By November 19, 20180 CommentsReport

President Sirisena has gone on record as saying that some MPs were paid huge sums of money, ranging from Rs. 100 mn to Rs. 500 mn. Why dint he take action against the culprits?

President Sirisena has gone on record as saying that some MPs were paid huge sums of money, ranging from Rs. 100 mn to Rs. 500 mn. Why dint he take action against the culprits? Is it because the bribe was done by his friend Mahinda group?

UNP MP had gone on record that he was offered bribe and he has got records to prove it.

More questions than answers – Monday 19th November, 2018

 No party could muster a working majority in the House on its own at the 2015 general election; the UNP had 107 seats including one MP, who contested on the SLMC ticket, the UPFA 95, the TNA 16, the JVP 06 and the EPDP 01. Neither the UNP nor the UPFA can secure 113 seats without resorting to horse trading and bribery to engineer defections. President Maithripala Sirisena has gone on record as saying that some MPs were paid huge sums of money, ranging from Rs. 100 mn to Rs. 500 mn, following the ouster of the UNP-led government last month.

Thus, it may be seen that the people have not given any party a clear mandate to rule the country. Worse, the candidates they rejected have been brought to Parliament through the National List by almost all parties. There is no irrefutable proof that the pact, which was signed between the UPFA and the UNP in August 2015, to form a national government for a period of two years, was renewed in August 2017. Questions raised on this issue have gone unanswered. Therefore, the legitimacy of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government between August 2017 and 26 Oct. 2018, was in doubt. The 26 Oct. government change also undermined the popular verdict at 2015 general election, where the UPFA polled less than the UNP.

There is no way of gauging public opinion on the manipulation of the composition of Parliament against the will of the people.

Pressure is mounting on President Sirisena to hold a referendum and ask the people whether they think a fresh parliamentary election is necessary to resolve the crisis in Parliament. The President has not responded to that call. Maybe, he is waiting for the Supreme Court verdict on the dissolution of Parliament to decide on a future course of action.

A referendum is not only costly but also comes with negative externalises which take a heavy toll on the society, which is already polarised. The 1982 referendum, marred by violence and large scale rigging, is a case in point. However, the President is constitutionally empowered to hold referendum on matters of national importance.

The President, the UNP and its allies claimed last Thursday that they had agreed to work towards breaking the gridlock in the legislature. The UPFA-JO combine lacks a working majority in the House. Its opponents have among them 122 seats and there is the likelihood of the number increasing with some more crossovers from the government ranks. But the question is whether they could form a government according to the specifications given by President Sirisena, who will not appoint UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Prime Minister, again.

Not to be outdone, ousted PM Wickremesinghe declared at Thursday’s UNP rally in Colombo that his party would agree to a snap general election provided a presidential election was conducted simultaneously. He has laid down a condition which the President cannot meet and vice versa.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya insists that the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was backed by 122 MPs including six JVP members. The JVP has told this newspaper it will not help either Mahinda Rajapaksa or anyone from the UNP form a government. It calls for the formation of a caretaker government and a free and fair general election so that the people will be able to elect a government of their choice. The million dollar question is what will happen if the next Parliament also happens to be as hung as the present one.

The two-million-dollar question, as it were, is whether the six JVP MP are willing to back anyone other than Mahinda from the UPFA so that he can head the proposed interim government. Let the JVP be urged to make its position clear on this.


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