‘King Charles I’ and the Speaker in 1642 Karu J. attempts to re-enact it
Posted on November 25th, 2018

K.K.S Perera Courtesy The Daily Mirror

  • Betrayed his voters, who demoted him to 4th place in preference for ‘Pabha’ in Gampaha Dist

  • MR and SLPP will attack previous government including Maithri in their campaign

  • What will the executive do if the highest Court would declare that his action is unconstitutional?

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, who was parachuted, didn’t make it the hard way; he took to politics only at fifty five when Ranil invited him to become the Chairman of the Grand old Party. He chaired the Parliament which was initially prorogued then dissolved before the SC intervened to suspend the Dissolution resulting in sittings for two days last week which had been marred with violence. The Speaker initially accepted President’s appointment of MR as PM and arranged seating in the House accordingly. A couple of days later he abruptly announced that he rejected the position and revert to Status quo; announced that there was no government or a PM or a Cabinet. Next he allowed a NCM Against the ‘non-existent PM and government’ making a mockery of Parliamentary practices; Standing Orders and all norms.
Karu, after several attempts to kick out his leader and when he failed, in spite of being appointed as the Deputy among the Greens, he led a 17-member senior UNPers to shift loyalties and ‘Make MR’s hands strong’ by accepting plum Ministerial posts. He betrayed his voters, who demoted him to 4th place in preference for ‘Pabha’ in Gampaha District. Can anybody compare such a pathetic, irresponsible man with great Speakers beginning from Molamure.

Back to 16th Century House of Commons

May it please your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose obedient servant I am here”, Said William Lenthall, Speaker of the House of Commons who fell on his knees before His Majesty, King Charles I on January 4, 1642, when he entered the House escorted by armed soldiers, and sat in the Speaker’s chair to seize five members.
Will stand up to executive no matter what it costs me -The Executive Branch has seized the rights and usurped the powers of Members of Parliament who were elected to represent the people….”— Karu J. Former Speaker, as reported by Daily Mirror of November 12, where he should have continued: …Members of Parliament who were elected to represent the people, but instead engaged in political horse-trading while the parties tried to grab power …” [Enormous amounts of foreign currency were being offered, not shockingly, for this has become a tradition for all parties. It was Karu J, who during that fiery Parliamentary election campaign in 2001 who said he would not depend on the weather gods for power for then we will not need a government. But he became Minister of Power who seemed to be so dreadfully in favour of the rain gods, that the CEB imposed 8 -10-hour power cuts. History will remember him as the person who wreaked the most damage on the UNP. Ranil, the ousted PM was charitable or silly enough to take him back and make him the deputy.
Parliament descended into a violent brawl. President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved parliament probably as he failed to secure the 113 to prove a majority in parliament. In spite of having boasted about the support of lawmakers, they couldn’t take the manoeuvre to a successful end. We are dealing with a Constitution which is stuffed with inconsistencies, discrepancies and ambiguities caused by immense tinkering it received since 1978 for a specific problem or task more of a political interest.

Oliver Cromwell 1599 – 1658

Oliver Cromwell, a statesman, soldier, and revolutionary overthrew the monarchy, turning England into a Republican Commonwealth, and assumed rule as Lord Protector of England. Subsequently King Charles was tried, convicted, and executed for treason in 1649. Charles was accused of treason by using his power to pursue his private interest rather than the good of the state. Cromwell was so angered by subsequent happenings that he emptied the chamber and dissolved the Parliament in April 1653 supported by his cronies. Cromwell thundered, you are no Parliament; I will put an end to your sitting”, then he snatched up the mace, symbol of power.
I shall go from a corruptible to an incorruptible Crown, where no disturbance can be.” Saying so Charles placed his head on the block said a prayer and signalled the executioner by stretching out his hand; to be beheaded with one stroke.

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) or Pohottuwa

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has obtained the membership of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna –Pohottuwa (SLPP), at his official residence, Wijerama Road, Colombo on Sunday. Something fishy in all these events; what is their ultimate motive? Now he cannot pledge allegiance to both SLFP and SLPP. MR waited for the parliament to be dissolved.Now president cannot hold upper hand. He may win but will he throw Sirisena who not once but twice betrayed MR– into political wilderness; I doubt MR would trust him ? Has MR played his trump card? Will there be more? MR and SLPP will attack previous government including Maithri in their campaign.

