2 October, 2020

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Who Should Be The Leader Of The Opposition?

By Lal Wijenayake

Lal Wijenayake

Lal Wijenayake

Today the question is posed as to who should be the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament in the present context where the SLFP the major party in the opposition is said to have taken a decision to support the Maithripala Sirisena / Ranil Wickremesinge led government.

Our constitution has made no provision regarding an office of Leader of the Opposition. The Ceylon (Constitution) Ordering Council (Soulbery Constitution) 1947 as well as the Republican Constitution of 1972 and 1978 had made no provision regarding the office of a Leader of the Opposition.   But in keeping with the British Parliamentary practice the office of the Leader of the Opposition was recognised from 1947.

It is the practice to follow the conventions of the British Parliament when no specific mention is not made on a matter in the constitution or in the laws governing the subject.

Dinesh NimalThe British Parliamentary practice is for the member of the House of Commons who is for the time being the leader of the House of the party in opposition to the government having the greatest numerical strength. (Vide Encyclopaedia of Parliament by Wilding and Laundy)

The importance of the opposition in the system of Parliamentary Government has found its way into formal recognition through a long period of practical recognition in the procedure of Parliament. (Vide Esking May on Parliamentary Practice)

It is not acceptable for the Speaker of Parliament who arbitrarily decide who should be the Leader of the Opposition. He has to appoint the leader of the largest party in the opposition. He cannot decide this issue on affidavits or petitions submitted even by a majority of members of the opposition. It will lead to wrong precedent in the future in naming the Leader of the Opposition.

The Speaker is bound to name as the Leader of the Opposition, the leader of the largest party in opposition. It is for the party to decide whether to sit in the opposition or the government. The fact that a party supports policies of the government on certain matters does not prevent party from sitting in the opposition.

It is the duty of the Speaker to see that Parliamentary convention are honoured and protected.

If it is the decision of the SLFP to be a part of the government, then it is the leader of the next largest group in the opposition who should be appointed as the leader of the opposition. In this Parliament it has to be the Leader of the TNA which is the next largest party in the opposition.

*Lal wijenayake – Member – National Executive Council

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  • 12
    0

    I think Lal Wijenayake has clearly elucidated in a reasonably logical and legal manner to allay doubts on the question, who should be the Learder of the Opposition in the Parliament of SL.
    When there is nothing in the constitution for the appointment of the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, the leader of the Party having the highest numerical total has been accepted by convention, throughout the years as the Leader of the Opposition.
    He says therefore, if the SLFP is going to be part of the government, then the TNA being the party which has the next highest numericaly largest number in the present parliament, it’s leader has to be the Leader of Opposition in Parliament.
    I do not think there should be any confusion over this especially when he has stated more than one authority to support his position.

    • 6
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      Ben Hurling

      Where are you? The country, its people, most imporatantly the youth/students need you.

      Your silence will ensure another round of blood letting. Next time around it could be the entire youth population of North East West South of this island arming themselves with stones, sticks, bottles, Molotov cocktails, …… will attempt to change the nature and structure of this island.

      I can see you lamenting about the lack of good governance in the island and blaming terrorism of the youth. It could be in about 10,15,20 years time.

      Pick yourself up and your bum from your comfortable expensive Skape Lowback Chair or easy chair and do something about promised land. Don’t blame the youth, blame yourself for doing nothing to stop state brutality. Read the news here:

      U’grads protest

      Protesting undergraduates charged that it was President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who had ordered the brutal teargas and water cannon attack on them yesterday (31), which left many hospitalized with injuries and several taken into police custody.

      Ceylontoday, 2015-04-01 02:00:00

      BY Ruwan Laknath Jayakody

      Protesting undergraduates charged that it was President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who had ordered the brutal teargas and water cannon attack on them yesterday (31), which left many hospitalized with injuries and several taken into police custody.

      Journalists from Mawbima, Rivira and TNL along with undergraduates including bhikkhus were viciously assaulted by police anti-riot and Special Task Force personnel, who used an arsenal of batons, tear gas and water cannons against them.
      Five undergraduates including one from the Sri Jayewardenepura University who were taken into custody were subsequently released by police.

      Over 3,500 undergraduates from universities island-wide launched a protest march at 12 noon yesterday from the Sri Jayewardenepura University and made their way to Temple Trees to voice their protest to Wickremesinghe regarding several demands, which despite several letters having being written on reams and sheaves of paper to the relevant authorities including Sirisena, Wickremesinghe, and Cabinet, State and Deputy Ministers holding the portfolios of higher education and education requesting meetings for discussions, had fallen on deaf ears.

