No faith motion invalid – Leader of the House

Dinesh Gunawardena

The so-called “no confidence motion” of the Opposition in Parliament was not valid as no such motion had been moved during the time Parliament sittings were in progress, Leader of the House Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said.

Gunawardena made these observations addressing a press conference held at the Parliamentary complex.

“As per the Order Paper of the day, there were only two items. The announcing of the proclamation of the President summoning Parliament and the next was to adjourn the House.

I adjourned the House in accordance with the powers vested in me. Nothing that happened after the adjournment of the House could be counted as official,” Gunawardena pointed out.

Gunawardena said that the Mace was removed by the Serjeant –at arms and nothing that happened afterwards is official or legal.

“The Mace is the symbol which gives official status for business in Parliament. It is only after the Mace is brought to the House and placed in the bracket, the Speaker could come to his seat and commence sittings. After I adjourn the House, the Mace is removed by the Serjeant-at-Arms and it marks the end of sittings officially. What happens inside the Chamber thereafter is not considered official. The so-called motion and its process was nothing but an illegal move enacted by the Speaker,” Gunawardena observed.

Gunawardena vehemently criticised Speaker Karu Jayasuriya alleging that he acted “partially” and “made it a joke”. “It is so unfortunate and regrettable that Karu Jayasuriya resorted to such low levels and had no shame in exposing his partiality to his party bringing the office of Speaker into disrepute. Whether the Government has a majority or minority is not the question here. There had been many minority governments in our Parliamentary history but the Speakers on none of those occasions had acted in this sorry manner. For example in 1960, there was Dudley Senanayake’s minority government which could have been overturned by others with the help of the Speaker. But the then Speaker remained unbiased and impartial. Today we have witnessed the undoing of all such norms by the incumbent holder of the Speaker’s office,” Gunawardena said.

“Speaker Jayasuriya first recognised the new Prime Minister and the Cabinet. He also gave seats and offices to those positions. Suddenly, there was a change and he resorted to all means including undemocratic ones and measures which contravened Parliamentary traditions and standing orders to help his party. Now it is clear that Speaker’s intention was to lead parliament to chaos and the country to anarchy,” Gunawardena said.

Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said those who so far stated that the new Government was not official or illegal thereafter would not be able to say so as Parliament had accepted the removal of the former Prime Minister and the appointment of the new one.

De Silva also pointed out that, “those documents had been tabled and read out in Parliament and that means this Parliament recognises those two moves. None could say that the appointments made by the President were illegal.”

Leaders of the parties in government ranks including Sarath Amunugama, Dallas Alahapperuma, Chamal Rajapaksa, S.B. Dissanayake, Wimal Weerawansa and Susil Premajayanatha were present at the media conference.

(Source: Daily News – By Disna Mudalige and Amali Mallawaarachchi)