22 April, 2019

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Of That Proposed National Government

By Rajeewa Jayaweera

Rajeewa Jayaweera

The proposed national government by the UNP headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is the latest jiggery-pokery of our politicians. Those from both sides of the political divide have become masters at twisting facts to suit their political agenda.

The Editor of The Island in his editorial on February 4 has explained this travesty in plain English. 

During a committee stage debate, the then subject minister had defined ‘National Government’ as a government formed by political parties with the largest and second largest number of elected members. This definition had been deviously amended to a government established by the recognized political party or the independent group which obtains the highest number of seats in Parliament together with the other recognized political parties or the independent groups at the time of incorporation of 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Since numbers are not quantified, at least theoretically, even one MP will suffice for the purpose.

A similar travesty took place in 2015 when the wording in the draft bill of the 19th Amendment approved by the Supreme Court had been changed during committee stage debates. The subject was the transfer of Executive powers to the Prime Minister. It was explained in detail by Prof. Rajiva Wijesinhe in his article ‘Confused and Confusing 19-A’ in The Island on December 21, 2018.

The UNP is all out to form a national government even by co-opting one solitary SLMC MP to the government and thus overcome the constitutional restriction in the number of ministers permitted. 

The leader of the House and Public Enterprise, Kandyan Heritage and Kandy City Development Minister Lakshman Kiriella had told the media, this was an exercise to protect democracy, provide relief to people and settle loans obtained by the Rajapaksa administration. 

Minister Kiriella has taken citizens of this country for imbeciles.  

Every Tom, Dick, and Harry is aware, this is an exercise to buy over a few MPs. It will enable the UNP to appoint over a dozen additional cabinet ministers and many more Deputy and State Ministers to satisfy the cravings of their MPs. Some of them are threatening to decamp unless appointed as ministers, deputy and state ministers.      

No doubt, horse trading must be currently underway to entice a few more MPs, especially from the SLFP, a breed who would even sell their mothers and spouses for a cabinet position. The going rate for crossovers last November as stated by President Sirisena himself was half a million rupees. 

If the proposed national government were to become a reality, it would be the death knell for the restriction of the number of cabinet ministers stipulated in the 19th Amendment. It will enable every future government to co-opt one or a few MPs from minority parties and appoint jumbo cabinets on the pretext of a national government. 

In mature democracies such as the UK, crossovers in return for cabinet positions are unheard of. The last national government in the UK was from 1931 till 1940 during the Great Depression. Since 1940, UK has had only coalition governments which included Winston Churchill’s coalition government from 1940 till 1945 to deal with WWII. 

National governments are not for immature democracies such as Sri Lanka. Today, we are paying the price for not holding snap elections immediately after 2015 Presidential elections and opting for the farce of a National Government, formed on January 9, 2015.  

The only solution would be the prohibition of MPs from being appointed as ministers and permit the President to select his cabinet of ministers from the vast pool of academics, professionals, industry captains and members of the general public in the country. Such a system must necessarily have a mechanism to prevent the appointment of family members and relatives by the Executive, no matter how qualified they may be. Selecting a cabinet of 25 to 30 ministers and an equal number of deputies from a pool of 21 million citizens is bound to produce better results than selections made from a pool of 225, mostly crooks, drug peddlers, bootleggers, bribe takers, murderers, shysters, plunders to name a few. Not to be forgotten are the 94 failures of GCE ‘O’ levels examination.

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Latest comments

  • 5
    2

    “The only solution would be the prohibition of MPs from being appointed as ministers and permit the President to select his cabinet of ministers from the vast pool of academics, professionals, industry captains and members of the general public in the country.”

    Just one month ago President appointed former President as PM unconstitutionally and illegally. He appointed ministers who were paid Rs 500 million each by the appointed PM. This is the culture of our Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalist politics.

    • 1
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      mr. Rajiv J. Right on. Bottom line is Bondscam Ranil must be impeached and share a prison cell with US Citizen Avant Guard scammer Gota Rajapaksa and cronies.

      Why is no one asking why Sri Lanka has such massive military budget when the SL economy is crashing? Is it because Trumpland militarizing Sri Lanka and setting up military Bases code name ‘Logistics Hubs’ in its Cold war against China?

      Trumpland which owns and operates Bondscam Ranil and his royal mafia has issued a statement on its great relationship with Sri Lanka! “Your government’s progress on political rights and civil liberties made it eligible for a Millennium Challenge Corporation compact, which when it is achieved, will spur economic growth.”
      JVP should also ask Bondscam Ranil to reveal how funds from the Neo Con Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) that is building the Colombo-Trincomalee transport corridor to Transport US military equipment from BIA to Trincomallee deep sea habour and drafting Sri Lanka’s “economic policy” to reveal
      1) how much MCC funding has Bondscam’s office and Charitha Rattwatta received
      2) what has MCC funds in past 3.5 years been spent on
      3) What are the poverty project impacts of MCC funds since it claims to work to reduce poverty
      in the interest of Aid Accountability, transparency and good governance.

      • 0
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        Because of the Mangala’s $1.5 billion MCC loan, which us the most recent came through IMF installment , the next govt if it is not going to be RANil, will be in big trouble. There will be so many threats from UNHCR, NGOs and the opposition will start barking loud.
        The problem is SLPP is for them. how to fatten their pockets.

  • 5
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    Rajeewa Jayaweera

    You got some work to do, based on Lord Naserby’s recent pronouncement that “SL not a country to be monitored by West almost everyday”

    • 2
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      I think Lord Naseby is employed by former President and 50 day fake PM. Last year it was revealed that the Northern Island MP was paid around £100,000 for his holidays for speaking in the UN. Does anyone know how much money involved with Lord Naseby?

      • 1
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        Do not waste time with what that Nosey Boy does, as he is regarded as a joker. Just because he makes himself a fool to justify what he receives from Sri Lanka, UK or the western countries are not going to dance to his tune. All these days carrots were given and very soon stick is going to be used to bring Sri Lanka to obey their order.

  • 1
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    Ajith.. Do not write of what you think but state what you know unless you contracted the Russian hallucination effects.
    This is about the proposed National Government.

    Is it a Fast or a Farce….. and fizzled out fast?

    • 3
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      thondamany

      Alright type all that you know, it won’t take more than ten lines.

  • 0
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    Forget the impeachment of Ranil, why don’t they did not thy arrest the Very corrupt Finance minister who got caught in Bond scam, The present finance minister is also very corrupt. 143 container scandle is connect to him. Now he is appointing a committee just the way Ranil appointed three UNP lawyers to seek into the bond scam. NAtional govt is needed to gather more NAtional List MPs to win the budget vote. I do not think anyone from SLFP/SLPP cross. So, only escape is appoint new ones. That will destroy any winning chances. The national govt is also one portion of the corrupt 1-19 amendments. They hired the criminal, again from the national list, Rishad bathiuddin as a minister. Ranil is that desperate.

  • 0
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    National govt is needed to build members with consenses who will say
    yes to the the BUDGET. PArliament is a corrupt place. IT is constant struggle to say float. If Ranil does not do that and that result losing the govt and SLFP/SLPP would use the $ 1.5 billion loan that would be used to offer free goodies to the voters. It is no point of comparing with other countries as sri lankan Parliament on corruption, wastage, doing every thing for personal agendas etc.,

  • 0
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    We accept Rajeewa Jayaweera’s broadsides on RW.
    Yes, RW was in a hurry. He probably thought that following his reinstatement, there will be a rush to join his Front. Only SLMC did, conditional to a cabinet position.
    MR thought that, to celebrate his PM-ship, people will flood the street in support. They did not.
    MS thought that he could poach SLPP. Did not happen.
    Dinesh and Vasu thought that Trade Unions are dead. No. They showed their power in the DG of Customs fracas.
    .
    Our leaders do not talk about our imminent fall off the Failed-State-Cliff. But they are in a hurry. They are all bad.
    This is our bane Rajeewa.

  • 0
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    He is bouncing away like a rubber ball. The very
    devious manipulator Ranil W, the born loser, is
    pushing his way through. Now he wants to deal
    with himself – that is to take action with the
    amoebic Attorney General against bond robbers.
    That will be a world’s first – robber dealing with
    the same robber under amended laws. What
    more do people of Sri Lanka need?

    And, no one talks of how much Black Label
    Mangala Samaraweera lost for the country due
    to the Customs protest. Does he care? The yankees
    are there for him. Why worry. The next time he
    can sell another part of the country.

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