YAHAPALANA AS A PUPPET REGIME Part 2
Posted on November 17th, 2018

KAMALIKA PIERIS

17.11.18   revised 19.11.18

The Yahapalana government of 2015 has been described as a puppet   government, dancing to the tune of America. USA has come into Sri Lanka very late, but it has been interested in Sri Lanka for a long time.  USA was the natural successor to Britain, when Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948. USA was the world’s leading nation after World War II ended. (1939-1945). But Sri Lanka continued its link with Britain. Our legal appeals went to the Privy Council in London.

USA however established a quiet presence in Sri Lanka. In the 1950s there was the magazine ‘Free World’ and the United States Information Centre. Althea Gibson, Martha Graham and Duke Wellington visited. .Sri Lanka‘s strategic location in the Indian Ocean was important to USA and US would have hoped to gain control of the island someday.

The first three Prime Ministers, D.S, Dudley and Sir John were not a threat to  the west, but   SWRD Bandaranaike, with his tilt to China and Russia  was seen as a threat . SWRD was    promptly assassinated. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, also very independent minded, was    to be assassinated as part of a coup. She survived. The JVP was started in her time.

Things improved for USA when J. R. Jaywardene (‘Yankee Dickie’) became the next Prime Minister. He turned to the USA. He allowed the Voice of America to beam out from Sri Lanka and was planning to let USA bring its 7th Fleet into Trincomalee.   America’s aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, accompanied by other ships of the 7th fleet came to Colombo.

JR  introduced the Open Economy. ‘The level of corruption in this country now will be unlike anything we have seen before’ commented Ralph Pieris.  Open Economy  brought in  foreign  companies. They  set up their factories on prime agricultural land. Open economy also brought in foreign goods, which killed our fledgling SMEs. Inexpensive local pasta vanished, replaced by expensive, not so good foreign pasta which took just as long to cook.

With the emergence of Open Economy policy and foreign policy of the 1977  government, various forms of foreign interference including various meddlesome NGOs started emerging, said S. Akurugoda . Foreign interference in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka was minimal prior to 1977. After 1977  there was interference from the foreign diplomatic corps based in Colombo notably US, France, Germany and Britain, ‘as never seen before’, he said.

JR introduced Presidential rule to Sri Lanka. In 1978, he became Sri Lanka first Executive President, holding enormous powers, sans checks and balances. These powers were hidden all over the 1978 Constitution. The stage was set for dictatorial rule. The stage was also set for puppet rule.

Sri Lanka’s strategic geopolitical position acquired a new importance with the rise of China. Sri Lanka is in a ‘super position’ though it is not a ‘super power’, observed analysts. Sri Lanka   could not be ignored nor could it be antagonized.

USA therefore decided to create a pliable Sri Lanka, with an accommodating government, set in place by regime change. USA has been doing this for years in other countries said analysts. The US routinely uses complaints of corruption and bad government, to bring about ‘regime change’.  USA is now building partnerships where the other country provides the manpower and the money. USA no longer has the strength to wage wars by itself, simultaneously, all over the world.

The motivating force behind the US  foreign policy is not  the America we see,  said analysts,  There is an invisible force,  recently dubbed the ‘Deep state’, consisting  of a small group of   super rich persons,  most of them Jewish, who  control the elite banks and  businesses of the world, and  therefore also need to control   the world economy. Politics is just one part of this game. This ‘Deep state’ came briefly  into public view in the USA when Kennedy was assassinated in the 1960s.

Political power in Sri Lanka moved from UNP hands to SLFP hands in the last decade of the 20th century .President Chandrika Kumaratunga was not a problem for USA but Mahinda Rajapaksa who became President in 2005 was seen as an obstacle to US plans.  Rajapaksa was a strong leader who can elevate the nation to greater heights as seen with the progress in just four years amidst a war, observed Manisha Fernando. It is during Rajapaksa’s time that oil exploration was started. The emergence of a strong political leader with links to nations such as China and Russia, Cuba and Libya was not to the liking of the west, she said.  Further Rajapaksa was not prepared to listen to America and do as America said. He had to go.

The role played by the US embassy, since 2009, to bring Rajapaksa rule to an end is now in the public domain, especially after Wikileaks. The first US managed project in Sri Lanka was to stop Mahinda Rajapaksa from securing a second presidential term, at the 2010 January polls, said analysts.