      The students subsequently sat down on Galle Road near Kollupitiya, bringing traffic to a complete standstill.
      The Inter-University Students’ Federation (IUSF) said that just because Sirisena and Wickremesinghe behaved like dictators as had Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, they would not end their struggle to win their demands.

      IUSF Convenor Najith Indika added that good governance was a fraudulent lie which deceived the people.
      “This is suppression. Before we tried to come to the Temple Trees, we protested regarding the selling of education, issuing circulars legalizing the charging of fees in schools, establishing private universities and selling degrees at State universities for two months at all respective universities. The satyagraha at the Open University regarding exorbitant course fees is now on its 107th day.
      The Mahapola scholarship has been reduced to Rs 2,500. Thousands were dragged on the streets and assaulted inhumanely with many sustaining severe blows to the backs of their heads and limbs. Tear gas canisters had hit several in their torso and in particular midriff areas,” he remarked.

      Inter-University Bhikkhu Federation Convenor Ven. Thenne Gnanananda Thera observed that there was a burden on all to protect free education, which was a responsibility each individual had to uphold.
      “Wickremesinghe and Sirisena ordered this assault,” he alleged.

      http://www.ceylontoday.lk/

      • 6
        3

        Oi Veddah, u kidding aren’t you. Ben Hurling stiil scratching his head who burnt Jaffna library. Let him find this first….do really believe Sinhala Buddhist worried about country as whole…nop. They only worry is how to strangle tamils more.

        • 5
          0

          Muthu
          Nope – Many people in this country are not keen on strangling Tamils – main worry of majority is to find their next meal – in summary how to satisfy the requirement their family with the packet they earn – Only few racist on both sides are digging graves – and throwing mud at each other – What is the use of this mud slinging – will the dead come back to life – Isn’t it better to look forward for a better future of this country and solve the issues amicably

        • 3
          0

          J.Muthu

          I thought both of you are working together to sort out 67 years of mess. Aren’t you?

          I will be right behind you.

    • 0
      0

      Sinibola offered to Siripala prevented him from cross over prior to the election. Sinibola contained the promises towards PMship once the Mr Highly Abusive entwined with all corruption is won by last election. For his good or bad, the Liar was defeated by the people s power as even his Rival the nation s saviour -charmant -HE MY3. That was the reason MY3 to have hidden in a place seeking his escape from being tortured even going beyond to the levels SF faced it in 2010. However today, the dillema Siripala is destined is seen as a consequence for some and a Karama for others. He should please his most virulent men still supporting nature towards the former idiot irrespective of all becoming evident the gravity of the huge frauds.

  • 6
    3

    Dinesh Gunawardhana ‘s mahajana Eksath Peramuna mainly has voters from Mharagama area. Any way TNA s alliance has more voter base and MPs than any other party.( next to SLFP )therefor TNA s leader will be the next Leader of the opposition.

  • 6
    4

    TNA leader should be appointed the Opposition leader. Last time, TULF leader was appointed the Opposition leader and that led to the LTTE struggle.

    What would be this time ?

    • 1
      0

      Hi Jim softy hold your horses. where is the logic in this statement of yours quote “TNA leader should be appointed the Opposition leader. Last time, TULF leader was appointed the Opposition leader and that led to the LTTE struggle”. What would be this time ? On which plant do you live? Rationalise the events that have been unfolding in Ceylon and now in Srilanka from the time of colonial rule. You need to remove your blinkers first, then be unbiased, so as to understand these sequence of events. If you do; you would not have made this comment.

  • 6
    0

    I think Ranil is the best eminently suitable candidate for the job. After all, he has the longest stint in the job – hence most experienced – in Sri Lankas post colonial history :-)

    • 0
      3

      paul,

      That is because you hero MR cheated in the 2005 Presidential election by bribing Prbakaran , don’t say you are not aware of that story or put the blame on western countries as well. Ranil had won both 1999 and 2005 elections , but due to external forces his victory was taken away , these are facts and no one can deny those stories.

      • 0
        1

        Born donkeys would never see it right Srilal. This particular Paul is hell bent on the magical powers of MR (i mean talents related to elemination of teror and subsequent plans for frauds ranging to billions of tax payers funds) – even my 90 year old father says this – people would never see it who is genuine and who is not in this god beloved island. He is so worried the way MR has turned the nation into uncivilized creatures paradise within the last 10 years. By his words, nathi ekata athi unama puthe, rata yanawa ballanta… (when the social scum rises up, they country would go to dogs – no resepct, nothing like that but blatant lies govern the nation)

  • 7
    1

    There is no question or doubt. The leader of Opposition has to be from TNA the largest party in the opposition. Please do not attach Tamil tag on to this and differentiate as a community. All are SriLankans with equal rights and this should be proved in practice.

