Attorney-at-law Srinath Perera who is contesting under the elephant symbol of the United National Party (UNP) led United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) spoke to dailymirror on the current political situation. ''I must say with all due respect that the ex CJ is saying different things at different times''
How do you gauge the pre-election pulse. Is it the same as that of the presidential election?
I genuinely feel that the UNP will be the party to win the most number of seats. I wouldn’t say whether it would be 113 minus or 113 plus, but we are certain to win the most number of seats.
On the point of the UNP being a minority government, you took up the position that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s appointment was Constitutional, however former Chief Justice Sarath Silva expressed a different point of view?
I must say with all due respect that the ex CJ is saying different things at different times, and in my view I think he was responsible for the sad plight the judiciary found itself in during his tenure as Chief Justice. There was a time when he supported Mahinda Rajapaksa and then he started saying things about him. Once again we find that he is with the Rajapaksa clan. He does not seem to not know what he is doing. To say it in a nutshell, I get the feeling that he is going round and round not knowing where he is. Secondly D.M Jayaratne was the head of the cabinet appointed by former President Rajapaksa. His rejection at the election in my view legally ends the term of office of the Rajapaksa Cabinet and Parliament comes to an end. There need not be a formal removal of the Prime Minister, Minister or MP. The President appointed the present Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and I believe that he had the discretion to do so that by the executive powers given to him by the Constitution. In my view it’s not that the former CJ does not understand this fact, but I think he is deliberately trying to misconstrue the law there and thereby he’s trying to make a point in favour of the former President.
What if there comes a situation where there is a Mahinda Rajapaksa led government at the end of the election? Then would they be justified in saying the proper procedure was not followed and remove the current CJ? Wouldn’t this circularity continue?
Possibly. That problem could arise, but as I see it that eventuality will never happen for the reason that I’m fairly sure that we will not see another Rajapaksa regime ruling this country hereinafter.
You seem fairly certain that Mahinda Rajapaksa would not be in command again. However under the supposition that the UPFA wins the election and commands a majority in Parliament, can President Maithripala Sirisena actually disallow Mahinda Rajapaksa from being the Prime Minister?
Well I feel that is a hypothetical question for the reason that, at a parliamentary election there is no contest for the post of premiership, firstly we have to wait and see whether the group that is with Mahinda Rajapaksa will be able to get a majority in Parliament.
In my view that will never happen. However, even if it happens, the President will have to decide who ought to be appointed as the Prime Minister and, Article 43 (3) of the Constitution clearly provides that the President shall appoint as Prime Minister the Member of Parliament who in his opinion is most likely to command the majority in Parliament. Just now Mahinda Rajapaksa is a candidate like myself, seeking election to Parliament - he’s not a Prime Ministerial candidate, therefore one cannot make any assumptions at this stage as to what ought to be done by President Maithripala Sirisena because we will have to wait and see how Parliament is going to be constituted and what would be the wishes of those members of Parliament who form the government then. Thereafter one has to consider which of these several MP’s elected is likely to command the confidence of Parliament. Therefore I consider that at this stage nobody has the right to make decisions in relation to who ought to be appointed as the Prime Minister when the next Parliament sits.
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