The Government is likely to boycott Parliament today as well to not to face the challenge posed by the motion handed over to the Secretary-General of Parliament by six UNF Parliamentarians on November 19, challenging the constitutionality of the purported Government of Mahinda Rajapaksa to utilise public finance.
The final decision whether to participate or not in the debate would be decided by the Parliamentary Group of the purported Government this morning, he added.
The motion against the purported Government is to be taken up for debate and vote today.
Cabinet Spokesman, Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told the weekly cabinet news briefing yesterday that the Government believed that the motion was sub-juice as it challenged a Constitutional issue that had been referred to the Supreme Court and also confronted the powers of the Executive President.
“We have repeatedly told the Opposition that to bring a No Faith Motion (NFM) adhering to Standing Orders and Parliamentary procedure. We have also told them not to challenge the authority of the President.
“What they have simply to say in the NFM is that the opposition does not have faith in the Prime Minister or the Government or both. They have not done that and this motion violates Standing Order and challenges the two Gazette notifications issued by President Sirisena and therefore, I don’t think we would participate in the debate tomorrow,” Minister Samarasinghe said.
He flatly rejected the suggestion by journalists that the purported Government of Mahinda Rajapaksa did not face the challenge or continuously boycott Parliament because the Government had the support of only 102 members, while the Opposition has the support of 122 members and added that the UNF as a political party had only the support of 101 members.
Minister Samarasinghe also refused to accept that the UNF commanded the support of the TNA and the JVP and added when the Vote on Account which was approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday is taken up for debate and approval, the Government was ready to show majority support (113) in Parliament.
Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa would decide the day for the debate and vote on the Vote on Account before the end of the year and requested journalists to wait and see.
Responding to the Daily Mirror, Minister Samarasinghe said a Presidential election was not necessary to gauge the public opinion in the electorate as demanded by the Opposition as the tenure of office of President Sirisena was to expire in January 2020. But a General Election could be held for the same purpose though the next General Election was scheduled to be held in August 2020.
Both Cabinet Spokesmen, Ministers Samarasinghe and Dayasiri Jayasekera refused to admit that the UNF led Opposition alliance had the confidence of the majority of members in Parliament with 122 votes out of 225 House and said the purported Government with 102 was ready to show the majority when the time came. But did not say when the time would come for the Government to show 113. (Sandun A Jayasekera)
Pix by Nisal Baduge