The Deputy Chief Organizer of the Joint Opposition (JO) MP Ranjith Soysa said that 69 JO Parliamentarians are set to take a decision, on 14 August in connection with becoming independent in the Parliament. The decision will be taken at the JO Party Leaders’ meeting, chaired by the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Speaking to Ceylon Today, he added that the attention of the JO MPs, were drawn to the decision of being independent, on the argument that the Opposition Leader’s post should be secured by them.
“Irrespective of the argument that has been brought, the JO, which has the majority should be entitled to the post, if the Government respects the mandate of people and the democracy of the country,” he stressed.
He went on to say that the opponents may attempt to take advantage and try to destruct the JO MPs from becoming independent in Parliament. He added that the JO MPs are prepared to do anything for the betterment of the people in the country.
Meanwhile, Prathibha Mahanama Hewa, former Commissioner of the Human Rights and Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo, commented that the Opposition Leader post must be given to JO if they leave UPFA and become independent in the Parliament.
“If that happens, the General Secretary of the UPFA has no authority to nullify their Parliamentary positions. If that happens legal actions can be taken, which will at least last two years. However, since the next Parliamentary election will be held by that time, it would not be a serious issue” Mahanama Hewa stressed.
Mahanama Hewa noted that Speaker Karu Jayasuriya had said that Opposition Leader post would be given to TNA even if 94 of the 95 MPs crossed over to the opposition. “If anyone holds the majority support in the Parliament, he is eligible to become the Prime Minister. Similarly, whoever in the opposition shows majority support is eligible to be elected the Opposition Leader according to democracy,” he asserted.
“As a result of the TNA extending support to the government to pass all Bills and the Opposition leader being from the TNA, it is militating against having a strong Opposition and Parliamentary democracy is thrown into jeopardy. This is impeding the country’s forward journey,” he said.
Mahanama Hewa further pointed out citing the grounds that the rights of the hundreds of thousand voters who voted for them have been violated , and the situation that has arisen , the Joint Opposition has an opportunity to file a petition in the Supreme court against the opposition leader post would not be granted to them.