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CBK lambastes Sirisena and Mahinda for current plight of SLFP

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Former President and incumbent Patron of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said she would work with the younger generation to reinvigorate the SLFP that was weakened due to the conduct of former President and SLFP Chairman Maithripala Sirisena.

Kumaratunga said so yesterday (2) while making a special statement to mark the 69th anniversary of the SLFP.

Kumaratunga said she had been saddened by the present fate of the SLFP, which was formed by the late Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and later strengthened by Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

“I think I am also responsible for what has happened to the SLFP, today. It is not because of what I did, but because of what I did not do. I am the person who revitalised the SLFP, which was on a losing streak for 17 years. The SLFP was able to remain in power for 23 consecutive years because of what we started.”

Kumaratunga said that she had returned to politics in 2015 at the request of the late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera, a number of political parties and civil society organisations, after a long absence from politics as she needed to put an end to the destruction of the country and where the SLFP was heading at that time.

“Many people today say that I joined the UNP.  In 2015, we formed a massive alliance with a large number of civil society organizations and a number of Tamil and Muslim parties. That alliance included both the UNP and the SLFP.”

Although she and a group of others had presented a broader vision in 2015, Sirisena who came to power in 2015 completely had destroyed that programme, the former President said. Both leaders who came to power after her were responsible for what had happened to the SLFP, she said.

Kumaratunga went on to say, “One leader who came to power after me even put my life at risk. At a time when Velupillai Prabhakaran had warned that he would kill me, that leader removed my security within 24 hours. He did all that because I was the only living Bandaranaike family member who could rebuild the SLFP. Also, the Bandaranaike policies of the party were ruined due to various criminals who linked him to the SLFP,”

Further emphasising that a party like the SLFP could not be destroyed, Kumaratunga said that she was committed to strengthening the SLFP with the help of the youth.

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EC member Hoole moves SC against 20A

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Petitions challenging 20A before five-judge bench of SC today 

By Chitra Weerarathne

Petitions filed in the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka, will be called before a five-judge bench today.

These petitions have said that people’s approval at a referendum as well as a two-thirds majority in Parliament will be needed to enact the Bill.

All the petitions have basically said that the Bill has a section, which says a dual citizen can contest to enter the Parliament of Sri Lanka and run for President threatened national security.

The petitions challenge the powers vested in the President. The President could sack the Prime Minister and the Ministers. Once the Bill becomes law, fundamental rights petitions could not be filed to challenge an act of the President, the petitions have pointed out.

The investigating powers of the Auditor General have been curtailed. The powers vested in the Elections Commission when an election is on is also limited, the petitioners have argued.

The petitions have requested the Supreme Court to declare that a two-thirds majority in Parliament and people’s approval at a referendum will be needed to enact the proposed amendment.

Among the petitioners are Elections Commission member Ratnajeevan Hoole, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya, Attorney-at-Law Indika Gallage, Mayantha Dissanayake, S. J. B. Member of Parliament for the Kandy District and also the President of the Youth League of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya.

The Supreme Court bench will comprise the Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew, Justice S. Thurairajah and Justice Vijith K. Malalgoda.

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Senasinghe announces quitting politics

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By Akitha Perera

Former non-cabinet minister of the yahapalana government Sujeewa Senasinghe announced yesterday that he would quit politics. 

He had also stepped down as the SJB Deputy Secretary, Senasinghe said. 

Senasinghe said that he intended to focus on his business in the future and that he would commence work on his PhD from January 2021. 

He unsuccessfully contested the Aug 05 general election from the Colombo district on SJB ticket.

Senasinghe commenced his political career as a member of the Western Provincial Council of the UNP. He was elected to Parliament twice from the same party. 

He earned notoriety by publishing a book denying the bond scam ever took place.

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Pujith insists his hands were tied during crucial period 

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

He had been aware that the activities and preaching of Islamists would have an impact on reconciliation, but those in higher positions were convinced otherwise, former IGP Pujith Jayasundara, yesterday, told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.

The ex-IGP said that although he too had received information about activities of Islamic extremists by late 2018, he had been barred from the National Security Council (NSC) by then.

“I couldn’t share the information I had and I didn’t know what was discussed there. I couldn’t even assign a senior officer to represent me there.”

Jayasundara added that after he had received, on April 09, a report from State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Nilantha Jayawardena about a possible terrorist attack, he forwarded the report to SDIG of Western Province, Nandana Munasinghe, SDIG crimes and STF M.R. Latheef, DIG special protection range Priyalal Dasanayake and Director of the Terrorism Investigation Division, Waruna Jayasundara and spoke to them over the phone.

Jayasundara said that he had also phoned all SDIGs in charge of provinces. The witness added that he had wanted to ensure that there would not be a leak, causing unnecessary problems in society.

“For example, the letter I sent to the Special Protection Range (SPR) was leaked to the media after the attacks.”

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