Thursday August 22, 2019

Sri Lanka govt. ready for polls, but not defeated in a finance bill: Ministers

Apr 07, 2015 22:31 PM GMT+0530 | 14 Comment(s)

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) - Sri Lanka's minority administration was ready to go to polls at any time, though the defeat of a motion to increase short term borrowings Tuesday did not require parliament to be dissolved, ministers said.

Sri Lanka's parliament denied a request by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake to raise a ceiling on the sale of short term domestic debt in a surprise move late Tuesday, with the motion being defeated with 52 against and 31 in favour in the 225-member legislature.

Opposition legislator Dinesh Gunewardene told reporters that the government was now effectively dissolved due to the defeat.

Karunanayake said it did not amount to a defeat of a finance bill, which in Sri Lanka leads to the fall of an administration, and in any case the government could still sell longer term debt as much as if wanted to meet cashflow needs and pay salaries. No new spending authority was asked by the motion to sell more Treasury bills.

He described the defeat as an underhand (kooter) move by opposition members loyal to ousted ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, rather than a show of strength by the defeated strongman  that had shaken the administration or at least embarrassed it.

"We are not concerned," Karunanayake said. "We are ready to dissolve parliament and go to polls at any time.

"But this was not a finance bill that was defeated. It was a regulation issued under an ordinance for which the leader of the opposition had already agreed not to call for a vote."

He said a group of opposition members had called for a vote, after many opposition and government members had left the chamber, and the defeat of the motion was simply a trick.

Karunanayake said the Prime Minister and he himself, was also not in the main chamber but was elsewhere in talks with a committee on economic affairs, when the call for a vote was made suddenly.

The administration could go for a second vote or even continue to pay salaries and other expenses through cash raised from domestic or international bond sales, he said.

Minister Lakshman Kiriella said Tuesday's event showed there was a split in the opposition Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

Karunanayake said the event showed that the Rajapasksa faction of the SLFP could only command 52 votes and the rest of the nearly 175 votes were with the administration, which would be sufficient to pass an amendment to the constitution, a key election promise.

Political analysts view Tuesday's events as a reflection of the tenuous hold the administration of Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremasinghe has over the parliament.

Wickremasinghe was called upon to form a government by Sirisena, who won an election backed by the United National Party with his own Sri Lanka Freedom Party still holding the majority of the seats.

"Sri Lanka's parliament does not reflect the mandate given at the Presidential election in January," a senior political analyst said.

"The parliament reflects the voting patterns in 2010, as a result you see this mismatch. An election is needed to resolve this one way or another."

The UNP is keen to go to polls as soon as possible, he said as it did not stand to gain from any delay.

Update II


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  1. Rubert Vanderkoon April 08, 12:13 PM

    What a bunch of jokers these mock economists in the government are! On Sunday, Nimal Siripala declared in public in a press conference that they would vote against this move. Now knowing that, these comics left the chamber before the vote. There is no 100 day programme, all the targets are either forgotten or ignored. All what the Ranil and his party are trying is to discredit previous regime to win their own government. All they want is an election after the 23 April. This is a stupid way to pave way to that target, the only milestone they want to achieve from the 100 day menu. What abunch of cowards!

  2. Wasana April 08, 12:20 PM

    Because a currupt opposition with Hora Rajapakse defeated a bill it does not mean to bring the Hora again to steal more....

  3. piyal April 08, 11:37 AM

    this gawapalanaya will destroy sri lanka and we knew it from the beggining.ltte will rise again and india has another state call sri lanka.god bless sri lanka and the people.

  4. sam April 08, 11:13 AM

    This is this first lesson for dummy government that support conspiracy of western governments and tamil Diaspora. Majority of Sri Lankan are Sinhalese & Buddhists. If any government go against their wishes and sideline with minorities , they will not survive longer. This government is facing same dilemma. Against MR, removing high security zones, against chinese projects, national anthem of two languages, allegation against heroic Gotabaya are few of the sins that can boomerang this government.

  5. loku tena April 08, 10:41 AM

    Its time Lankans accepted that the county's economy is in skid row. Abusing MR is not a solution to the problem. The economy has stalled and the senile mob has now doubled.

  6. Mohan W April 08, 10:28 AM

    These are a failed group of teoriticians without any experience in managing a ecconomy. Central bank fiasco showed their integrity as well. They promised the moon and sun and irresponsible over expenditure during last 80 days have got them and the country in to deep trouble.

  7. assupisela April 08, 10:29 AM

    Need experienced people to serve people. It is proven black and white you can not simply run a country.

  8. Eds April 08, 10:04 AM

    Political stability is a must for a country to progress on any front and a strong, astute leader is the key. Sadly, Sri Lanka has neither !

  9. Ra April 08, 08:38 AM

    so can apply previous Govt's loss of vote not a defeat for regime but the people who saw developments that not seen for years

  10. gnona April 08, 08:44 AM

    Will we go back to that black era, pls not, we have peace now.

  11. Rajiv de Silva April 08, 08:40 AM

    Sri Lankan voters are not foolish to bring that megalomaniac Rajapakse back to power. Just because a bill has been defeated in the Parliament there is no need to dissolve the government. It can be done at the appropriate time when the 100 day program is over.

    Opposition had acted in a tactless manner by defeating this bill with utter disregard to public welfare and the voters will take necessary action at the election against the corrupt politicians. Opposition should also remember that the tenure of the new president has only just commenced and it will go on for six more years, and by that time Rajapakse will be at the senile old age of 76 years.

  12. Kalu April 08, 07:56 AM

    In any event this regime will not be able to develop the country as it simply do not have the political strength and the funds required to develop the country(Unless they have funding and their backers are either bankrupt or simply no match for Chinese capabilities) The country is slowly awakening to the realities of their decision. Replacing a set of rogues with another who are weaker in terms of developing and managing the country is not the way forward. In the sub continent there are no clean politics and one could see this already inside 90 days!. Temporary alliances will bound to fail, even in the future. One need a strong brave leader with a solid majority to run the country.(Malaysia, Singapore,UAE was developed on these lines)

  13. Sumudu April 08, 07:58 AM

    Many people believed the false propaganda aimed at discrediting the former President. This government took us for a ride. Still they continue this tactic. The best example is the baseless lie of Rajith that China has reduced Rs 30 Bn. from Colombo Outer Highway. People like us waiting for the first opportunity to send this puppet government home. We don;t want a government which appleas India and LTTE elements

  14. Jayalath April 08, 07:33 AM

    This is the beginning of down fall ,this regime utterly base on the lies and bold debates . Which has been seen since been elected . We called it Kada Haliya even before the election and it precisely has been happening . I can call it Karma ,because this regime is established on the base of rallies of corruption allegations ,but up to today they have failed to prove the allegations and imprison any culprits except few keepers of elephants . So ,please get ready now to pay the price for conspiring to depose Rajapaksa . I strongly believe that people are kept quiet now but they could come down to the street until this ridiculous minor regime is gone home ,which can be burst any time if things go this way .

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