26 September, 2020

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Status Of Parliament & Parliamentary Elections

By Karu Jayasuriya

Karu Jayasuriya

As the former Speaker, I have recently been contacted by religious and political leaders, parliamentarians, academics, civil society and trade union representatives and members of the public seeking clarification on the impasse between the Election Commission and Executive on parliamentary elections.

Sri Lanka and the world are faced with an unprecedented health and economic crisis. As the prospect of a constitutional crisis further compounding the plight of our country is a matter of grave national concern, I am setting out my position publicly rather than replying to each query individually.

1. On 2nd March 2020, His Excellency President Gotabaya Rajapaksa dissolved Parliament by proclamation, calling for parliamentary elections to be held on 25th April 2020, and for the new Parliament to meet on 14th May 2020.

2. On 21st March 2020, the Election Commission invoked its authority in terms of Section 24 (3) of the Parliamentary Elections Act, announcing that the poll for the parliamentary election cannot be taken on 25th April 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Sri Lanka.

3. Article 70 (5) (a) of the Constitution requires that upon the dissolution of Parliament, the new Parliament shall be summoned to meet on a date not later than three months after the date of the proclamation that dissolved Parliament, which must happen by 2nd June 2020.

4. On 31st March 2020, 1st April 2020 and 6th April 2020, letters were exchanged between the Election Commission and the Secretary to the President indicating that:

a) It is the position of the Election Commission that the prevailing situation and logistical constraints prohibit parliamentary elections from being held in time for the new Parliament to be summoned to meet by 2nd June 2020.

b) The government is of the view that there is not necessarily any impediment to holding parliamentary elections on or before 28th May 2020.

Every country in the world is putting political differences aside and uniting to face this threat. Sri Lanka is the only democracy to face COVID-19 crisis without a legislature to pass laws and financial appropriations to combat the pandemic and its economic consequences.

It is my opinion that the government and opposition must engage with the Election Commission and with each other urgently and in good faith. If there are any precautions or new laws that the Commission determines would allow it to safely hold elections in time, these must be explored immediately. In the event holding elections in time is not possible, a constitutional crisis must be avoided at all costs. Such a crisis entails the risk of delegitimising and destabilising our country and could gravely impact Sri Lanka’s prospects of obtaining economic relief.

In the interest of the nation, I appeal to the government, opposition, and other stakeholders to set aside their political differences and to take urgent and meaningful steps to avoid an unnecessary third crisis for our country.

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Latest comments

  • 2
    1

    Still supporting Rajapaksas Karu? NO elections until October.

    • 11
      1

      I don’t think so ‘Chelva’,
      Karu is just being truthful, un-biased and only expressing his independent opinion. I blame ‘Chandrika Kumarathunge, first for appointing ‘M.Jarapassa’ as the PM when she was in power, secondly going against Ven. Sobhitha thero’s suggested candidature of Hon. Karu Jayasooriya and bringhing in ‘Loka Hora’, ‘grama sevaka Sira’ of Polonnaruwa.

  • 1
    14

    The ugly head has rise again man who betray Parliamentary values and standing order during his mismanagement of whole house procedure last 4 years and half since 2015 Jan 8th .
    The Karanarataha Jayasooriys has run of that House of sovereignty of Parliment by uncharters guidelines .Never before occurred in Parliment 2015 Jan th , which has never happen since 1948 of 12th of Parliment secessions .

    He was Speaker of UNP +TNA +JVP +Muslim Congress of that ” minority form of Democracy”. But K..Jayasooriya was not Speaker of whole members of House ?
    He has working an intentionally to undervalue of Sovereignty Rights of members of Parliament .
    While discarded whole procedure of Parliment standing Order by his own interest and unholy alliance of that of UNP administration of political Neoliberalism. Such Parliment under Karuratahana Jayssoriya has lost confidence and cerdintitiol of which that among right thinking citizens of Sri Lankan.

