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Speaker urges to put ‘country back on track’

In order to immediately save our country from the present peril and predicament for the sake of the unborn, our bounden duty is to preserve an economically-sound state, a country where democracy flourishes and peace prevails, and ensure that there is self-respect for all citizens and that the polity lives with prestige, the Speaker’s Office stated in a release.

“We call the attention of the President and all stakeholders to put the country back on the right track and ensure that truth, justice and prosperity prevail,” the release added.

Following is the statement:

“It is our duty to draw attention to the ruling given by the Court of Appeal on December 3 and the change of the political scenario that took place on October 26. We need to express our deepest love for our motherland. We consider this the best hour to provide our thoughts to what had transpired within the past few weeks in Parliament.

With the changes occurring the day after, i.e. October 27, the Speaker advised the Secretary General of Parliament to provide all facilities to the newly appointed Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers, though contrary to the law of the land and tradition but in pursuit of the Gazette of the President and responding positively to his special request.

 


The Speaker also pointed out the importance of showing the strength of the new government and the majority it commands within a week in Parliament in the name of democracy. He requested the President to take immediate steps in this regard. As the dissolving of the then government was not done in accordance with the accepted norms and traditions, it was the duty of the President and the new government to show to the world its strength.

The President, who showed a positive response to this request, decided to call the sitting of the new government on November 7 and make way for the new government to show its strength. However, due to various reasons, this was not materialized. While the sitting of Parliament rescheduled to November 14, 122 members of four political parties out of six represented in Parliament, refused to recognize the new government and submitted a No Confidence Motion to the Speaker.

Under the prevailing circumstances, the best course of action of the new government was to show its strength. But for whatever reason within that period, a shameless scheme was on the move to buy MPs by bribing them and promising to pay them Rs. 300 million upwards as well as offering Ministerial posts to those MPs crossing to the newly formed government’s side.

We are pleased to note that the Bribery Commission has taken immediate action to investigate the alleged bribery charges of buying Members of Parliament.

Respecting the request of the majority and the President's official call to commence Parliamentary sittings on November 14, a decision was taken to waive the Standing Orders and create the necessary atmosphere to allow the new government to show its strength. This step was taken in keeping with the provisions of 136 and 143 of the Standing Orders, considering the need of the hour.

If the support was extended by the new government, steps would have been taken to count the vote by name.

 

For reasons one cannot understand, within the three days of November 14, 15 and 16, a disturbance was caused in Parliament preventing the conduct of a vote in a peaceful atmosphere. What we experienced was agitation and violence in the House and the unbecoming behaviour of MPs which forced the Speaker to take a voice vote.

There have been instances even in a peaceful environment where a voice vote was taken in Parliament. The Speaker accepted the majority voice vote approving the No Confidence Motion and the outcome of the No Confidence Motion was duly communicated to the President.

It is clear that on December 3, the Judiciary approved the process followed by Parliament in this regard. We are much encouraged by the backing of the Judiciary over the stand we have taken all along and approving the course of action we have taken in Parliament.

We seek indulgence to express our deep appreciation to the Judiciary in this regard. All allegations and diabolical lies brought against the Speaker and Parliament are thus dismissed.

This is the explanation of what happened in Parliament so far. Allegations that giving a hearing to the voices of 122 MPs shows bias, is ironic. Apart from the UNP, MPs from the JVP, SLMC, and TNA, the four political parties out of six represented in Parliament, were within that voice vote taken into account.

We must state that we have taken full responsibility to what we say and have faithfully followed the highest Parliamentary Standing Orders and traditions observed by the International Parliamentary Association, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and also the legal opinion expressed by local and foreign constitutional experts.

 

The role played by the Speaker is not meant or expected to strengthen or weaken an individual, a party or group. But we want to stress that all steps taken by us were based on policy. However, if someone does not approve our work or role done in good faith, they should not keep on criticizing the Speaker and Parliament in every nook and corner, but instead, bring a No Confidence Motion against the Speaker and remove him from the post.

All those holding responsible positions, including the President, should realize at this crucial, decisive and challenging hour - owing to what happened in the past few weeks - that the situation heavily contributed to worsening our economy and our social and political life at large. In order to immediately save our country from the present peril and predicament for the sake of the unborn, our bounden duty is to preserve an economically-sound state, a country where democracy flourishes and peace prevails, and ensure that there is self-respect for all citizens and that the polity lives with prestige.

We must also ensure that national and religious harmony and reconciliation prevail. It is our foremost duty to see that nothing harmful enters to destroy the existing peace and harmony, and does nothing to destroy national reconciliation prevailing among all communities.

Leaders of all political parties representing Parliament should ensure that there would not be a repetition of events of the recent past which tarnished the good name of Parliament. They must also take immediate steps to stop MPs from being sold for money and positions. Parliament should commit itself to do everything at hand to stop the ugly and disgraceful acts. We bring these proposals in good faith and with no other ulterior motive, either personal or political.

We call the attention of the President and all stakeholders to put the country back on the right track and ensure that truth, justice and prosperity prevail. Our sole purpose of this statement is to draw the attention of the state administration to act in the best interest of citizens and correct the flaws.”

(Daily News)

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