SLFP, JHU unhappy; Ganeshan and alliance gearing up for elections:
The dissolution of Parliament may have been long-awaited, but some major and minor political parties are not so happy about it.The SLFP is unhappy, according to one party senior, because of the failure by the government to ensure the 20th Amendment to the Constitution is passed into law during this Parliament. Among the small parties, the JHU is also unhappy over the failure to legislate the 20th Amendment. However, another coalition of small and ethnic minority parties, the Assembly of Minority and Minor Parties (AMMP), appear unfazed by the sudden announcement and are already planning for the polls.
Following are comments from the parties.
Senior Vice President of the SLFP, W.D.J. Senewiratne, said his party was not in favour of the dissolution because as they had been assured the 20th Amendment would be adopted and the COPE Sub-Committee report on the Central Bank Bond issue would be tabled in Parliament before any dissolution.
“We didn’t expect Parliament to be dissolved before these two matters were taken up. Now both of those essential matters have lapsed owing to the dissolution,” he said, explain that the 20th Amendment was essential because there might not be another opportunity to change the electoral system.
He said that when the 19th Amendment was being discussed, an undertaking been given that the same priority would be given for the passage of the 20th Amendment.
“But that was not done by the UNP as pledged,” he said, alleging that since the very beginning, the UNP had been trying to avoid the passage of the 20th Amendment. “Not only that, certain minor parties were also impressed upon by the UNP to oppose the 20th Amendment,” he said.
Senewiratne said the draft on the 20th had been discussed for a very long time and several committees had also been appointed to deal with it. Nevertheless, owing to the adhoc proposals and objections by some small parties, the Bill didn’t see the light of the day, he said.
He also pointed out that the COPE Sub-Committee had been appointed on the direction of the Speaker, to investigate the Central Bank bond issue and submit a report within two weeks.
“The COPE committee failed to submit its report even on June 26 after a lapse of over one month,” he said, accusing the UNP of wanting to evade both these key issues and hence the decision to dissolve the Parliament.
Displeased with the decision to dissolve the Parliament, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Spokesperson and National Organiser, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said it was not the time for the people to figure out who really betrayed them.
“The major promises made during the Presidential campaign have not been completed. The Government assured that electoral reforms will be established before heading for elections. It did not happen,” Warnasinghe said, adding that the Government had not been able pass the complete 19th Amendment and had failed to establish a right to information. Failure to set up a Constitutional Council he said had put the establishment of the nine independent commissions on pause.
Despite their displeasure over the dissolution of Parliament, Warnasinghe said the JHU will continue planning their party campaign.
Questioned as to how the JHU plans to contest the forthcoming elections, Warnasinghe said the party will take a decision soon. Adversely commenting on the failures of the present Government to establish good governance as promised he said it was the people’s chance to clearly understand who betrayed them and elect politicians with value and vision and form an honourable Parliament.
Assembly of Minority and Minor Parties and Democratic People’s Party
Explaining his plans on contesting the August 17parliamentary elections, convener of the Assembly of Minority and Minor Parties (AMMP), Democratic People’s Party (DPP) leader and Western PC member Mano Ganeshan said their three-party alliance, the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA), would work as one party on contesting the elections and all related matters.
He worked in the forefront, together with others, to make UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe the Prime Minister and, therefore, the TPA would hold discussions with him to consider the possibilities of forming a broader alliance to contest the elections. In the context that the other two constituents of the TPA – the National Union of Workers (NUW) led by Minister P. Thikambaram and the Up-country People’s Front (UPF) led by State Minister V. Radhakrishnan – supported President Maithripala Sirisena in the last Presidential elections, the TPA would also hold discussions with the SLFP led by President Maithripala and they have already received an invitation, he said.
The discussions would most probably take place tomorrow and the day after, Mano Ganeshan said.