Speaker makes U-turn

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Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena making a U-turn said yesterday (10) evening, that Parliament would not be convened before 17 May, as the safety of MPs has to be ensured amidst islandwide violence and protests, following the Monday (9), attack by Rajapaksa supporters on peaceful protesters in Colombo.

Speaker earlier on the day said, he requested President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to convene Parliament immediately, to discuss the current situation of the country

Parliament has been adjourned until 17 May. However, following the current situation, convening the House before 17 May is the best thing that can be done, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena told Ceylon Today.

Accordingly, the Speaker telephoned the President with the said request following the escalation of violence on Monday (9).

According to the Standing Orders of Parliament, if the adjournment of Parliament exceeds 48 hours, the Speaker can only summon the House on a request of the Prime Minister, prior to the scheduled date.

Although, the Parliament Business Committee can meet and discuss the schedule of such a sitting, they have no power to convene the House.

Since the PM’s post is vacant at the moment, the Speaker requested the President to convene Parliament immediately.

However, following the escalated violence reported from around the country yesterday (10), he said the House will not be convened before 17 May.

BY Methmalie Dissanayake