Violating all Parliamentary norms, Karu Jayasuriya allowed the opposition to suspend the Standing orders enabling a deviation from the accepted procedures to pass the motion. President Sirisena has at least diluted the critical uncertainty of his first operation of swapping Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with MR had immersed the nation into by going before the people for a verdict. Now others must comprehend the truth—that it’s the People’s Sovereignty, which is the main cornerstone of a parliamentary democracy. Some analysts think Sri Lanka has just been thrust into a worst crisis of democracy after Sirisena announced late Friday evening that he was dissolving the Parliament.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya was caught between two different, moral and legal worlds. The 19th Amendment took away in 2015 his rights as President to dissolve Parliament even if a government loses the budget; the vote on the statement of government policy, or no confidence motion against the PM since the introduction to Article 70 through the Amendment that made it impossible under any circumstances during the first four and a half years of its term. Accordingly, a succeeding government has to be formed only by the same Parliament and only the Cabinet can be dissolved paving the way for a new Cabinet.
Strong points of view have been offered against the dissolution saying the President has no power to do so before four and a half years into the term, as stipulated by the 19th Amendment.

“Karu, after several attempts to kick out his leader and when he failed, in spite of being appointed as the Deputy among the Greens, he led a 17-member senior UNPers to shift loyalties and ‘Make MR’s hands strong’ by accepting plum Ministerial posts”

Some of the fundamental conventions that made the parliamentary system worked under all previous Constitutions, 1948, 1972 and JR’s 1978 all upheld the tradition where it could be dissolved prematurely if necessary for elections to be held. All Constitution of 1948,1972 and 1978 had provisions for premature dissolution of Parliament if the state of affairs warrant it. Let us hope and pray for good sense to reign over political extremist and self-seekers.
Mangala Samaraweera, the sacked Finance Minister, who made it a practice to play with a non-existence ‘mila-suttra’ (Fuel pricing formula?) said, We will fight in the courts, we will fight in parliament and we will fight at the polls.”

The voter requires a rethink before they cast their vote to those who are obviously untrustworthy, unprincipled, politicians, [90% of them] as we have been doing for seven decades or so. A news item in last week’s Daily Mirror says Rs. 26 million has been paid to so-called People’s Representatives out of President’s Fund as medical expenses during the last three years; while the poorest of the poor can get only Rs. 100,000/-. Our unawareness, partisan allegiance or blind loyalties in popular figures is what they value. Good Governance never depends on laws, rules or commandments, but qualities of the men who govern. The method of choosing our leaders is the most significant element of governance.

The million dollar question is what will the executive do if the highest Court would declare that his action is unconstitutional? Further, if the SC holds it as constitutional, does it mean that President can dissolve an elected House at his whim and fancy— just even a day old Parliament? Need the views of legal luminary who are now clearly divided on the issue.

LG elections result expressed people’s dissatisfaction on major issues, corruption, the unprecedented Central Bank bond scam which occurred just 49 days after Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed with only 43 MPs on his side. The enormous losses incurred including that of ordinary poor workers EPF funds and billions lost on shady deals involved with massive road development projects, coal scam to mention a few. The current crisis needs to be looked at as a systemic crisis, as one of the panelists observed at a TV talk show a couple of days ago.

The people must agitate for a constitutional amendments to reduce the Parliamentary period to three years and numbers to 150, like in Australia, as our politicians are too dishonest and not adequately educated for the future of a nation to be entrusted for longer terms. A Constitution with contradictory provisions one empowering the Executive free will to dissolve Parliament and the other with restrictions to dissolve Parliament has created the current impasse. Will a general election conducted under the same tinkered constitution allowing the sovereign people to exercise their franchise can pave way out of this mess? Will they select the same Knife-brandishing, Miris kudu (chilli powder) throwing and the people rejected ones who entered through the back door to the hallowed precincts of Diyawanna back again? Whatever it is they have a right to demand a General Election on priority.

The unspoken rule of democracy: three stupid ones will always outvote two smart ones.”

– Ljupka Cvetanova

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