No previous govt had such overwhelming two-thirds majority-retired armed forces rep
War veteran reminds opposition of its responsibility
by Shamindra Ferdinando
Former UPFA Southern Provincial Council member and convenor of an organisation representing the interests of the armed forces, yesterday said that the UNP-SLFP coalition was meant to achieve a two-thirds majority in parliament.
Maj. Prasanna described accommodating TNA leader R. Sampanthan, MP, as the leader of the Opposition as a key element in the joint UNP-SLFP strategy.
Prasanna had been with the Sixth battalion of the Sinha Regiment (6SR) at the time of his discharge consequent to injuries suffered in a major confrontation in the Jaffna peninsula in early 90s.
Attorney-at-law Prasanna said that the UNP could have easily engineered much more than the required number of crossovers to form the next government. The UNP needed just six seats to achieve a simple majority in parliament, Maj. Prasanna said.
In spite of the displeasure of some UNP members, the top leaderships had entered into a marriage of convenience with the SLFP to ensure that the Maithripala Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration received magic two-thirds majority in parliament, Prasanna said.
The UNP received 106 seats plus one SLMC seat whereas the SLFP-led UPFA obtained 95 seats.
Maj. Prasanna said that with the TNA and the JVP having 16 and five seats, respectively, in addition to the EPDP, too, extending its support to the Maithripala-Wickremesinghe administration, the administration had the wherewithal to overcome any democratic obstacle in parliament.
The former PC member alleged that no previous government had such a menacing and overwhelming majority in parliament.
The Major warned that the government would now seek to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution imposed on the then JRJ government by India.
Retired Supreme Court judge and Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran would soon receive both police and land powers, Maj. Prasanna said.
That would be nothing but an affront to those officers and men who fought the LTTE to guarantee the unitary status of the country, the former soldier said.
Commenting on second day’s proceedings in Parliament, Maj. Prasanna said that TNA leader did not mince his words when he declared his intention to divide the country into several regions. The retired officer appreciated the TNA leader for publicly discussing what his grouping wanted to achieve in the near future.
Now that the parliament had recognised Trincomalee District MP Sampathan as the Opposition Leader, those in the genuine Opposition should fearlessly voice their concerns, Maj. Prasanna said.
The rights activist urged Opposition members to be mindful of their responsibility. The former President whatever his shortcomings, always accommodated the left parties in the UPFA, Maj. Prasanna said. However, President Maithripala Sirisena had deprived left parties of an opportunity to enter parliament, hence creating an extremely dangerous situation, he said. The SLFP couldn’t be trusted to act reasonably if it operated on its own, Maj. Prasanna said, adding that the situation would have been the same under Mahinda Rajapaksa in case left parties were denied a role in the UPFA.
Western powers wouldn’t have any issue with this set up, therefore those who had been demanding good governance were likely to take a back seat, Maj. Prasanna said.