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“Rulers have lost ability to govern”

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“Premature dissolution possible”

JVP demands an election

by Sirimantha Rathnasekera

The JVP, claiming current constitutional provisions enable a premature dissolution, last week called for immediate dissolution of parliament and holding an election since the ruling party has lost governing control of the country.

JVP Central Committee Member and Legal Advisor, Attorney-at-Law Sunil Watagala, told the Sunday Island that the government has proved to be a failure and it should hold elections so that the people could elect a party or an alliance which could rescue the nation from the present crisis.

He said that an election can be conducted after dissolving Parliament by passing a resolution with a simple majority under the 20th Amendment. He claimed 20A contained provisions enabling the dissolving of parliament and the forming of a new government at a time like this.

“In President J.R. Jayewardene’s time Parliament could be dissolved one year after a general election. That changed under the 19th amendment. Under 19A, Maithripala Sirisena couldn’t dissolve Parliament until four-and-a-half years of the previous election. But there was a small loophole that allowed Parliament to be dissolved before four and a half years. Parliament can pass a resolution to that effect. But that needs to be passed with a two-thirds majority. Only then can Parliament be dissolved,” Watagala said.

He said that the provisions relating to dissolving parliament were under Article 70 (1). “As per the latest amendments introduced to the Constitution under the incumbent government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the President may, from time to time, by proclamation summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament.

Subject to the provisions of subparagraph (d), the President shall not dissolve Parliament until the expiration of a period unless Parliament adopts a resolution requesting the President to dissolve Parliament,” he said.

“Under the 19th amendment, a two-thirds majority is needed (for that). Under the latest amendment, whenever the term two-thirds majority isn’t specified, it is interpreted as requiring only a simple majority,” Watagala said.

He said that if the President can’t run the country properly and if the Parliament is not accountable to the people, a dissolution and new election is possible (even) with a simple majority.

“Parliament should take this serious situation into consideration and do what is necessary,” Watagala declared.



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Now, CEB plans to ‘rationalise’ tariff

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By Ifham Nizam

Plans are afoot to ‘rationalise’ the electricity tariff shortly, Ceylon Electricity Board Chairman M.M.C. Ferdinando said, adding that the 52-year-old system should be changed for the betterment of the electricity consumer.

CEB Chief told The Island the CEB tariffs need to be changed to better reflect the use and the income level of the consumer. Ferdinando added that he had already briefed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on it.

Ferdinanado said that right now waste and corruption on CEB’s part had also been added to the consumers’ bill.

He said the CEB had received 1500 MT of fuel yesterday and would receive another shipment soon. However, thort-term power interruptions would continue in several areas until the operations at the Kelanitissa Power Station returns to normal.

“The power interruptions are an annoyance and we are looking for solutions. We too want to provide an uninterrupted power supply to our customers. Our hydro-power generation capacity is low as water levels in reservoirs are receding,” he said.

CEB’s Systems Control Department officials said that power outages might be experienced for one and a half hours due to problems at the Kelanitissa thermal plant complex.

CEB Media Spokesman, Additional General Manager Andrew Navamani said that the national grid had lost 282 MW due to the issues at Kelanitissa thermal plant. He said the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation had informed the CEB that necessary stocks of fuel for Kelanitissa power plant would be provided by yesterday night.

However, it would take several hours to start the generators, he said.

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Solving vexed problems: Ranil calls for fresh approach

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‘What we are witnessing is end of politics’

By Saman Indrajith

Traditional politics did not have solutions to the present-day problems, and the MPs should adopt a novel approach to them, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday.

Participating in the adjournment debate on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s policy statement, the UNP leader said: “We have come to the end of politics. If we go by the words of Francis Fukuyama, it is a question of the end of politics. But that does not mean the end of Parliament. We in Parliament must think afresh. We must discuss how to bring about long-term policies which would help us find solutions to the problems affecting the public. Thereafter, we can go for elections and ask people to decide who or which party could do better. Japan did so. Great Britain is doing so. India and Canada do the same. Why can’t we do it here? If we can arrive at a consensus, we will be able to usher in a new era.

“The President has commenced this new session while the country is facing the worst economic crisis in 34 years. In his statement, he mentioned only the foreign reserve crisis. The economic crisis we are facing is far worse. We created a middle class with open economic policies. With the collapse of the open economy, the middle class too will collapse. There are a handful of companies and individuals who could earn profits while the economy is shrinking. We must decide whether we’ll perish or unite to work out a plan to ensure our collective survival,” Wickremesinghe said.

“We have come to the end of traditional politics. We may shout at each other and go out to shout slogans. But that will not help us solve problems.”

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Chandrika says Sirisena should be thrown out of SLFP

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SLPP MP and former President Maithripala Sirisena should be thrown out of the SLFP for making the party a junior partner of the SLPP former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said on Wednesday night after appearing before the Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry (SPCoI) appointed to implement the recommendations of the final report of the PCoI into alleged Political Victimisation.

Both Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had destroyed the SLFP, Kumaratunga alleged.

The former President said that she had urged Sirisena not to join the SLPP as that would be the end of the SLFP.

“I repeatedly told him this and Sirisena removed me from the party’s Central Committee and stripped me of my organiser’s post in retaliation.

“Now, Sirisena is saying the same things I said about the SLPP. Even during the war, I managed to get the economy up and running. Look at it now, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry,” she said.

Kumaratunga was also critical of the SPCoI, stating that she had not been summoned before the PCoI on Political Victimisation for her to respond to any allegations against her.

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