By Kelum Bandara
The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) yesterday pooh-poohed the idea of seeking the approval of people by a referendum to conduct a snap parliamentary election.
Addressing a press conference, SLPP Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris said a referendum would be non-binding and therefore would be a sheer waste of public funds. The government was not conducting elections that were mandatory, he said.
“They are attempting to conduct elections that are unconstitutional. The interesting fact is the move to hold a referendum with a view to dissolve Parliament for a general election prior to the presidential poll. This cannot be done,” he said.
He said the 19th Amendment to the Constitution prohibited the dissolution of Parliament up to four and a half years from the date of its first sitting. Otherwise it could be dissolved by adopting a resolution in Parliament with two-thirds, he said.
“We argued to the contrary last October, but was rejected by the Supreme Court. Then the law is clear. You can have referenda, but cannot dissolve Parliament. What is the purpose then? It is a futile attempt,” he said.