Despite the seriousness of allegations regarding the deterioration of the health service in the country with the influx of subpar medicines, corruption and frauds, Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella survived a no-confidence motion against him in Parliament yesterday.
The government defeated the motion with 113 votes to 73, signalling that it commands the majority against the combined strength of the opposition.
The opposition moved the no-confidence motion taking the minister to task, and it was debated for three days with arguments and counterarguments across the divide of Parliament.
The recent deaths of patients due to allergic reactions developed after medication at some state hospitals were highlighted by the opposition legislators in justifying their attempt to unseat the minister from office. Nevertheless, the ruling side legislators harped on arguments put forward by their opponents in the House, saying one cannot single-handedly slander the minister for the current ills of the health sector. According to them, the present crisis is a result of the economic downfall, for which a single minister cannot be held responsible.
When a motion of this nature is taken up for a vote in the House, the government cannot decide solely on the merits of the opposition’s move, politically speaking. In the event of defeat over such a motion, it will reflect badly on the collective strength of the government in securing a majority. In case of defeat, the government’s stability will be jolted, leading to further crises in the days, weeks and months to come depending on unfolding political circumstances. However, there is public concern over the crumbling health sector, with some civil movements calling for his resignation even.(Yohan Perera)