Ousted Sri Lanka PM’s right to remain an MP challenged

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s controversially ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s ability to remain a member of parliament was challenged in the Court of Appeal by the Sirisena-Rajapaksa alliance Tuesday.

A member of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peremuna (SLPP) filed the challenge on the basis that Wickremesinghe held 1.33 percent of equity in Lake House Printers, a publicly listed company, in violation of the constitution.

The court is yet to say if it will entertain the complaint, a copy of which was distributed to the media by the president’s media unit on Tuesday evening.

The petitioner,   Sharmila Roweena Jayawardene Gonawela  of 30/2, Albert Crescent, Colombo 07 asked the court to issue an interim order preventing Wickremesinghe voting in parliament until the conclusion of her petition.

She argued that Article 91(1)(e) of the constitution prevented individuals who hold any interest in public contracts running for parliament.

The provision says a candidate who “has any such interest in any such contract made by or on behalf of the State or a public corporation as parliament shall by law prescribe,” shall not be entitled to be a candidate or hold office as an MP.

Lake House Printers of which Wickremesinghe holds 1.33 percent share is a supplier of cheque leafs to two state-banks and therefore he should be disqualified from being an MP, the petitioner argued.

The case was filed a day ahead of a vote in parliament to express confidence in Wickremesinghe and seek his reinstatement as Prime Minister.

President Sirisena has maintained that he will not re-appoint Wickremesinghe even if the entire parliament wanted him back. (COLOMBO, December 11, 2018)





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