Sri Lanka: The incumbent government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa denied allegations that appointing the former President as Prime Minister was unconstitutional and unlawful.Government spokesmen said the disparity on the interpretation of the constitution has led to misgiving.
Addressing the first cabinet briefing, United People’s Freedom Alliance spokespersons, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe and MP Keheliya Rambukwella rejected claims that the country has been cast into anarchy adding that the conferment of a prime minister position was done in accordance with the constitution.
“There is a disparity in the English translation of Clause 48 (1) of the constitution which has led many to believe the appointment of the Prime Minister is unconstitutional,” said Minister Samarasinghe reading out the English and Sinhala texts. “Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe seems to have forgotten to refer to the Sinhala text. According to the Sinhala one, appointment of former President Rajapaksa is in keeping with the law and in a court of law the Sinhala text prevails.”
Minister Samarasinghe said that on Friday (27), General Secretary of the UPFA had written to the Speaker of their intention to exit the coalition government.
“When the party with the majority leaves the coalition, cabinet is dissolved by default. The position of the PrimeMinister who is part of the cabinet becomes redundant and falls vacant.”
MP Keheliya Rambukwella said that the President has exercised his rights in accordance with the law which was followed by two gazette notifications making it legally binding.
“Who is causing the most unrest and instability? If the UNP wishes to seek redress they should do so either through Supreme Court or Parliament without bringing people on to the streets.” Minister Samarasinghe said Speaker Karu Jayasuriya had emailed Additional Solicitor General Dappula de Livera on Saturday seeking a clarification to which the latter had replied quoting two gazette notifications and Clause 48 (1) of the constitution.