament was reconvened. Those who met Wickremesinghe included Ravi Karunanayake, Vajira Abeywardena, Palitha Range Bandara, Champika Premadasa and K.K. Piyadasa.

Wickremesinghe said the parliament session for a special meeting could be limited for around one hour, if the party leaders reached an agreement to pass all the motions considering the prevailing situation in the country. The second reading of a bill could be limited to one hour and all those bills could be taken together to avoid waste of time, the former PM said.

He said the party leaders could meet and set the order paper and the agenda for the special meeting and the Opposition parties would remain within the agreement.

UNP leader Wickremesinghe pointed out that many European countries, including England, summoned their parliaments for special sessions, at the outset of the spreading of the coronavirus, to get required legislations passed to face the pandemic.

The former Prime Minister said that in the joint letter sent by opposition parties to the President, the UNP had put it down in writing its standpoint on tackling coronavirus.

(Source: The Island – By Saman Indrajith)