Colombo Telegraph

Speaker’s Pronouncement – How To Restore Legitimacy? 

By Arun Kumaresan

Arun Kumaresan – Air Vice Marshal (Ret’d)

In reverence to liberal democracy: “may constitute the ‘end point of mankind’s ideological evolution’ and the ‘final form of human government’”  Franklyn Fukuyama

In my article on “Hon’ble Speaker Act Now & Act Fast” on Colombo Telegraph on November 2nd, I articulated two questions, which were in my opinion need to be ruled by the head & custodian of our legislature – Hon’ble Speaker to overcome the actions by the Executive on 26th Oct 2018. The questions per se as follows:

1. Was the act appointing a Prime Minister by the President is constitutional?

2. Was the act by the President in proroguing the Parliament followed the due protocol and conventions?  

Hon. Speaker’s pronouncement dated 5th November 2018, without any ambiguity resolves that the act by the Executive sacking a sitting Prime Minister and appointing another is unconstitutional & the proroguing of the Parliament too had been done without any consultation; thereby threatening the supremacy of the legislature and the sovereignty of the citizenry. He had also deplored the conduct of the media (intentional false news reporting) and further on the reports of horse trading of legislators; the acts that are threatening the very foundation of the democracy in Sri Lanka. 

Hon. Speaker had clearly stated the status quo of pre 26th October 2018 evening as legitimate.

What Next? – Untying The Knots

Interim measures

This being an extraordinary situation arising out of a “COUP” violating all norms; Hon. Speaker’s ruling needs to be implemented giving due consideration to the fact that the action by the Executive has created confusion and mêlée particularly in the minds of the public officers and security apparatus. There may be no rule book to react to such situations arising out of a “coup”; hence, it is well within the rights of the Hon. Speaker to use the existing structures that are recognized under the Constitution to implement his ruling.

In order to overcome the current deadlock and as an interim measure, the Hon. Speaker in his capacity as the Chairman of the Constitutional Council should summon an extraordinary meeting along with the members of Police & Public Service Commissions in attendance and direct the later two to send out specific directives to inform all stakeholders to revert to the status quo prior to 26th October 2018. It is also prudent at the said meeting the Hon. Speaker announce the date of reconvening the Parliament. 

Making Hon. Speaker’s ruling absolute on the floor of the House

Once the Parliament is convened, the Hon. Speaker should make the said ruling on the floor of the House in order to make it absolute and subsequently adjourn the House for two weeks to facilitate restoration of the functions of the Government, which has been disrupted by the illegitimate and unconstitutional actions of the Executive. (The business of the house on that date could be decided at the party leaders meeting the day before). A no confidence motion, if and when submitted may be put on the order paper for a debate subsequently. 

This will give meaning to the pronouncements by the Hon. Speaker and it will enable to resurrect and restore “Democratic Governance” in Sri Lanka, which was in the verge of execution. May all who believe and cherish democracy rally behind the Hon. Speaker to protect the sovereignty of participatory system of governance; we were bestowed and enjoyed since 1948.

Legitimacy may reign supreme not coups or counter coups ( both are illegitimate )!!!

N.B: Those in communication with the Hon. Speaker; Pls share this note

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