Connect with us


Pressure mounts on PM to quit as Prez reneges on promise to resign on 13 July



President’s resignation letter received

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Speaker’s Office announced last night that it had received President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s letter of resignation.Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena’s Office has said that at a party leaders’ meeting held on Thursday evening members called for the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is now Acting for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Speaker Abeywardena chaired the meeting at the parliamentary complex, where the military top brass and the IGP briefed the members on the rapidly deteriorating situation in the country. The Island learns that they told lawmakers their inability to thwart the large body of protesters under present circumstances.According to the Speaker’s Office, members of the Parliamentary Business Committee and party leaders were of the view that Premier Wickremesinghe should quit to facilitate the immediate restoration of normalcy. As soon as Wickremesinghe quit the premiership, he would lose the post of Acting President.Lawmakers who attended the meeting as JVP supporters clashed with the police a little distance away from the parliament told The Island even at that time President Gotabaya Rajapaksa hadn’t delivered his letter of resignation as repeatedly promised. Speaker Abeywardena has twice announced that he received an assurance from President Rajapaksa that he will quit before midnight on 13 July.

Among those who attended the meeting chaired by the Speaker were Maithripala Sirisena (SLFP), Lakshman Kiriella (SJB), Anura Kumara Dissanayake (JVP), Mano Ganesan (Democratic People’s Front), Vasudeva Nanayakkara (Democratic Left Front), Weerasumana Weerasinghe (Communist Party), Douglas Devananda (EPDP), Gayantha Karunatilleke (SJB), Ranjith Madduma Bandara (SJB), Angajan Ramanathan (SLFP), Gevindu Cumaratunga (civil society group Yuthukama), Rauff Hakeem (SLMC), V. Radhakrishnan (Up country People’s Front), Udaya Gammanpila (Pivithuru Hela Urumaya), Ven. Athureliye Rathana (Our Power of People’s Party ), M. A. Sumanthiran (Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi) and Prof. Tissa Vitharana (LSSP).

The largest single party in parliament the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) refrained from attending the meeting.A senior spokesperson for SLPP told The Island that they felt the meeting should have been called after the Speaker received President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s letter of resignation, which, he said, was most likely to be received later on Thursday (14) for the Speaker to activate what he called constitutional process.

Some of those who participated at the Speaker’s meeting subsequently issued a separate statement warning that the crisis would worsen, paving the way for foreign military intervention, unless it was contained expeditiously. They appealed to all stakeholders including the protesters to prevent interested parties from turning Sri Lanka into a Libya in South Asia.

The group faulted PM Wickremesinghe for the latest flare-up due to his refusal to resign as requested unanimously by political party leaders’ following a meeting chaired by Speaker Abeywardena on July 09.

The appeal was made in the wake of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declaring his intention to quit soon after protesters brought the President’s House and the Presidential Secretariat under their control.

The following MPs have signed the statement demanding the immediate resignation of Premier Wickremesinghe: “Ven. Athureliye Rathana, Wimal Weerawansa, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Udaya Gammanpila, Prof. Tissa Vitharana, A.L.M. Athaulla, Asanka Nawaratne, Gevindu Kumaratunga and Premanath Dolawatta. In addition to those lawmakers, Dr. D. Weerasinghe has represented the Communist Party.

The Speaker has met selected group of MPs amidst the JVP calling for bringing the Parliament under their control. Former JVP lawmaker Bimal Ratnayake leading the protest against the Parliament declared that their victory over the Rajapaksas dictatorship wouldn’t be complete unless they secured the House. However, the police backed by the military thwarted the JVP led attempt after both sides suffered injuries.

The group said that disruption of Parliament would seriously hinder the proposed vote on a new President scheduled for coming Wednesday (20). One of the participants pointed out that the protesters move on the parliament would only benefit those somehow trying to continue with the existing set up.

Meanwhile, protesters made a joint declaration yesterday that they would vacate all government buildings they had occupied since 09 July.Meanwhile, Army headquarters alleged that some of those who tried to force their way into the parliamentary complex had attacked troops and police with clubs, iron rods, stones, helmets, etc., and snatched two T-56 assault rifles with ammunition and caused injuries to a dozen personnel. Two seriously wounded men had been admitted to the Colombo National Hospital and the Colombo Army Hospital for emergency treatment.

Army headquarters said that some of the attackers had been apprehended. The Army has warned the protesters that they would have to face the consequences if similar tactics were adopted and tangible measures were to be taken to protect the lives and public and personal property.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest News

United Republic Front presents ‘A united step for the country’ to the President




Leader of the United Republic Front Member of Parliament Patali Champika Ranawaka, presented the proposal titled “A United Step for the Country” to President Ranil Wickremesinghe , at ‘Srikota’, the United National Party headquarters in Colombo this morning (24).

Speaking at the event President Ranil Wickremesinghe, highlighted the government’s concerted efforts over the past two years to stabilize the country’s economy, which had faced significant challenges. Stressing the government’s commitment to steering the economy towards recovery through strategic reforms, the President expressed his determination to continue these initiatives with the collective support of everyone.

