By Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana
More than 20 expenditure heads including the President’s expenditure head were unanimously passed without a vote yesterday in Parliament amidst much anxiety and apprehension.
The reason for the tension were threats made by UNP back-benchers during the debate that they cannot approve billions of rupees for President Sirisena because of the decision he took on October 26, 2018 to oust Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replace him with present Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa.
MPs including Hirunika Premachandra, Mujibur Rahaman, Thushara Indunil and Chaminda Wijesiri had stated that they cannot vote for the President’s expenditure head according to their conscience.
Discussions were going on among UNP seniors and back-benchers even during the closing stages of the debate. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Ministers Sajith Premadasa and Daya Gamage were seen talking to MP Chaminda Wijesiri around an hour before the debate ended.
Mr. Wijesiri called for a division but Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella informed the Speaker that a division was not necessary. Speaker Jayasuriya then announced that the expenditure heads are approved by the House. At the same time he said the objections of MPs who backed the division would also be noted.
MPs Hirunika Premachandra, Mujibur Rahaman, Chaminda Wijesiri left the chambers as soon as the Leader of the House rose to speak.