President lashes out at Speaker over his ‘conduct’
Posted on November 15th, 2018

Courtesy Ceylon Today

President Maithripala Sirisena reminded Speaker of the House, Karu Jayasuriya that on 9 January of 2015, he had appointed Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister on the request of the United National Party (UNP), the political party the Speaker represents, even though the UNP had only 41 seats in the House.

The President responded to the letter sent by the Speaker in relation to the Parliamentary matters on 14 November 2018 (reconvening of the House).

When appointing a Premier in accordance with the Constitution, the provision is that I shall appoint a Member of Parliament, who, in my opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of the Parliament and there is no requirement or Parliamentary tradition that the Prime Minister or the Government has to show the majority of the confidence of the Parliament,” he pointed out.

The President stated that the Speaker had ignored the Constitution, standing orders and Parliamentary conventions.

The President further stated that the Speaker’s ‘conduct’ when there is a Judicial process underway regarding the Parliament, is detrimental to the legal process concerning the case before the Court.

He said that the Gazettes referred to by the Speaker were issued by him in accordance with the powers vested in him by the Constitution.

The letter further stated: The procedure for submitting a No-Confidence Motion against the Government and the steps that have to be taken to adopt it are mentioned in the Constitution and the standing orders, but, you have acted in disregard of the Constitution, the Standing Orders and the Parliamentary conventions. Furthermore, your attempt to prove that the said motion was duly adopted by sending me a document with signatures that has not been certified by the Parliament is regrettable. The Parliament making attempts to define the Constitutional validity of the Gazette Notifications issued by me is tantamount to usurping the powers of the Supreme Court, which has been entrusted with the sole power to interpret the Constitution. Finally, I remind you regrettably that the Speaker, whichever the political party represented to enter Parliament, once appointed as Speaker has the responsibility to work independently to safeguard the dignity of the August House and the trust kept by the people in it. I completely reject your statement in Proposal Number One that the appointments made and orders issued by me are contradictory to the Constitution. I have taken those steps listed in Proposal Number One in accordance with the Constitution. The old date of the document that contained signatures of MPs’ sent by you has been erased and the date has been suffixed as 14 November. Moreover, I, with respect, inform you that the President has the absolute power to appoint a Prime Minister in accordance with the Constitution.”

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