    • 11
      1

      “among right thinking citizens of Sri Lankan”
      Are their any left in ‘Sorry Lanka’?. If so, can you please name a few. Is that the reason for the ‘Sorry Lankan’ government’s ‘know it all’ ‘pandits’ keep begging the expat ‘Ceylonese’ to come back and help out? What happened to ‘Gothaya’s’ ‘Viyath Maga’ concept?
      No, chance pal.

    • 6
      0

      Sirisena@

      Please get back your facts right by studying them closely. Those culprits sat on the opposition, but never supported even any good moves of the former govt has no right to talk about the rights today. If you were not born y day you should NOT forget the manner MR led groups how they behaved themselves in the most powerful and respectful body of lanken democracy – the parliament during their short lived 52 d fake govt.
      No any civilized and decent people would ever respect SLPP led by RASCALS but some stuipid srilankens. Those srilankens have been fallen from pan to fire today… not being able to realize the manner, Gotabaya has been reached deadlock regarding any pledges made to the very nation. People may have thought, if voted for him as a former govt sector candidate, would really do things in a proper manner. But lack of indepennce governance – not having being experienced in lanken sysstems, but to rely on his barbaric, abusive brothers – are seen to be the most barriers of his new govt.
      Not a single good thing made sofar can be described with a WOW effect, even if the very same basd on MR tactics, they have been trying to paint the picture in favour of the upcoming General Elections.
      Alone the focus to the collosal abuses of state funds for their benefits in the propaganda – is seen as big stain in their poltiics today- they are shamless and heartless according to the villagers. Those farmers being unable to sell their ownproducts but being treated with total ignorance in restrictive situation currently being held in the country due to CORONA CRISIS – people would never support to RAJAPAKSHES again. Ground -grass root levels of people are not convinced how they really are.

  • 5
    0

    SL survived worst swings in Governance in the past 5 years. All started with a Coalition in 2015; then turned to a divided government; then to a Government by Presidential Design (52 days); then back to an Ungovernable Government; and lastly, a Government by default without Majority. Now, it is a caretaker cabinet with a few more weeks of life left. The only clarity prevails is the STATUS-QUO of PRESIDENT. Interestingly, it was the DEMOCRACY that held the State together through chaos.

    The Country was disparate in search of a STATESMAN-like conduct from a PRESIDENT. Didn’t find it with Chandrika or MR, neither with Non-partisan Sirisena for the past 25 yrs. Public faith on Gota should not let go WASTE. For now, preserving DEMOCRACY is paramount; and STATSMEN-LIKE conduct should be his goals. They are within his reach. Five months down the road already, are we wasting this LIFE-LINE. Surely, Family/Friend-First Approach has no credibility
    .
    Let’s hope COVID 19 will black-out by end of the month to facilitate elections. But, COVID is ravaging elsewhere. STATESMEN are not blunt to OPINIONS of value.

    • 1
      1

      Mr. KumarM,
      /
      Yes.
      “PRESERVING DEMOCRACY” is very important.
      We need a functioning legislature and provincial level reprasantation to run a country.
      But having said that……
      Preserving the “FAITH IN DEMOCRACY” is more important.
      AND….
      Preserving the “RESULTS OF DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS” is also more important.
      Real honest questions should be…
      1. Does dissolved parliament hold public faith….?
      2. Will the so called
      Civil Society…
      NGOs…
      Minority Manipulaters….
      All the people who were dead against President’s nomination even before November….
      All the people who tried mightily and vainly to cancel the last November presidential election….
      All the people who wasn’t ready to accept GR’s win as a president claiming minority or so called human right issues……
      All the people who are crying against GR in his heroic efforts against current pandemic……
      are they truly willing to support president in his work…?
      Or…
      What they really want is to pull President’s legs during this pandemic….?
      ONE HAS TO JUDGE FUTURE FROM PAST BEHAVIOR.

