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PM says Opposition wants Parliament recalled to block anti COVID 19 fight

ECONOMYNEXT – Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is saying that the opposition is wanting the old Parliament reconvened so that they can block the resources needed for the government to fight the COVID 19 menace.

In a statement to the media, the PM said the opposition is trying to sabotage ‘the anti-Coronavirus campaign in order to bring the government into disrepute before the election.”

“The opposition’s concern obviously is that if the election is held in a situation where the anti-Coronavirus campaign in Sri Lanka has shown much better results than in most other countries, they would be placed at a serious disadvantage,” he said.

The PM had earlier invited all the former MPs of the recently dissolved Parliament for a meeting tomorrow.

But two key components of the Opposition, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna turned down the PM’s invitation citing the rejection of the offer made by them to the President to support his efforts to conduct the COVID 19 operations in a recalled Parliament.

The Prime Minister in his statement said “even in the midst of this national crisis and global disaster we see the unpleasant sight of the political opposition in this country vociferously demanding that the dissolved Parliament be reconvened and asserting that after the 30th of April, the President has no legal right to allocate funds for the maintenance of government services without the approval of the old parliament. They have even issued a threat to the effect that unless Parliament is reconvened, the President and all of us in the government run the risk of the loss of our civic rights and the confiscation of our property.”

He went on to say that “Parliament was dissolved at the beginning of March when there were no Coronavirus patients in the country. After the first Corona virus patient was found one and a half weeks later, the Elections Commission postponed the election till the 20th of June. The Elections Commission has already announced that the election could be postponed further depending on the advice of the medical authorities. The Elections Commission will hold the election at a suitable time in accordance with the powers vested in them.”

“The opposition’s concern obviously is that if the election is held in a situation where the anti-Coronavirus campaign in Sri Lanka has shown much better results than in most other countries, they would be placed at a serious disadvantage. Hence we see that the opposition’s present efforts are aimed at getting the old Parliament reconvened and using their majority in Parliament to block government finances, thereby sabotaging the anti-Coronavirus campign in order to bring the government into disrepute before the election.

Back in February, when there was no Coronavirus threat in the country, the opposition used their majority in Parliament to block payments to government suppliers of medicine and fertilizer so as to bring the new government into disrepute by creating a shortage of fertiliser and medicine in the country.”

“After the new Parliament convenes the opposition will have the opportunity to raise questions about how government money was spent between the time of the dissolution of the old Parliament and the convening of the new Parliament. Until then they should refrain from misleading the public with blatant lies.”

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“At this moment, we should set politics aside and concentrate on controlling the Coronavirus outbreak and restoring normalcy to the lives of the people. We all saw the magnitude of the Coronavirus cluster that had formed among Navy personnel due to their involvement in the anti-Coronavirus campaign.” (Colombo, May 3, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana