The Sri Lanka Army has taken over security on the outer perimeter of Parliament, a move the military claims is due police officers being call out on coronavirus duty but has raised questions about whether President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fears a showdown with the Parliament he dissolved after elections were delayed.
The military was put in charge of securing Parliament on Thursday Colombo Telegraph learns soon after several MPs expressed the view that the gazette dissolving Parliament was invalid since the Elections Commission declared June 20 as the election date.
June 20 is 18 days after the constitutionally mandated deadline for Parliament to meet after it is prematurely dissolved by the president. With the country headed for a serious constitutioinal deadlock President Gotabaya Rajapaksa took steps to prevent any moves by parliamentarians to reconvene the House even if he does not withdraw his gazette of dissolution or reconvene the House by exercising his powers under Article 70 (7).
The Military Spokesman clarified that the security arrangements were prompted by a reduction of police personnel available for parliament security affairs due to being called away on coronavirus mitigation and curfew enforcement duties.
The sudden onset of the military in Parliament prompted a swift reaction from former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.
Jayasuriya assured the Government in a public statement that he had no intention of reconvening Parliament but would only act on the rulings of the Supreme Court.
Jayasuriya convened a meeting of the Constitutional Council on Thursday which was well attended. The move may have made Government officials jittery about whether Jayasuriya was going to go all out and exercise his authority to re-summon the House.
However Colombo Telegraph learns the former Speaker has no such intention but will only comply with an interpretation of the courts if it is applied for and granted. (by Chamika Madiwake)