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As UVA PC polls approach Joint opposition voice for abolition of Executive presidency

30 July 2014 08:58 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem was under fire from President Mahinda Rajapaksa in recent times, particularly after he made a salvo at the government over the outbreak of communal riots in Aluthgama, Beruwala and adjacent villages.
The Minister, however received Ramazan greetings from President Mahinda Rajapaksa on July 29, and the two had a cordial chat. But, the President once again has complained about a speech made by Minister Hakeem, now crestfallen with the government over issues concerning the Muslims.  In fact, the President wanted to inquire about it from Mr. Hakeem. The wvery same day, Senior Minister A.H.M. Fowzie was to host the President at his residence for a Ramazan feast.  Minister Hakeem was to attend it, and the duo decided to meet at Mr. Fowzie’s house and discuss it.
The President inquired about the speech made by Mr. Hakeem at a public gathering in Addalachchenai, a Muslim majority area on the coastal belt of the Ampara district. The speech was critical of the government, and the President had got wind of what those remarks were.
“I only said there were at least six more months for a major election for us to take a decision. In politics, six months is a long period.  During this time, a lot of things can happen. That is the crux of what I said,” Mr. Hakeem explained to the President.  Earlier, the President even asked Mr. Hakeem to quit the government if he wished to.






Vasu confronts Hakeem

Besides, at the last Cabinet meeting, National Languages and Social Integration Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara took on Mr. Hakeem over what he called ‘discrepancies and irregularities’ at Sri Lanka Law College.  In the exam process, Minister Nanayakkara charged that the examinations were conducted only in English medium though students could follow their lectures in Sinhala, Tamil and English. Calling this a gross violation of the language rights of individuals guaranteed in the Constitution, he vowed to take legal action against the move citing the Minister as a respondent.  

The issue was raised once in Parliament. And, it has now made its way to the Cabinet with a few government ministers taking an interest in pursuing it. Followed by Mr. Nanayakkara, several ministers such as Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Dilan Perea, who are lawyers by profession, opined against the move.
 


EPRLF pushes for TNA registration

Tamil National Alliance (TNA), an amalgam of a few Tamil parties, is yet to be registered as a separate political entity apportioning responsibilities to each of its alliance partners. Earlier, at a meeting held in Trincomalee, a committee comprising representatives from each party was appointed to work for the registration of the TNA as a recognised political party with the Elections Commissioner.

However, the process has not yielded yet. In particular, Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) led by MP Suresh Premachandran is concerned about this delay. This party, founded by K. Pathmanabha, had its convention    recently, and adopted a resolution calling for the expedition of this process.

The resolution says, “It was decided at a TNA meeting held in Trincomalee presided by TNA leader R. Sampanthan to register the TNA with the Elections Commissioner and a committee was appointed to take forward the registration process. But it appears there was no progress in the process. This convention urges the TNA leadership to expedite this registration process.


The President inquired about the speech made by Mr. Hakeem at a public gathering in Addalachchenai, a Muslim majority area on the coastal belt of the Ampara district. The speech was critical of the government, and the President had got wind of what those remarks were


In addition, the EPRLF adopted several other key resolutions, mainly calling for action on the withdrawal of the military from the north and resettlement of displaced civilians under the supervision of a UN body.
One resolution says, “After the civil war ended in 2009, the Sri Lankan President and the United Natation’s General  Secretary  Ban Ki Moon  released a joint statement  agreeing to resettle all the affected people in one year in their original  places of residence. But five years have lapsed and the resettlement was not completed, and no attempt has been made to address the issue of accountability.  Displaced people from Valikamam North and Valikamam East in the Jaffna district and many villages including Paravipanchan in the Kilinochchi district, many villages in Mullaitivu including Keppapilavu, many villages in the Mannar district including Mullikulam, many villages in the Vavuniya district and many villages like Kariamadu, Karunkaliadicholai and Sampur in the Batticaloa and Trincomalee district, are not yet resettled in their homes. It is resolved to call upon the UN Secretary General in accordance with the agreement with the Sri Lankan President and as per the UN Guidelines on IDPs, to appoint a special rapporteur to monitor and expedite the process of resettlement”.
 

