January 26, 2020
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    Speaker needs to act sombre for House to be in order

    November 17, 2018

    Cabinet Spokesperson Mahinda Samarasinghe addressing a media briefing immediately after the fracas at Parliament said that Speaker Karu Jayasuriya should take the sole responsibility for the lack of decorum and tension that ensued in Parliament yesterday.“The Speaker should have immediately convened a party leaders meeting knowing very well that tensions were flaring,” said Minister Samarasinghe.

    “He should and could have easily diffused this without hurriedly rushing through a No-confidence motion.” He added that he has never seen a Speaker being escorted by so many police officers to the floor of Parliament adding that much of it could have been negated if the speaker did not abuse his powers to support the United National Party.

    “It is plain to see that much of this was pre-planned and the speaker walked out wanting to help the UNP prove that they yield the majority.”Minister Samarasinghe added that the Speaker convened a party leaders meeting at 11 at noon yesterday but failed to mention that the NCM would even be taken up.

    “The President had expressed concerns over the first clause of the NCM, since the matter is before courts and asked that it clause be excluded and standing orders be followed before the NCM is put to the floor test.” He said, “The President made it very clear that he would not prorogue Parliament provided the speaker followed due procedures and protocols.”

    He said that according to Parliamentary procedures, a minimum of five days should be devoted and all party leaders should be in agreement on the date that the NCM would be taken.“We told the Speaker not to take it up hurriedly. NCMs are decisive matters for which due notice should be given. We did not even have a copy of the NCM and didn’t realize until it was brought out at the last minute.” He added that many of the MPs were calling for the Speaker to take action on certain MPs who were wielding knives.

    “The Speaker assured us that the would investigate, despite the fact that was substantial irrefutable evidence over which he could have easily taken action,” he said. “He should use powers to safeguard and ensure the safety of all the MPs. How can one expect to have decorum in the house when the speaker is acting in a frenzied manner.”

    Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara told the news briefing that yesterday was one of the darkest days in the history of parliamentary democracy in Sri Lanka and pointed out that had not acted according to the compromise reached between President Maithripala Sirisena and the alliance led by the UNF on Thursday.

    “The agreement was to remove the first paragraph in the no-confidence motion that said the removal of Ranil Wickremesinghe from the premiership and the dissolution of Parliament were unconstitutional. Secondly, the handing of the NCM to the Speaker, deciding on the date of the debate and vote should have been done in accordance with parliamentary Standing Orders and traditions. But nothing of this was done yesterday and this is why the government members protested,” Mr. Jayasekara said attempting to justify what happened in Parliament yesterday.


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