Speaker laments stalemate

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Urging that Parliament needs to take some positive steps at this juncture, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena expressed his regret that the House could not arrive at positive solutions to the current crisis despite holding debates on 5, 6 and 7 April.

Making a special statement, at the beginning of the Sittings on 19 April, the Speaker requested the active contribution and maximum support of all MPs, including party leaders, regardless of party affiliation, towards establishing a transparent and non-corrupt regime that prioritises the well-being of the people in an effort to alleviate Sri Lanka’s current crisis.

“I would like to mention that further discussions were held on 5 and 8 April under my chairmanship with the participation of the leaders of political parties represented in the Ninth Parliament and the Members of the Committee on Parliamentary Business in view of the need to take some positive steps in this regard. Accordingly, the leaders of those parties and the Members of the Committee on Parliamentary Business met again in Parliament on 18 April 2022 to discuss the prevailing crisis situation further.

A number of party leaders also expressed the view that a new Constitution should be drafted as a long-term solution to the current unrest among the people and the 21st Amendment to the Constitution should be passed by Parliament based on the urgent need to strengthen the power of Parliament as a short term as well as an immediate solution,” he said.

During the meetings, attention was also drawn to a number of positive proposals that could fulfil the aspirations of the people in this crisis situation, the Speaker said and added,

“A number of proposals were discussed, such as amending the Constitution and related laws to subject Ministers and MPs to the supervision of the Auditor General, make relevant amendments to allow the Auditor General to audit political parties, prohibit the procurement of goods and services without bidding for government contracts, amending legislation to allow the Government to seize assets which are found to have been illegally deposited in foreign banks and financial institutions by politicians and their relatives or public servants, prohibit dual citizens from being elected to Parliament and the Presidency,” he said.

By Methmalie Dissanayake