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SJB alleges President creating an autocracy under the guise of fighting COVID 19

ECONOMYNEXT – The Opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) is calling on all political parties, civil society activists and the general public to strongly oppose the attempt by the government to create an autocratic, anti-democratic state in Sri Lanka.
In a statement issued today, April 11, the SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara said that in the guise of battling the spread of COVID 19 the government is “disregarding the role of the courts and the country’s Constitution.”
It pointed out that the President is interpreting the Constitution to “suit himself” leading the country towards a dictatorship. The statement also pointed out that the President is already in violation of the Constitution by assuming that he can spend state funds without Parliamentary consent.
The statement points out that “there is no Defense Minister in the Cabinet. The President has hidden that Ministry in his office without due allocation in violation of the Constitution.”
It added that handing over functions aimed at preventing the spread of COVID 19 that should be performed by Cabinet Ministers and Government Officials to the National Organiser of a political party is also illegal.
“These are actions that are dangerous to democracy,” the SJB statement warned.
It also pointed out that these developments apply to both the governing party as well as the opposition.
“Safeguarding the Constitutional State and the sovereignty of the people is of paramount importance. Let us come together to safeguard our democracy,” the statement added.
The SJB also reiterated that the best solution to the current issue is to reconvene the Parliament but the government and the President do not appear to want that.
The “underlying truth is that the government wants to use the current dangerous situation to realize its narrow political objectives.” (Colombo, April 11, 2020)
By Arjuna Ranawana

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