US put forward Sarath Fonseka as the rival candidate for the 2010 election. USA put together a coalition to support him. Thanks to Wiki Leaks, the entire world knows how US brought pressure on the Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi-led Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to throw its weight behind General Fonseka.  But even before Wikileaks, US involvement was known. In 2010, Sunday Observer ran a headline, ‘west behind moves to regime change’. ‘There are individuals working as puppets to western big powers’ added the media.

This US plan failed. Fonseka   lost, Rajapaksa won. Fonseka lost because many Sri Lankans saw Fonseka as a tool of the US government and western interests, said one critic.  They feared that if Fonseka came, there will be external interference in Sri Lanka on an unprecedented scale.  We see a clear alignment of political forces here. Those who work for foreign masters are with Fonseka, while forces concerned about the long term interest of Sri Lanka re rallying solidly behind Rajapaksa, said the media.

The US plan failed in 2010 but an almost identical project succeeded in January 2015,  when Maitripala Sirisena, the ‘common candidate’, defeated Rajapaksa. The role of the US in the regime change of 2015 is now well known, Thanks to Wiki Leaks, confidential US diplomatic cables that dealt with US efforts to form a political grouping capable of defeating Rajapaksa, is in the public domain. The US played a critically important role in forming the coalition under the ‘swan’ symbol. However, US had to withdraw a project called ‘Election Support through Voter Education’, using local NGOs after the Sri Lanka government objected.

Opinion polls conducted in the five weeks prior to the election showed an overwhelming 80% of the electorate recognized the 2009   war victory and the peace it brought as a major benefit and gave the credit to Rajapaksa. About 36% of the voters also gave Rajapaksa credit for the mega development projects.

The USA also succeeded in getting the ‘minorities’ to vote for Sirisena. The north and east voted for Fonseka and then Sirisena. Sirisena won on the minority vote. The US also put pressure on the SLMC to join a coalition, comprising the UNP, JVP, and TNA.  The Sinhalese are now   resentful of the power that the minority communities have displayed over the destiny of the Island, said Chandraprema.

Sirisena won the presidential election mainly on   Tamil and Muslim votes. The Prime Minister’s media division reported that though Sirisena got about 80% of the vote from the north and east, a survey had shown that 33% of the people there had not even heard of Sirisena before.

Sirisena   won only 6 of 16 major districts apart from North, East and Nuwara Eliya districts.  Gampaha was won only by a whisker. Puttalam win was only due to the Muslim vote there.  Sirisena got around 75% of the Tamil and Muslims votes and about 65% of the Christian votes.  Sirisena polled around 65 to 80% of the vote in the large urban centers of Colombo.

Sirisena was not a popular choice. After the election the SLFP discovered ‘the deep visceral dislike that the SLFP voters at the village level had for Sirisena.’ Sirisena came from a family of successful rice millers in Polonnaruwa. His brother Dudley Sirisena established the Araliya group of companies   in 1969.  It first sold Araliya rice then expanded into real estate, tourism, automobile, construction, and engineering. The Sudu Araliya hotel, in Polonnaruwa, where I once stayed and a new five star hotel in Nuwara Eliya are his.

Initially President Sirisena was happy to belong to Yahapalana. When the 1st anniversary of the Yahapalana government was celebrated at Matara on 19.8.16. TV camera showed President Sirisena turning round after his speech   and seeking the approval of Mangala Samaraweera and Ranil Wickremasinghe.

However, Yahapalana was not popular even at the start. At the 65th anniversary of the SLFP, in 2016 the audience sat with long faces. As soon as President Sirisena finished speaking, within minutes the audience had got up and left. This could be contrasted with the enthusiastic crows seen standing at Mahinda Rajapaksa gatherings and the Pada yathra.

USA needed a political party that would readily perform the functions of a puppet government. The most suitable party was the UNP, under the present leadership.  JR had turned the UNP firmly towards USA.   Its potential leaders, Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake, who could not be easily manipulated, were assassinated. President Premadasa was also assassinated. Ranil Wickremasinghe became Prime Minister in 1993 and head of the UNP in 1994.

If not for the violent deaths of Lalith Athulathmudali, Gamini Dissanayake and Ranasinghe Premadasa, it is most unlikely that Wickremesinghe would have become the leader of the UNP and, consequently, the Prime Minister, said analysts.  But Ranil Wickremasinghe has admirers. ‘Cassandra’ commented on the poise, calm and stature projected by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. He sits there calm and unruffled both in appearance and stance, cried. Cassandra .

The UNP was never a majority party in Sri Lanka. Therefore the puppet government needed a second party as back up. This was already in place. Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna emerged as an important component of the puppet government. JVP is a CIA venture set up in the 1970s during Sirimavo Bandaranaike government. It unleashed two armed uprisings against the ruling governments in 1971 and 1987. Because it killed twice, it is unlikely to emerge as a ruling party. Its role is to collect disgruntled votes that may otherwise go to the opposition.

The JVP had been deeply involved in the both the 2010 and 2015 regime change projects sponsored by the US. Today it is associated with the UNP and is referred to as Rathu Ali . Even though the JVP masquerades as an opposition party, they are an integral part of the Yahapalana collective, observed analysts. JVP mounts attacks on the government with the approval of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.  In the first days of the Yahapalana government, JVP cadres took over the functions of the police and raided various government and private premises searching for evidence of wrongdoing by the previous government.

JVP has fully cooperated in every anti-democratic measure taken by the Yahapalana government. It was the JVP that provided the two thirds majority that the government needed to change the electoral system and avoid holding the Provincial Council elections. The JVP leader was a member of the Committee of ministers, politicians and NGO activists formed to oversee the work of the FCID. The Urgent Response Unit of the Anti-Corruption Committee was placed under the personal supervision of JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake.

Anura Kumara Dissanayake spoke at a function I attended in 2018. He said that Sri Lanka was poor and insignificant. We have no important resources, only a few minerals and graphite, but no gas or petroleum.  This was intended to create low self esteem.

The puppet government also has the support of the Tamil parties. While masquerading as opposition political parties, the JVP and the TNA have supported every anti-democratic action taken by Yahapalana government in the past three years, said Mahinda Rajapaksa   The TNA and the JVP were included in the all-powerful National Executive Council which functioned over and above the Cabinet. When an Anti-Corruption Committee was formed under the leadership of the Prime Minister for the purpose of persecuting and jailing members of the previous government, the JVP and TNA were once again given prominent roles.

The SLFP remained a strong opponent of puppet rule, so President Sirisena was instructed to kill off the SLFP or neutralize it in some way. He did so by taking the SLFP MPs into the UNP and turning them into ‘Nil Ali’ to the utter contempt of the SLFP voters. They hooted at the party headquarters. There was also the ugly spectacle of two SLFP Presidents, Maitripala Sirisena, (present President) and Chandrika Kumaratunge, (past President), sneering and criticizing a third SLFP President, Mahinda Rajapaksa

What the west did not anticipate was that the public would demand a fresh party, brand new. The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna was born due to this demand.  Usually political parties are formed by interested persons who need a political party to climb to power.  In the case of the Pohottuwa, it was the other way round. The electorate demanded a new party, and the politicians had to oblige. They wanted Mahinda Rajapaksa to lead it. But   there was a  warning.

When Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Kirivehera in kataragama after becoming Prime Minister,  the sangha told him ‘don’t make the mistakes that you made last time.’

Pohottuwa created world history when it became the first political party in a mature democracy with a well-established two party system to dislodge the two established political parties to become the largest political party. Pohottuwa attracted the full spectrum of Sri Lanka voters, rich and poor, town and village, English speaking and Sinhala speaking, westernized and non-westernized, without any encouragement at all. How it performs in the future remains to be seen, but one thing is sure. This Pohottuwa will eventually kill off the SLFP. That may be a good thing.

The SLFP always had problems of image. Its leadership was radala, (SWRD, Sirimavo and Chandrika), but its membership was not. SLFPers were never quite sure what they were. They were not communist, they were not socialist, they were not capitalist, so what were they? They will be happy to leave the SLFP, but Pohottuwa must deliver.

Yahapalana Phase One came to an end in a spectacular manner. In October 2018, President Sirisena removed Ranil Wickremasinghe from the office of Prime Minister and installed Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister. Ranil Wickremasinghe refused to go. He installed himself in Temple Trees and issued statements from there.

President Sirisena then made a statement to the country. In this statement the President openly admitted that he had allowed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe to usurp the power of the President. You have acquired my powers to do what you did.  I silently gave you that power in gratitude as you took leadership to bring me to power.”

