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TNA says PM’s meeting is not a substitute for reconvening of Parliament

NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PARLIAMENT – TNA leader R Sampanthan hands over statement to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa before the meeting on May 4, 2020 at Temple Trees

ECONOMYNEXT – The Tamil National Alliance has stated that although it has attended the meeting called by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on May 4, it is not and cannot be a substitute for the convening of Parliament.

A statement signed by TNA leader R Sampanthan said  the party is of “the firm view that the Parliament must be convened as stated in our joint statement to deal with several constitutional and legal issues that have arisen, which Parliament alone can deal with.”

The TNA was the only opposition party present in the meeting at Temple Trees today as the JVP and the two factions of the United National Party boycotted the Prime Minister’s gathering.

It was attended by the constituent parties of the alliance led by the ruling Sri Lanka Nidahas Podujana Peramuna.

Independent former MPs such as Athureliye Rathana Thero and a number of former MPs who are currently out of active politics were present.

Among the attendees was former President Maithripala Sirisena, now an alliance partner of the SLNPP.

Sampanthan in his letter presented to the Prime Minister at the meeting and released to the media said that an appeal was made to the President by the TNA and other opposition political parties for Parliament to be reconvened by up to now the response has been negative.

It was in this background that the PM invited all Members of the dissolved Parliament to a meeting at Temple Trees on Monday the 4th.

The TNA pointed out that the country and the people are facing a “grave crisis,” because of the escalating COVID 19 pandemic.

“There is a legitimate fear amongst the people that it could further escalate with grave consequences, and the Country’s united efforts are needed in this regard,” the TNA said.

Sampanthan recalled that over the past 25 years the people in successive elections have rejected the 1978 constitution and in 2015, Parliament resolved to form a constitutional assembly and amended the constitution.

“All political parties were represented in the several committees established, there was substantial consensus, Reports of the committees were filed in the Constitutional Assembly, the process reached its final stages, when it stalled until the dissolution of Parliament,” he said.

“We have decided that we need to attend the Meeting with the Prime Minister, because all these issues outlined above need to be addressed and to clearly indicate that we are prepared to extend our co-operation to the resolution of these issues in a reasonable and acceptable manner in the interests of the Country and all its People,” Sampanthan said. (Colombo May 4, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana