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“Opposition demand to reconvene Parliament to serve narrow political interests” – President

FILE PHOTO – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

ECONOMYNEXT – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has rejected the proposal by most political parties present in the recently dissolved Parliament to reconvene the House so that the country can avoid a Constitutional crisis saying the demand has been prompted by narrow political interests.

“It observed that the parties to the statement do not wish the General Elections to be held,” the letter addressed to the former Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa and signed by the President’s Secretary D B Jayasundera said.

The letter was released to the public by the President’s Media Division.

It went on to say that at a time when the entire country, the government machinery, the Health Services and the Armed Forces were working hard with great sacrifice to deal with the COVID 19 threat “it is clear these parties are motivated by narrow political interests.”

“Parliament can be dissolved at the end of the five-year term or when the President can do so and accordingly, the President has dissolved the House on March 2, 2020.”

“All parties who are signatories to your letter have accepted the dissolution and that has confirmed this action.”

Jayasundera said that he has been instructed that the “dissolved Parliament cannot be recalled, the election was scheduled for April 25, and has been subsequently postponed by the National Elections Commission for June 20.”

He also said that the conditions to invoke Section 70 (7) of the Constitution under special circumstances to reconvene Parliament “have not arisen.”

The opposition political parties in their letter and statements made yesterday pointed out that the dissolved Parliament passed Vote on Account allowing the President to mobilise funds to run the government until April 30, which was yesterday.

As that deadline has passed, the President does not now have the legal authority to mobilize government funding unless the Parliament is recalled and a fresh vote releasing Public Funds is passed they said.

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The former Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella told reporters yesterday that “public officers drawing and utilizing these funds can be liable after April 30.” (Colombo, May 01, 2020)