Sri Lanka heading for new crisis with President- Parliament standoff: minister
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena, should behave like an adult instead of heading for another confrontation with the parliament generating a constitutional crisis, a minister said as cabinet meeting came to a halt.
"The President has again started a constitutional, legal and political conflict with the parliament," Megapolis Minister Patali Ranawaka said, as the president carried out a threat made last week by not calling a cabinet meeting.
"We are heading for another crisis. The President is deliberately trying to stifle the government."
Minister Ranawaka said there 51 regular cabinet papers that should have been discussed this week, another 19 news ones and also 34 memoranda relating to appointments.
A parliamentary select committee has made embarrassing revelations about lapses in the run up to an Islamist suicide attack on Easter Sunday, and the televised proceedings were halted mid-program.
The President had threatened to halt cabinet meetings if the parliament continued to hold hearings and call intelligence officials.
Ranwaka said there Speaker had no option but to call a PSC when members of parliament requested it.
But if there are concerns about the national security, those concerns could be addressed.
While he was not a legal expert, Ranawaka said the President could not arbitrarily refuse to hold cabinet meetings since the country was not a monarchy or rule by divine right but it was a democracy.
The President therefore did not have the discretion to do as he wished but had a responsibility to the people, he said.
"We call on President to behave like an adult," he said.
President Sirisena had in October gone against the constitution and the parliament and courts had already given a thorough analysis, he said. (Colombo/June12/2019)