GL explains how PM was removed and why Parliament was prorogued
Posted on October 28th, 2018

Courtesy Adaderana

Chairman of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Professor G.L. Peiris says a legal problem does not exist with regard to the new government established in the country and that a fictional issue has been deliberately constructed” to mislead the  public.

He stated that there has been a great deal of discussion during the last 12 to 14 hours about the legality of the new government that has been established in this country.

Now there is no legal issue at all. This is an artificial creation which has no basis or foundation whatsoever,” he said, speaking at a Joint Opposition press briefing in Colombo today (27).

The former foreign minister said that the main consideration here is the period during which the Prime Minister can lawfully hold that office.

He said the governing provision in that regard is contained in Section 46 (2) of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution which reads as follows: The Prime Minister shall continue to hold office throughout the period during which the Cabinet of Ministers continues to function under the provisions of the Constitution.”

That is the Prime Minister can remain in office only so long as the Cabinet continues. When the Cabinet of Minister stands dissolved for any reason whatsoever, the Prime Minister automatically steps down, Prof. Peiris clarified. He (the PM) is compulsorily removed from that office.”

The former minister also explained as to what transpired yesterday and how the Cabinet of Ministers ceased to function last evening.

It did cease to function and when it ceased to function, with the Cabinet went the Prime Minister. That is a very simple sequence of events,” he emphasized.

He said that the way the Cabinet ceased to exist has to do with section 46 (1) of the 19th Amendment, which for the first time in this country lays down a compulsory maximum for the number of ministers who constitute the cabinet of ministers.

He pointed out that until the 19th Amendment was enacted there was no such limitation and that a government could have as many ministers as it liked. You can’t do that after the 19th Amendment came into operation.”

He said that in terms of Section 46 (1), the total number of Cabinet Ministers now permissible under the law is 30 and then when the deputy ministers and state ministers are added, the grand total cannot exceed 70.

That is a compulsory legal requirement. There is however an exception to that principle, a provisory which is contained in section 46 (4).” The affect of 45 (4) is that when the largest party in parliament enters into an alliance to govern the country together with other parties. Then in that special situation the maximum does not apply, he pointed out.

Professor Peiris said that yesterday an event of great legal significance occurred. That was the General Secretary of the UPFA Mahinda Amaraweera addressed a letter to the Speaker with a copy to the President Maithripala Sirisena declaring that as of last evening the UPFA is moving out of the unity government.

He states that the UNP and UPFA came together by means of a MoU, in terms of that which this coalition government was formed. Now one of the priorities is detaching itself from that coalition government, he said, adding that it was conveyed formally in writing by the proper authority, namely the General Secretary of the UPFA to the Speaker of Parliament.

Once that happened the limitation set out in the 19th Amendment immediately comes into play. That is the maximum limit becomes applicable. Can’t have more than 30 Cabinet Ministers. The cabinet that functioned until yesterday had many more than 30 Cabinet Ministers.”

Now that cabinet no longer existed. When that cabinet when out of office, together with it went the Prime Minister.  So you have to start on a clean slate,” he said.

Then the president has the authority to select the person who in his opinion commands the confidence of the majority of members of parliament, the SLPP chairman stressed.

Peiris also referred to section 14(f) of the Interpretation Ordinance which clearly provides that the authority which makes the appointment also has the legal power to rescind that appointment. That is the appointing authority is also the dismissing authority. In this case it is the president of the country.”

He said that finally the Parliament meets again on 16th of November and on that day it will become abundantly clear” that Mahinda Rajapaksa commands the confidence of an overwhelming majority of the members of the Sri Lankan Parliament.

Why the 16th of November? Because we have to go for a Vote on Account.” He stated that the earlier expectation was that a budget would be presented on November 5, but now they are going for a ‘Vote on Account’ which enables the state to obtain the resources  that are required to govern the country for a period of three months.

He stated that a Vote on Account has to be systematically prepared and it can’t be done in 3 or 4 days. Therefore a reasonable period is required to prepare and that it will be readied by 16th of November, he said.

Apart from that, as a result of what happened yesterday not only ministers but secretaries to ministries also go out of office.” Therefore secretaries have to be appointed afresh in order to ensure the continuity of the government, he said.

Apart from that other housekeeping arraignments, the seating arraignments in parliament will have to be attended to and that also will take a few days, Professor Peiris said.

This is why parliament has been prorogued. It will meet on 16th of November and on that day it will become crystal clear that Mahinda Rajapaksa commands the confidence of the vast majority of the members of the parliament.”

Therefore a legal problem does not exist. This is a fiction that has been deliberately constructed to mislead the public both here and aboard,” he charged.

3 Responses to “GL explains how PM was removed and why Parliament was prorogued”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    According to Article 41, the president can appoint any MP as PM. This was not changed by 19A. If UNP has a problem, go jump in the lake.

    As I mentioned earlier, although Sirisena seems not very smart, he is smarter than he looks. Many versions of 19A floated but what was presented to parliament and passed is what matters. The international community wanted all powers to the PM. But that was not how 19A was done. PM is till powerless and survives at the mercy of the president.

    Mahinda too should not think of going against Sirisena. UNP is readying a no confidence motion against Sirisena. Mahinda and crowd should not support it although it is opportunistic to do so.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    RANK INTERFERENCE in the internal matters of governance of a sovereign democracy by the USA!

    Does Sri Lanka have a RIGHT to interfere in how the US Congress is RUN? NO! SAME for Sri Lanka, I say!

    The USA should BUTT OUT of Sri Lanka’s INTERNAL MATTERS, and not try to PROTECT Ranil-Baba its PET PUPPET POODLE PM!

    …………………………
    U.S. calls on Sri Lankan President to immediately reconvene parliament

    Oct 29, Washington, DC: The United States today called on the Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to immediately reconvene the parliament in consultation with the Speaker so that people’s representatives can decide who has the majority to lead the government.

    Issuing a statement on Sunday, the U.S. said it continues to follow developments in Sri Lanka with concern and urged all sides to refrain from intimidation and violence.

    “We call on the President, in consultation with the Speaker, to immediately reconvene parliament and allow the democratically elected representatives of the Sri Lankan people to fulfill their responsibility to affirm who will lead their government,” the statement said.

    After appointing the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister in a startling move, the Sri Lankan President prorogued the parliament until 16 November without consulting the Speaker of the parliament.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    What STRUCK ME THE MOST in President Sirisena’s Address to the Nation on October, 28, 2018 was his ABJECT POWERLESSNESS to halt the depredations off his subordinate, the ERRANT DESHADROHI Prime Minister.

    This is a DIRECT CONSEQUENCE of the 19th Amendment that stripped the President of certain powers and gave them to the Prime Minster.

    Unlike his PREDECESSOR, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the AUTHORITY to DIRECTLY DISMISS THE PRIME MINSTER for WHATEVER REASON was unavailable to the President after the passing of the 19A. Instead, he had to resort to an INDIRECT, but ENTIRELY LEGAL & CONSTITUTIONAL STRATEGY, of getting the UPFA to first withdraw from the Unity Govt, thereby dissolving the Cabinet, when its leader the Prime Minister would automatically lose his post creating a VACANCY in the Prime Ministers post. At that point, President Sirisena was empowered by the Constitution to APPOINT a suitable MP, who IN HIS OPINION, has majority support in the Parliament.

    Whether the newly appointed PM, Mahinda Rajapaksa, commands majority support among the MPs in Parliaennt will have to be DEMONSTRATED BY HIM when the Parliament RECONVENES on November 16. If he does have that support, and I believe that he will have much more than a majority, even amounting to a 2/3 majority, he can CONTINUE as the Prime Minister.