Sirisena said he was getting rid of Ranil Wickremasinghe because   Ranil was exceeding his limits. Ranil was running the country, arrogantly, the way he wanted.  He ignored collective decisions, and made individual decisions. Ranil was ruining the country, Sirisena said and gave a long list of what Ranil had done wrong.

Wickremesinghe and his group of close friends, described as a ‘samanala group’ conducted themselves as if shaping the future of the country was a fun game they played, said Sirisena.  The committee set up by Ranil Wickremesinghe to manage the economy was totally fraudulent. The decisions made by that committee were fraudulent. It was a major challenge to abolish it, continued Sirisena. As an alternative to that committee, I established the National Economic Council. Wickremesinghe took steps to prevent the Commission from functioning. The monthly payment to its head was stopped by Ranil.

Sirisena referred to the Land Ordinance Special Act , which was presented to the Cabinet  in September 2018.  If this was passed by the Cabinet and then by Parliament, all the land in Sri Lanka could be bought outright by foreigners.

When I decided to visit the Central Bank and meet the staff of the Bank, Ranil Wickremasinghe suddenly came to my residence and asked me, The Central Bank belongs to me, why do you want to go there  continued Sirisena.

The UNP had strongly objected to the commission to investigate the Central Bank bond issue. ‘They asked why I appointed this Commission. The IGP did not hand the investigation to the Criminal Investigations Department. ‘In this plot, there is a wide range of information which has not been disclosed to the public.’

The Commission on Bribery or Corruption and Attorney-General’s Department recommended  amendments to the Bribery Act,  to speed up the bond scam inquiry. We  drafted the amendments to the Act at the Presidential Secretariat and sent to Parliament, but Parliament has  postponed the approval of the Amendments Act indefinitely  concluded Sirisena.

An important feature in the Yahapalana puppet movement is the appearance of the Maha Sangha as an opposing force. The Yahapalana puppet government has a  formidable  opponent in the Maha sangha. I have never seen the Maha sangha so angry ever before.  The Bhikshu Peramuna of 1956 was merely forceful,  not angry. This time the sangha are very, very  angry. They repeatedly  called   media conferences, where  they ‘gave it tight’  to Yahapalana .

The Maha Sangha,  it must be pointed out,  are  citizens of Sri Lanka , with all rights and privileges  enjoyed by citizens. They can vote at elections, speak at meetings  and have the right  to study and  comment on political issues. The argument that the Maha sangha should only deal with Buddhist matters and keep quiet about everything else cannot be accepted. That argument has been concocted to silence the sangha.

When the UNP went in delegation to Asgiri and Malvatu, they were listened to by a panel of monks, not  the Mahanayake alone. Television news showed the monks trooping in. A group of nine  monks held a press conference at SLFI, Colombo on November 3. 2018.  This came on television news.

At this press conference,  Ven. Kadawara Gnanaratana said , ‘We support Mahinda Rajapaksa. He is rejected only by USA and European countries. The public   also support Mahinda Rajapaksa.   The Mahanaykes and sangha  also support him’. Ven. Kotapola Amarakeerthi said that Ranil was picking up from where the   Portuguese and British had left off. Ven Hegoda Vipassi said ‘they are all the time talking of new Constitution, new Constitution . We say if  necessary bring in amendments. This constitution is to  create a federal state.  President appointing Mahinda Rajapaksa was a timely, brave decision. Ven. Devalagama Dhammaratana,  sangha nayake of Hambantota said  Hambantota lands were to be taken over, they had already measured them.. About 100 temples and their lands were included in this takeover.

Television news regularly carried  interviews  with the sangha. Here is a selection of utterances..’The public do not want Yahapalana, Licchavi, Wifi or Laptop.  They want food’, said Ven Nitiyawela Palitha of the Sri Lanka Maha Bodhi Sangamaya, bluntly.

The 2015 election was the result of a conspiracy, said Ven. Medagoda Abhayatissa. Foreign countries were interfering with Sri Lanka said Elle Gunawansa and Elle Medhananda. Western countries have penetrated  deeply into our government, they control the  Speaker and  Ranil. They have brought in money and given bribes to MPs, said Elle Gunawansa.

