By Sadun A. Jayasekera
The government will gradually relax the Emergency Regulations and totally lift the regulations by the end 2011, Cabinet Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.
Addressing the weekly cabinet briefing he said the phasing out and the lifting of the emergency had nothing to do with the pressure exerted by any outside powers as the security and administration of Sri Lanka is entirely a domestic responsibility of the government.
Asked whether last Thursday’s US House Foreign Relations Committee resolution to ban development aid unless Sri Lanka lift emergency regulations had any bearing on the government’s decision, Minister Rambukwella replied by saying ‘absolutely not’.
“The US action also was a domestic issue of that country. We do not take issues of other countries when we arrive on our decisions. Besides, it was this government that relaxed emergency regulations gradually while all other regimes used emergency to rule the country,” he stressed.
Commenting on the positive side of the emergency regulations, Minister Rambukwella said the conduct of elections to local government authorities where international cricket stadiums were located was postponed on the request of National Democratic Front member Parliamentarian Arjuna Ranataunga on the ground that elections may affect world cup limited over tournament cricket matches.
“By postponing elections under emergency regulations on the request of an opposition member, we strengthened democracy,” Minister Rambukwella emphasized.
He added that elections will have to be held for the remaining 23 municipal and urban councils immediately after the lifting of emergency regulations and the government was ready for that. (Daily Mirror)