  • 1
    2

    I think Mr. Karu Jayasooriya took a wise decision. There is a group of people who wants Anarchy and instability in the govt. They expect Mr. Karu Jayasuriya to lead the campaign, I guess. The exact same thing happened in Venezuela or Brazil. After that Mr. TRUMP appointed the president and asked the world to accept him. Recently happened setting up of FIRE to the govt Press is another to scuttle the election. That exact incident happened in one African country. Those saboteurs want COVID-19 In sri Lanka goes out of control. They push for it even though it is ineffective. It is like EELAM war time. Fortunately, some UNPers are silent.

  • 1
    1

    Those who are looking for anarchy and instability, COVID-19 is a blessing in disguise and they all want election in October 2020. Get it. What should we do with Academics and Trade Union representatives.

  • 2
    1

    Is there nothing else other than elections that our politicians can think off.
    It has been elections and elections and elections since 1948 and still we are struggling to come out of the gutters while these bloody effing bastards are enjoying life even in these difficult times.
    What kind of selfish morons have we been voting into power all these years.
    Yes !!!! we are to be blamed for all our sufferings and we will have to accept the blame for future generations to come because we vote these bloody dick headed shaggers into power.
    Elections !!!!! my bloody arse.

  • 2
    0

    I have the benefit of reading the athe article as well as the comments before mine. I see no bias or tilt towards one side or the other in the statement made by the former speaker and regret to note the casting of aspersions made against him. His request or appeal for all stakeholders to work together shedding political differences is meaningful in the dark hour of Sri Lanka in particular and the whole world in general.

  • 1
    0

    Whoever is making the decision on when to hold elections needs to understand we are dealing with the unknown. No one can provide reliable data to prove that the virus is eradicated, peaked or the curve is flattened.

    Some facts from yesterday:

    – China increased the Wuhan death toll by 50%! They have ‘missed’ counting of 1,290 deaths. Maybe more deaths will be disclosed later.

    – In Singapore, 700 new cases were discovered in one day from a single cluster in densely populated “Little India”.

    – In Sydney, the daily cases more than doubled when testing increased by 25%.

    This shows that no one really knows exactly how the Covid-19 virus is spreading in the community.

    What we are told is mainly propaganda.

  • 1
    0

    Karu Jayasuriya should be appreciated for coming forward to avoid a constitutional crisis, but some people here does not seem to understand it. Our country will never learn and is beyond repair. Murderers and people who have robbed the country, are praised but genuine people who are trying to sincerely do what is best for the country, are attacked and ridiculed. Looks like we have no hope.

  • 0
    0

    Simon de Silva by comment has misled redares of CT ?
    Which is misinterpreted version of comment by Silva !
    The 2015 Jan 8th that UNP had patently enjoy during FIVE Years Period of Parliment by the blessing ex- Speaker of Karuanarataha Jaysooriys. He as a speaker hence abuses power of that House of Representatives by Ranil Wicks of Christian leadership has been misled members chamber and public.
    In fact UNP under the ex- Speaker has ruin Parliamentary Democracy.
    No way to forgive his mistakes was done so big damages to Country system of Parliamentary and Its mode of governance . The ex-speaker key person who covered up Central Bank Bond scam to exit from wrong doing by UNP leader of Ranil Wicks.
    Key issue is not that Rajapakases’s family that UNP handful ,policies are breathtaking which collapse of credit to finance,national debt, declined of global trade been NOT allowed to deliberation in debat in Parliment by ex-Spaker of K…Jayasooriya ….? What man he was?

  • 1
    0

    Mr. Karu Jayasooriya gives the warning, that the IMF has already given. I think, IMF has delayed the fourth Installment of a loan up to four months. For some reason, election delayed and NGOs and other minorities with special interests would go to Supreme courts to further destabilize the country. At that point of time, IMF would say they would not release the Installment any more as the people do not have trust on the govt. that would be the possible sequence of events.

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