Sri Lanka Speaker rejects Weerawansa’s separation move

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Wednesday ruled against Wimal Weerawansa separating from the United People’s Alliance Freedom Alliance (UPFA) under whose ticket he won the August 2015 parliamentary elections.

Jayasuriya said he had recognised the rights of the so called Joint Opposition led by Dinesh Gunawardena as their group was not smaller than the smallest minority group in parliament.

If Weerawansa’s group of five MPs were to be recognised as an independent party, then it would have serious consequences for the constitutional council too.

The smallest minority party can nominate a member to the Constitutional Council and any change in the current status quo would disrupt the CC, Jayasuriya said.

He noted that the Elections Commissioner had gazetted Weerawansa as a member elected under the UPFA and there was no official recognition of any electoral pact he may or may not have had with the rest of the UPFA.

While the Speaker was delivering his ruling, UPFA dissidents, led by Dinesh Gunawardena created disturbances that held up proceedings and eventually forced the speaker to expel him from the chamber.

Later, the House voted 85 to 22 to suspend Gunawardena for a week. (COLOMBO, March 8, 2017)

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