The government is unpopular,   nava rajayak bihiwewa, said Ven Kirimbaruwe Gunananda. ‘.  We  need a person who can save the country. We must support Mahinda Rajapaksa’, said Ven Kumbalwela  Upatissa . Ven Kollupitiye Mahinda of Kelaniya temple, made a long speech which was  televised. He said our culture and our nations is  under siege. He had voted for Yahapalana at the last election and regretted it. He now   supports Mahinda Rajapaksa .

Ven. Bellanwila Dharmaratana criticized Ranil Wickremasinghe by name, saying he had promised ten things to the TNA. Medagama Dhammananda  and Medagoda Abhayatissa  criticized the JVP. The real image of the JVP  has now emerged they said. JVP had said that it was only after a society had completely rotted that socialism could come in. All that will be left then will be the worms, the  monk remarked, contemptuously. Yahapalana wants to reduce this country to dust,  they added.

The monks spoke very disparagingly of the NGOs, calling them ‘NGO karayo’ .Ven. Vendaruwe Upali said ‘now it is NGO’s voice that is important, not ours. Also  the voices of India, America, and UN HRC. This is very dangerous’.

Jathika Niyojitha Maha Sangha Samuluva spoke out against  the 20th amendment, saying that it was a device to create a federal state not abolish the presidency. Tri nikaya Maha Sangaratane had issued a 16 point statement against it.

Ven. Athureliye  Ratana said  the assassination plot should  not be dismissed.  It should be taken note of.  He also said ‘this government is far more corrupt than the previous government.’  Elle Gunawansa said at a  Yuthukama meeting, ‘this is the last chance to save the country, use your vote wisely.’

The Yahapalana puppet government has come as a rude shock to a complacent Sri Lanka . It has been a wakeup call. There is now  a  call for a  ‘strong leader’. Until now Sri Lanka  never wanted a strong leader, they wanted a leader they could push around.

The Anunayake of Asgiriya Chapter Ven. Wendaruwe Upali  said that a Hitler type of person was needed in Sri Lanka today. Susirith Mendis pointed out that the Anunayake was not talking of Nazi Germany and  Auschwitz. He was voicing the public demand for a strong effective leader to  save Sri Lanka  and Buddhism.  ‘Rata godaganna ekadipathi palanayak ona’, said a critic. ‘ Pavula godanagana palanayak neve, rata godanagana palanayak’. (Derana news 24.10.18)  Ella Gunawansa  advised, ‘next time, use your brain and  vote not for party but for a person who can get us out of this mess. This is our last chance.

This unpopular puppet government is  scared of elections. Yahapalana delayed the  local government elections,  postponed the Provincial Council Election and now are trying to  stop a general election Several Yahapalana MP have gone to Supreme Court on a Fundamental Rights application  to stop  Parliament being dissolved and a general election called. However, the country wants a general election. They want this puppet government out.

Prof. S.Ratnajeevan H. Hoole,  a member of the Election commission   filed a Fundamental Rights petition seeking an Interim Order restraining the Elections Commission from proceeding to take any steps to conduct the Parliamentary election upon the virtue of the proclamation issued by President. He believes that the order to conduct elections is illegal and therefore the Commission should not proceed with conducting the Parliamentary Election. it was observed that Hoole, a member of the Election Commission  was actually objecting to the holding of  an election.

Opinions were expressed after the performance in Parliament  on  15.11.18 and 16.11.18, when the Speaker arrived escorted by police, with Ranil Wickremasinghe arriving just before, like a Peramuna rala, to get a vote of no confidence against Mahinda Rajapaksa passed.

S Akurugoda  said the entire Sri Lankan community is aware of what has happened in the parliament on that day. The country’s President had no other alternative but to reject the so-called ‘No Confidence Motion’ which was said to have been passed by the Parliament, since the entire act of the Speaker was against the normal parliamentary procedures when taking up such issues.

Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharadhipathi Ven. Prof. Kollupitiye Mahinda blamed the Speaker for what happened. Ven. Yatamalagala Sumanasara Thera, the Executive Director of Daham Handa Centre, Pattivila,  said it was necessary to carefully study the reasons behind the current situation in Parliament.  The only  solution is to call for a General Election. There is no other solution,” he said.

But Yahapalana is not prepared to go that easily. They hope that outsiders will come in and protect them. Global Tamil Forum (GTF)wanted the international community to come in. CAFFE  said the intervention of a third party is needed to solve the conflict in Parliament there could be bloodshed and the loss of life if a third party does not intervene and help resolve the conflict between the top politicians in Parliament. The third party was not named.