    • 0
      1

      ” Please do not attach Tamil tag on to this “

      Does TNA not stand for TAMIL National Alliance ?

  • 5
    0

    It is true that TNA leader Sampanthan should be the leader of opposition but I would like to see Sampanthan should be brought into the National Government. This can achieved by finding a political solution based on proper devolution. So far, the President has not touched the need for a political solution that was the route cause or core/factor issue for deterioration of the governance and fall of the nation towards Rajapakse terrorism and dictatorship. You cannot bring back true democracy and rule of the law without finding a viabale solution with just only 19th amendment. There is a responsibility on President Maithiri and Prime minister Ranil and former President Chandrika work together to convince the Sinhala massess for the need of a political solution to the route cause and Sampanthan and Rauf Hakeem to take responsibility to convince the Tamil speaking community that a reasonable devolution where their identity and security is guarnteed within a united framework is acceptable. Will they do that?

    • 2
      2

      Dear mr Ajith
      “This can be achieved by finding a political solution based on proper devolution.”
      How do you propose to accommodate 50+% of Tamil speaking people in pockets outside north/east in a scheme of “proper devolution”? Just an outline of your proposal.
      Soma

    • 2
      2

      Dear mr Ajith
      The reality of the matter is in view of the demographic distribution of the Tamil speaking people throughout the island there is no conceivable federal solution to the problem which may satisfy the political ambitions of at least 75% of them. So there is no option other than living in one political entity where all are equal in all respects. (Please give me the reference of any such proposal presented by any political maestro for study or please present your own idea of a possible solution.)
      Soma

      • 3
        1

        Dear Soma,
        The problem of devolution of power did not start with the demographic distribution in 2009. It started well before independence. The current demographic distribution is not based on natural population growth and still in the North East Region Tamil speaking population is the majority. The question of devolution is not about only numbers, it is about identity, security,and reconciliation. If 50% of Tamils can live securely in the Sinhalese majority Regions in the Sinhalese dominated administration why cannot 15-20% Sinhalese live in the North East devolved administraion? Past six and a half decades of Sinhalese lead unitary system failed to provide equality and security and justice to the Tamil speaking community and still that community is under the occupation of 99% Sinhalese dominated military.
        Devolution is power is an accepted proposal not only by Tamils political leadership but also by Sinhalese political leadership. SWRD to Mahinda,all accepted that concept. Let us have 3 or 5 devolved regions with equal devolved powers where North East as one devolved regions and central body with the power of national security.

        • 1
          3

          Sir, like everyone else, you too are evading the basic question. How can you accommodate the 50+% Tamil speaking people outside North/East in a federal structure? The arguments concocted to justify leaving this segment among the discriminatory, genocidal Sinhalese are the very same arguments to justify that no devolution/federalism necessary for this small country.
          Soma

          • 2
            1

            Soma,
            You are in denial and the answer for question is already there. Size of the country is nothing to do with devolution. Even within your family, once you get married (or even before) you have the right to choose to live separately with your wife leaving your parents and other members while you respect your parents.

  • 6
    2

    Champika and JHU will have a fit if the TNA is given the opposition leaders position !

    Just imagine what Dayan will write then? Oh god…that should be fun :-)

  • 0
    1

    What is the recognized party in the present parliament? SLFP or UPFA? Will someone help me to understand this please.
    Soma

  • 4
    0

    This Dinesh Gunawardena is a guy who is good for the job because he is his masters voice. When Chandrika Kumaratunga was President Dinesh proposed that she be allocated some prime property near the Parliament for a private residence as a mark of gratitude for the huge service she did for the nation !!!!!

    When Mahinda became President , chandrika’s house was forgotten and now every thing Dinesh proposed was to please the new boss Mahinda R. ! By appointing Dinesh as leader of opposition we can acknowledge that the opposition is full of time servers with no conscience.

    By the way dinesh’s brother-in-law is Lester James pieris who tried to earn brownie points from MR by fussing like a old grand mother about some photograph which apparently was doctored by Patali Champika. This guy lester james was not even in the photograph !What happened to all the gas that Lester released before the election ?

    But Lester has to do that because MR named the old and established Dickmans Road after Lester James who is a new comer ( as a tenant) to the area ! So lester’s patron was MR , the discredited despot, what a patron for an so called film producer.

    Both Lester James Pieris and Dinesh Gunawardena have a weakness for naming roads after them or their relatives. Just count the number of roads named after Philip Gunawardena and Robert Gunawardena . Once I counted more than 20 roads named Robert Gunawardena Mawatha between Kirrulapona and Homagama !

    Maybe we should name the raod leading to the parliament “Dinesh Gunawardena Mawatha” after a very pathetic left leader !

    • 3
      0

      “When Chandrika Kumaratunga was President Dinesh proposed that she be allocated some prime property near the Parliament for a private residence as a mark of gratitude for the huge service she did for the nation !!!!! “

      Absolutely , thanks very much for reminding this , i thought no body remembers this embarrassing boot licking story of Borolugoda Boru Sinhaya , for some strange reasons this 3 rd grade opportunistic hypocrite was spared from media exposure , time has come to undress this wheel dealer as Thunmulle Wimale.

  • 1
    0

    RANIL THE FOX WICKREMASINGHE WILL NEVER ALLOW MR.SAMPANTHAR TO BE ELECTED AS LEADER OF OPPOSITION.HE IS ANGREY WITH SAMPANTHAN FOR NOT ALLOWING HIM TO CONTEST AS PRESIDENTAL CANDIDATE AT THE LAST ELECTION.SAMPANTAR IS HAPPY TO DEAL WITH CHANDIRIKA AND THROUGH HER WITH MAITHIRI.EVEY TAMILIAN KNOWS HE(RANIL THE FOX) THROUH ALISAKILI MOULANA BROKE AWAY KARUAMYA AMMAN FROM LTTE.THIS IS THE REASON RANIL IS TRYING TO CREATE PROBLEM BETWEEN SAMPANTHAN AND NORTH CHIEF MINISTER USING HIS LATEST KARUNA VIDIYATHARAN AND HALF BAKED UNEDUCATED VIJAYAKALA MANENNAI MAHESWARAN.RANIL SHOUD REMEMBER THAT HIS PARTY WILL NEVER GET ABSOLUTE MAJORITY IN NEXT PARLIMENT WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF TAMILS.

  • 1
    1

    I think the writer is clearly ignoring a key point here. Parliament should represent a cross section of the population, and by that definition the opposition should represent the people in the country who did not vote for the present government.

    • 0
      1

      As opposition represents people who did not vote for the govt, opposition has to be SLFP.

  • 2
    1

    If a cross section of the people who did not vote for the present government is to be represented in parliament, what is the criteria that can be adopted to decide who their leader is to represent them when there is no other precedent other than for the leader of the party which has the numerical majority to be entitled as opposition leader of whatever party he may be of?

    When a majority section in the SLFP supports the RW government, how can those who are in a minority in that party claim leadership to the opposition, especially when there is another party which has a numerical higher majority entitled by parliamentary convention to claim opposition leadership like the TNA.

  • 0
    0

    With due respect to the author, Lal Wijenayake, the leader of the opposition as it means the ONE who enjoys the support of majority of MPs that form the opposition. It can only be determined by the opposition in an election among them. It is similar to the method the party in the government elect its leader, the prime minister.

    Why Ranil Wicremasinghe continues to be the PM is that there is not enough support to outs him by a no-confidence motion. Unusual things are happening the government because the previous president massaged the system to the extent of making all three arms of the government into one that was filled with corruption and frauds which the people – the electors – annulled and shocked him with defeat. This is the lesson he himself and any of his goons including the so-called leftists with hollowness must understand. He is very cautious because he does not jet how far his malpractices will be unearthed.

  • 0
    0

    It is already led to a wrong precedent by naming the Prime minister without having clear majority.

  • 0
    0

    It doesn’t matter as to who should be the opposition leader, because this unsteady and shaky government may not last long enough to do anything.

    These guys are busy washing the dirty linen of MR & thugs Co., My3 is traveling a lot. RW is ignoring CM Wiggie and having trouble talking to him. He’s also busy with central bank bond controversies and getting panicky about the election..They all have problems putting the strange bed fellows together and get some work done. MR goons are wasting time trying some trickery..
    Most of the political rascals, irrespective of party politics, are united together only in one thing..
    Squeezing, subjugating and marginalizing or if possible, eradicating the remaining Tamil race from the face of the Lankan earth.
    The humanistic , good hearted Sinhalese, the battered Tamils and the world communities have to just blink and watch the horror still continuing with impunity.

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