    Nevertheless, we must PONDER what would happen in the HIGHLY UNLIKELY EVENT that Mahinda Rajapaksa FAILS to demonstrate MAJORITY support. What would happen then; what avenues are available to the President to PREVENT RAnil Wickramasinghe demonstrating MAJORITY support and RETURNING as the Prime Minister?

    Well, in that event President Sirisena can PROROGUE the Parliament for a longer period of 3 months or so, and CALL FOR NEW GENERAL ELECTIONS. Given the WIDESPREAD DIS-SATISFACTION of the people with the UNP/Yamapalanaya, the Mahinda Rajapaksa-Sirisena DUO can WIN an OVERWHELMING VICTORY and RETURN TO Parliament MUCH MORE POWERFUL than otherwise.

    THIS ENTIRE FIASCO IN NATIONAL MIS-GOVERNANCE highlights the following:

    1. The country CANNOT AFFORD to have a WEAK EXECUTIVE PRESIDENCY. Other nations like the USA, France, and Russia have STRONG EXECUTIVE PRESIDENCIES for PRECISELY that REASON.

    2. The country MUST NOT DIVIDE EXECUTIVE POWERS between the PRESIDENT and the PRIME MINISTER. The PRESIDENT is ELECTED by ALL voting citizens of the country, whereas the PRIME MINISTER is elected by a small electroral region. The PRIME MINISTER’s position is SUBJECT to political blackmail by various, often CORRUPT, political segments in Parliament, and he CANNOT govern in the NATIONAL INTEREST.

    3. We MUST REPEAL the 19A (and NEVER PASS the 20A), STRENGTHEN the EXECUTIVE PRESIDENCY MUCH MORE, ELIMINATE the PRIME MINISTER’s POSITION allowing an independent SPEAKER to moderate the activities of the HOUSE of COMMONS.

    4. In view of the ANTI-NATIONAL BEHAVIOR of Vigneswaran and his moves to RESURRECT EELAM, we MUST REPAL the 13A, and DISSOLVE the Provincial Councils, ELIMINATING ann UNNECESSARY tax-supported bureaucratic burden on the people. ELECTION of MPs to the National Parliament is FRANCHISE ENOUGH for law-abiding patriotic citizens.

    5. The system of REGIONAL ADMINISTRATION should be through DISTRICTS governed by a DISTRICT GOVERNOR APPOINTED by the National Government. District Administrations should NOT BE ELECTED to PREVENT SEPARATISM from raising its head.

    6. In addition to election of MPs to the National Parliament on a population basis, more REGIONAL REPRESENTATION can be accommodated by CREATING A SENATE composed of TWO SENATORS per DISTRICT. While Bills should originate in the House of COMMONS, the SENATE (and the PRESIDENT) will have the power to VETO BILLS.

    In the light of the NATIONAL DISASTER we have experienced in the LAST 3 YEARS as a people through the Yamapalana Tinkering with the Constitution, LET US FIRMLY RESOLVE to CREATE a STRONG NATIONAL GOVERNMENT with a STRONG POWERFUL PRESIDENCY in CHARGE of an EFFECTIVE CABINET.

    Let us FIRMLY LIMIT the number of CABINET MEMBERS to 30, PERIOD. No NIYOJAYA and STATE MINISTERS should be ALLOWED in the interest of STREAMLINING the bureaucracy and enabling an EFFECTIVE yet LOW-COST system of GOVERNANCE!

    What was ATTEMPTED by Ranil-Baba and his 40-Thieves in the last 3 1/2 years is NOTHING SHORT OF CONSTITUTIONAL COUP-DE_ETAT by STEALTH in FAVOR of HIS SOCIAL CLASS and his SEPARATIST MINORITY allies.

    We MUST FIRMLY RESOLVE to MAKE A REPETITION of such a COUP-DE-ETAT by STEALTH IMPOSSIBLE in the FUTURE!

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