Akurugoda pointed out that Foreign diplomats in Colombo, notably US held secret visits to discuss ‘undisclosed’ matters concerning the internal affairs of Sri Lanka.   These countries didn’t utter a single word against the undemocratic, unconstitutional and mega level corruption issues which took place under the  Yahapalana government they installed, but started to complain soon after the removal of Ranil Wickremasinghe, said Akurugoda.

The ethnic basis on which the puppet government rests was made clear. Leader of All Ceylon Makkal Congress, Rishad Bathiudeen hailed Speaker Karu Jayasuriya for his courageous stand against anti-democratic forces.  Global Tamil Forum  accused President Sirisena of illegal transfer of power from a sitting Prime Minister, proroguing the Parliament without consulting the Speaker and dissolving Parliament without any legitimate explanation. Sri Lanka has been a quasi-democracy where the Tamils were oppressed.

Global Tamil Forum said  A broad spectrum of small but significant political parties representing different community interests and political philosophies – such as the Tamil National Alliance, Tamil Progressive Alliance, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, All Ceylon Makalu Congress, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and Jathika Hela Urumaya could collectively promote constitutional democracy’

Postscript.

Some argue that Sri Lanka is now in an utter state of chaos. Parliament has become rowdy, administration is at a standstill, and businesses are moving out. All because President Sirisena acted wrongly in removing Ranil Wickremasinghe from the post of Prime Minister. That is not so.

President Sirisena has given his reasons for removing Ranil Wickremasinghe and has now stated firmly that he will not reappoint him. This was of course obvious to everybody except those who were relying on Ranil Wickremasinghe to gain their objectives. TNA’s Sampanthan had pleaded with Sirisena, ‘please don’t do that Sir,’ and UNP MPs said ‘give Ranil Wickremasinghe another chance.’ (Sunday Times 18.11.18 p 15).

President Sirisena has made a smooth transfer of power   in accordance with the Constitution .He removed one Prime Minister and cabinet and substituted another Prime Minister and cabinet ensuring that there was no break in government. Ranil Wickremasinghe as the sitting  Prime Minister had an obligation to go to Supreme Court  to contest the matter, if the appointment was illegal, He did not do so.

President Sirisena then dissolved Parliament and called for elections. The date for the next general election was announced. President Sirisena‘s action were welcomed by the public but not by the USA supported puppet government. Yahapalana went to courts to stop the dissolution of Parliament. The present uncertain situation is a direct result of this. Yahapalana alone is responsible. Supreme Court has given a ‘stay order’. That does not mean that Parliament carries on as usual. Parliament is frozen.

It is argued that President Sirisena’s actions were unconstitutional because he has violated the 19th amendment.”   There is no 19th amendment today.  The 19th amendment clauses are now a part of the Constitution of Sri Lanka and they have to be read along with the other clauses.   While clause 70/1   (19th amendment) says President cannot dissolve parliament for 4 ½ years, clause 33/2 says he can. Clause 33/2 says In addition to the powers, duties and functions expressly conferred or imposed on, or assigned to the President by the Constitution or other written law, the President shall have the power to summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament”. (33/2 and 33/2/e)

Something else is under attack here, the inalienable rights of the citizens of Sri Lanka. Clause 3 states In the Republic of Sri Lanka sovereignty is in the People and is inalienable. Sovereignty includes the powers of government, fundamental rights and the franchise.” Clause 3/4/e then elaborates, The franchise shall be exercisable at the election of the members of Parliament”. Clause   70/1 is a violation of this primary clause, which is also a guiding principle of the Constitution. I do not think any other constitution in the world has a crippling clause such as 70/1.

There has been a smooth, (if sudden) transfer of government power. Section 42/4 says ‘The President shall appoint as Prime Minister the Member of Parliament, who, in the President’s opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament.’

The present argument that the majority of the MPs in Parliament are against Mahinda Rajapaksa is a weak argument and everybody knows it. The anti-Mahinda Rajapaksa ‘majority’ vote does not come from a formal Parliamentary coalition. The ‘majority’ comes from MPs, representing separatist movements. These MPs have expressly come to Parliament   to divide up the country. It is nonsense to argue that they are a part of ‘the confidence of Parliament’.   (Continued)

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