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    Dissolving Parliament before its expiry date is undemocratic -Deputy Media Minister

    June 06, 2015

    Dissolving Parliament before its expiry date is against democracy, said Deputy Media Minister Shantha Bandara.

    Addressing the media at the Information Department yesterday, Bandara said Members of Parliament were elected to serve the country till April next year. The term of the seventh Parliament expires in April 2016. Therefore, dissolving Parliament prior to its term expiring is not democracy," he said. "We do not agree with the individuals who want Parliament to be dissolved early. Their target is to go for an election," he said. "The decisions pertaining to the SLFP is taken by the Executive Council and Central Working Committee. The SLFP Central Working Committee has given its approval to supporting the 20th Amendment. Only the President has the powers to dissolve Parliament before its expiry date, but that could be done only if the country has fallen into crisis. Therefore, Parliament cannot be dissolved to satisfy the motives of an individual. President Sirisena will not take such hasty decisions," he added.


    Bandara noted that politicians should realize that under the 19 Amendment, an independent election commission, judiciary, police and state administration should be formed to go for a free and fair election, to establish a Parliament functions for the people's well being.


    "The 20th Amendment should be passed first and the next general election can be held under the old electoral system. That could be done by including provisions in to the 19th Amendment that the forthcoming general election will not be held under the new electoral reforms, but, the elections to be held thereafter," he added.


    "The new government managed to reduce the powers of the Executive President. Therefore, as representatives of the people, all political parties have the responsibility to pass the 20th Amendment to retain the trust that people have in their representatives. Most of them are not willing to accept the 20th Amendment. They fear whether it is the same electoral reforms that were brought in 1970 or 1977. Those electoral reforms had a few shortcomings. Sometimes, opportunities were not provided to express the opinions of the people in Parliament. The 20th Amendment has been formulated after taking consideration to all the possible issues. And the majority government will be decided by the people where all the other parties will also get equal recognition.


    "The 20 Amendment will ensure the recognition of both major and minor parties. Many past events have proved how some individuals used bullets when they failed in the ballet papers. When there are representatives from all the parties to represent the people in Parliament, justice will be served equally," he added.


    He further said there might be some errors in the formulation of the Amendment, but that could be remedied after discussions.


    'The SLFP has organized a seminar on June 8 at 3 pm at the Viharamahadevi Park under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena. People who want to get a better understanding about the 20th Amendment can participate in the event. When making a change in the electoral system of the country people should be well aware of the changes," he added.


    Making reference to the SLFP book that was distributed to journalists at a press conference, Bandara noted that the book does not tarnish anyone's image. Some of the incidents that took place under the former government have been critically analyzed. Every SLFP member should read it in order to strengthen our party. The people who printed this booklet failed to inform even the national organizer or the secretary, they were not aware of it. This does not mean that there is a split in the party. All the SLFP members are entitled to respect the provisions in the SLFP Constitution. Some mistakes occurred under the former government, and as a result people rejected us during the last Presidential election.


    When Bandara was asked about President Sirisena's pledge to the people that Parliament would be dissolved after April 23, he noted that President Sirisena has stated that Parliament will be dissolved after April 23, but, he did not say the exact date when he will dissolve Parliament.


    He promised that Parliament would be dissolved after passing the 20 Amendment. Therefore, there is more work to be done.


    Responding to a question about President Sirisena's statement that a new Parliament will be established in September, Bandara emphasized that a new Parliament does not mean that it is the 8th Parliament that he is going to form. The President supports the 20th Amendment like the 19th Amendment.


    Referring to UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim's statement that the UNP will be against, if the 20th Amendment is brought forward by supporters of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Deputy Minister said there is no division in the SLFP such as Mahinda supporters and Maithri supporters, though the members have different political opinions. The decisions are taken as one party.


    Asked whether there will be any change in the secretary posts of SLFP, Bandara noted that he has not been informed of any such event and this could be a tall story spread. The committee has not taken any such decisions yet.


    Responding to a question about the No Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Bandara noted that the decision should be taken as a political party and the party has not taken any such official decision. It was the decision of the SLFP to appoint us as ministers.


    If the SLFP takes a decision to remove the current Prime Minister and appoint one from SLFP, we will support the party. But any such steps cannot be taken to satisfy the personal motives of any individual.


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