President Gotabaya won’t accommodate defeated candidates on National List

Keheliya Rambukwella

Government spokesman State Investment Promotion Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said, yesterday, that the overall deterioration of parliament was a cause for concern.

Rambukwella said it was the responsibility of political parties to field decent candidates at parliamentary polls and it was up to the people to reject those whom they deemed unsuitable.

The State Minister said so when he was asked by The Island to comment on the unprecedented crisis caused by UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake and the explosive statements made in Parliament by Ramanayake and Hirunika Premachandra on Tuesday.

Rambukwella addressed the media after joint-Government Spokesman State Power Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage.

The Island sought the government spokesman’s response to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s January 03, 2020 declaration in Parliament that members of parliament had to restore public confidence in the national legislature. Acknowledging a decline in parliamentary standards, the Kandy District MP asserted that political parties and the electorate could take remedial measures.

When The Island pointed out that those rejected by the electorate were brought in as National List MPs, lawmaker Rambukwella assured that the SLPP wouldn’t do so under any circumstances.

The National List was meant to bring in professionals, experts and those who could render valuable public service, State Minister Rambukwella said.

Asked whether he could explain how so many defeated candidates had entered parliament following the 2015 general election via the National List of the UPFA, Rambukwella said that those defeated candidates joined the UNP-SLFP combine (yahapalanaya) in 2015.

Turning towards Aluthgamage, Rambukwella said they weren’t among the group of defeated candidates that backed the previous UNP government.

The majority of defeated candidates in current parliament represent the UPFA. Of the six member JVP parliamentary group, two were defeated candidates.

At the onset of his address to the media, Rambukwella highlighted the measures adopted by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to provide relief to the public. He mentioned the initiative to provide 100,000 state sector jobs to members of poor families. The minister urged the media to compare the 65 days under Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s rule and those of yahapalana 100 days project.

Those who portrayed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution as a panacea had ruined the very judiciary which they repeatedly vowed to uphold. Alleging that Ramanayake had done what he did on behalf of the UNP, State Minister Rambukwella said that the despicable action caused irreparable damage. He referred to the interdiction of two judges Gihan Pilapitiya and Dhammika Hemapala.

Aluthgamage said that they could have easily interrupted MP Hirunika Premachandra during her passionate speech in Parliament, on Tuesday, but they had refrained from doing so. The MP faulted the Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa and other seniors for tacitly backing Ramanayake by not addressing the issue.

(Source: The Island – By Shamindra Ferdinando)