Connect with us

News

2020 General Election – SLPP confident of securing majority

Published

on

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The SLPP was preparing to form the next government, party sources said, adding that a two-thirds majority was difficult to achieve. The SLPP sought a two-thirds majority to amend or do away with the 19th Amendment to the Constitution enacted in 2015.

 Political parties had secured working majorities in Parliament only twice since the introduction of the Proportional Representation (PR) system in 1989, sources said.

 President Ranasinghe Premadasa secured a simple majority at the 1989 poll and the UPFA led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa obtained 144 seats at the 2010 general election.

 SLPP strategist Basil Rajapaksa has said in a newspaper interview that if his party couldn’t obtain a two-thirds majority, talks will be held with other parties.

Countrywide counting of ballot papers is scheduled to commence at 7 am today (6).

 Of the 225 parliament members, 29 are appointed through the National List.

 Political sources were of the opinion that the SJB would emerge as the main Opposition at the expense of the UNP. The last parliament was represented by 106 UNP lawmakers.

Two of the SLPP constituents, the National Freedom Front (NFF) and the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) in the run-up to August 5 poll declared that they wouldn’t be part of the government in case an agreement was sought with extremist elements to secure a two-thirds majority.

A civil society grouping that campaigned against the SLPP effort to do away with the 19th Amendment yesterday told The Island that the new government’s conduct would largely depend on the margin of victory at the August 5 poll. Spokesperson Gamini Viyangoda said that in case the SLPP managed to secure as many as 130 seats, it would aggressively push for crossovers. However, the situation would be different if it obtained 30 seats short of a two-thirds majority, Viyangoda said.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in terms of the powers vested in him by the Constitution and the Parliamentary Election Act, has summoned the new parliament on August 20.

In terms of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, President Rajapaksa has to restrict the number of Cabinet ministers to 30 unless a consensus could be reached with political party/parties on the formation of a National Government.

The 19th Amendment also deprives the President of an opportunity to hold any ministerial portfolio. President Rajapaksa refrained from appointing defence minister in the interim government following the last presidential poll.

 



News

BASL urges President to de-escalate tensions in different parts of country

Published

on

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has called upon President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to instruct the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of tensions in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by the public.”

 “Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint”, the BASL has said in a media statement.

 “We also call upon you to ensure that steps are taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.”

The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police.

 The armed forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

Full text of the BASL letter to the President:

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) expresses its gravest concerns at the current situation at fuel stations throughout the country and the reports of several incidents of conflicts between civilians and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations. There has been video footage of civilians being assaulted by personnel of the armed forces and the police, the latest being of a civilian being kicked by an Army officer at a fuel station. There have also been situations of the police and Army opening fire into the air to contain the crowd.

Your Excellency is no doubt aware that thousands of desperate civilians are waiting in queues at hundreds of fuel stations in the country. The queues are kilometres long. The tension at the fuel stations have arisen from this desperation for which there is no immediate solution in sight.

The BASL wishes to warn Your Excellency of the imminent dangers this situation could give rise to. The present unrest could result in a conflagration between civilians and members of the armed forces or the police. Some years ago, confrontations between members of the public and the armed forces resulted in the deaths of civilians. Such incidents between the members of the armed forces or the police and the civilians will discredit Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the police.

We call upon Your Excellency to take all necessary steps to give instructions to the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of the situation in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by public. Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint. We also call upon you to ensure that steps be taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.

The Sri Lanka Army and other service personnel must be deployed only in very limited circumstances as contemplated in the Criminal Procedure Code. The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police. The Armed Forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

We trust that this will receive the immediate attention of the Government as to do otherwise may otherwise result in unprecedented turmoil and harm.

The BASL believes that the ultimate solution to the situation at fuel stations is to be transparent with the public and to ensure an equitable and effective system of fuel distribution throughout the country.

Continue Reading

News

SC orders AG to submit report on fuel purchases and distribution

Published

on

By A.J.A. Abeynayake

A three-member Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Mahinda Samayawardena and Arjuna Obeysekera yesterday ordered the Attorney General to submit a report on fuel purchases, the distribution thereof and the sectors to be provided with fuel on a priority basis.

The Supreme Court made the order after considering two fundamental rights petitions presented by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The BASL has requested the Supreme Court to direct the Cabinet of Ministers to consult all stakeholders and independent experts to formulate and implement the necessary policies, and to provide concessions in relation to the prices of essential goods and services to the people including LP gas, fuel, electricity, milk powder, medicines and food.

The petitions were filed by the President of the BASL Saliya Pieris PC, Deputy President Anura Meddegoda PC, former Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya, Treasurer Rajindh Perera and the Assistant Secretary Pasindu Silva.

Continue Reading

News

A/L may be delayed by one month

Published

on

Education Minister Sushil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday that although it had been scheduled to hold the G.C.E. A/L Examination 2022 in November this year, it could be further delayed by another month.

Responding to a question by MP Shantha Bandara, the Minister said: “The examination should be held at least after three months of releasing the results of the previous A/L exam because the students who need to sit it again should have enough time to prepare,” the Minister said.

Continue Reading

Trending