Recalling his open invitation to all political parties to unite under a common agenda for the country, regardless of political differences, the President reiterated his willingness to embrace constructive proposals from all political parties as part of the nation-building efforts.

The President responded positively to the request made by Member of Parliament Patali Champika Ranawaka to allow other political parties to participate in the upcoming negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next month concerning the restructuring of foreign debt.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, responding queries about the scheduling of elections, affirmed that the Presidential Election will proceed as scheduled, with the General Election anticipated to take place early next year.


Continue Reading


Opp. fears govt. discarding SC recommendations on ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Bill



Prof. G. L. Peiris

Prof. Peiris highlights need for ex post facto judicial review

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris, MP, said that Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena’s refusal to accept that Supreme Court recommendations hadn’t been accommodated in ‘Online Safety Act No 09 of 2024’, would undermine their faith in the committee stage of a particular Bill.

The dissident SLPP MP said so when The Island sought his opinion on the SC determination on the ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Bill.

Against the backdrop of the continuing controversy over the circumstances under which the Parliament enacted the ‘Online Safety Bill’, the Opposition was seriously concerned about the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government adopting the same strategy in passing the ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Bill.

Prof. Peiris emphasised that the Speaker even ignored the Human Rights Commission advice that SC’s recommendations hadn’t been accommodated. The academic, who recently aligned himself with the SJB, said that the genuine Opposition shared his concerns.

Several parties challenged the ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Bill in the SC in terms of Article 121(1) of the Constitution. The determination of the SC as to the Constitutionality of the Bill concluded as—

(a) Clause 3, Clause 42, Clause 53, and Clause 70 of the Bill are inconsistent with Article 12(1) of the Constitution and required a special majority to be passed by Parliament.

(b) However, the SC stated that the said inconsistencies can be ceased if the said Clauses are amended as per the Determination of the Court.

(b) Clause 4 has to be suitably amended as per the Supreme Court Determination. Clause 72 (1) is unconstitutional and needs to be passed by a Special Majority and a Referendum. The unconstitutionality will cease if this Clause is amended as per the Determination of the Supreme Court.

(c) Correspondingly, Clause 72(2) must be amended in accordance with the Determination.

(d) Clause 75 (3) infringed the Article 4 (c) read with Article 3 of the Constitution and required 2/3 majority and a Referendum. The invalidity will cease 7 upon the amendments suggested in the Determination.

(f) Clause 83 (7) requires a special majority to be passed into law. It has to be suitably amended as per the Supreme Court Determination.

Further, the Supreme Court has determined that subject to the amendments that have adumbrated to the provisions of the Bill by the Supreme Court, the Bill could be enacted into law with a Simple Majority only if the amendments determined by the Supreme Court are introduced to the provisions.

Prof Peiris said that the crisis highlighted the need for ex post facto judicial review, for which there is at present no provision in Sri Lanka. The position is otherwise in countries like the USA and India where an Act of Parliament can be impugned, even after completion of the legislative process, on the ground of conflict with imperative provisions of the Constitution. Such provision existed in Sri Lanka prior to the First Republican Constitution of 1972.

The former minister said that in the draft Constitution Bill which he presented to Parliament on 3 August 2000 on behalf of the Government of President CBK, appropriate provision in this regard was included. “Unfortunately, the Constitution was burnt in the Chamber of Parliament. This gap in our law should be filled, in my view, when a comprehensive exercise in constitutional reform is undertaken by a new Administration after the conduct of national elections this year.”

Continue Reading


US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Verma visits Sri Lanka



Deputy Secretary of State of the United States of America Richard Verma visited Sri Lanka from last Thursday to yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.

The visiting U.S. Deputy Secretary of State and delegation had extensive discussions with Foreign Minister Ali Sabry at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on further strengthening bilateral cooperation. The U.S. Deputy Secretary of State also paid a courtesy call on President Ranil Wickremesinghe following the discussions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, while appreciating the humanitarian and emergency assistance granted by the U.S. to overcome the economic challenges encountered by Sri Lanka, welcomed the recent US$ 553 million development assistance extended by the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to the Colombo West International Terminal Private Limited. He also appreciated the U.S. assistance in securing the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) from the IMF.

Foreign Minister Sabry briefed Deputy Secretary of State Verma on Sri Lanka’s priorities as Chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association and the opportunities to foster collaboration in blue economy and maritime security in the region to promote freedom of navigation for all and for the facilitation of trade and commerce. He also apprised the Deputy Secretary of State of the Government’s efforts to further strengthen governance, democracy, and rule of law, as well as to combat corruption.

Deputy Secretary of State Verma while noting the encouraging progress in Sri Lanka following the economic downturn in the last two years, assured continuous U.S. assistance to the country towards economic prosperity.

The Deputy Secretary of State was accompanied by the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung, senior officials from the White House National Security Council, U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Defence. Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mohammed Jauhar and senior officials of the Foreign Ministry were associated with the Foreign Minister at the meeting.

Continue Reading