 

Sampanthan asks for autonomy sans defence and foreign affairs

Mr. Sampanthan, in his address, said his party was striving for ‘regional autonomy’, sans powers on Defence and foreign affairs.    He emphasised that his party had given up secessionism as a solution to the national question.  Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran emphasised the need for what he termed a ‘Tamil National Council’ to lobby for their rights in partnership with all concerned.  At the convention, he, along with political leaders such as Mr. Premachandran and Democratic People’s Front leader Mano Ganeshan urged the need to team up with what they called the ‘progressive forces’ in the south for a common platform to struggle for their political rights.

New Left Front leader Dr. Vickramabahu Karunarathna and Socialist Left Front leader Siritunga Jayasuriya also attended this convention in support of the cause espoused by these Tamil leaders.
 

 

Chandrika, Shirani B and SF on common platform against executive presidency




Impeached Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake has joined the bandwagon of the parties and individuals campaigning for the abolition of the executive presidency.  Recently, she, along with former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and former Army Commander, was seen at a forum organised by the National Movement for a Just Society led by Ven. Maduluwave Sobhitha Thera.  Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, TNA leader R. Sampanthan and JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti were also among the participants.  

The participation of Ms. Bandaranayake and Mr. Fonseka holds special significance because both of them were hounded by the executive. After the event, Ms. Bandaranayake conversed with the political leaders and representatives, and remarked that she was against the executive presidency in principle.

Parliament voted to impeach Ms. Bandaranayake from office as the Chief Justice in January, 2013 over accusation of corruption allegations which she denied.

The former President was late for the function, and the seat assigned for her next to Mr. Wickremesinghe in the front row remained vacant for a while. The UNP National Organiser Daya Gamage occupied this seat in the meantime. But, he rose from it and went for a seat in the back row when she arrived.


JVP unlikely to patch up with Ven. Sobhitha Thera

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), a political force to reckon with, is unlikely to be a part of a political movement led by Ven. Sobhitha Thera in view of the next Presidential Election. The JVP leadership believes that Ven. Sohitha Thera’s exercise is aimed at the abolition of the executive presidency only, but it cannot confine itself to a process with a single interest. Instead, JVP is mooting the idea for a political formation that is intended for an overhaul change in the entire social, economic and political structure.   For it, the abolition of the executive presidency is only one aspect in a broad approach.
 


Mervin visits Anura Kumara at hospital

JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake met with an accident on Monday on the Ratnapura- Panadura road. First, he was rushed to the Ratnapura General Hospital. Later, he was transferred to the Colombo National Hospital. Among those who visited him at the hospital were Public Relations and Public Affairs Minister Mervin Silva. Besides, Mr. Wickremesinghe, Mr. Fonseka and JHU MP Ven. Athuraliye Ratana Thera were also among those who went to the hospital to see him.


‘Animal of Puttalam’ forces UNP to boycott SPC session

The UNP group of the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council boycotted the session for ten minutes recently as a mark of protest. UNP Councillor I.M. Yehiya embroiled himself in a heated argument with Provincial Minister Athula Kumara Rahubadda during the session. At one point, Mr. Rahubadda was so furious that he called Mr. Yehiya a ‘Puttalam Booruwa’ (the ass of Puttalam), a derogatory remark   in the Sinhala language.
As a mark of protest, the entire group of the UNP boycotted the session. Later, Mr. Rahubadda apologised and retracted his remark.    

Provincial Council Chairman Kanchana Jayaratne expunged all such derogatory remarks from the Hansard report. However, Opposition Leader Hasitha Muhandiram commonly known as ‘Sarpaya’ said the Chairman remained all this while without trying to stop Mr. Rahubadda from making such insulting remarks even comparing a public representative to a beast.  After that, he, along with other members, staged a walkout. But, Chief Minister Mahipala Herath took steps to carry out the council’s business scheduled for the day despite the absence of the UNP.


Sannasgala to enter politics

Popular tuition master Upul Santha Sannasgala is trying to enter politics, according to sources close to the UNP. As a step directed in this regard, he invited UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to address students at his private tuition class in Nugegoda on Monday.  
Mr. Sannasgala tried to become the UNP chief ministerial candidate for the election to the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council in 2008. However, he backed down later. Mr. Wickremesinghe gave a piece of advice to the students of Mr. Sannasgala. He asked them to pursue education at any cost.
 


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