Opposition Moves No-Confidence Motion Against Speaker Over Online Security Bill Debacle

In a dramatic turn of events during the Parliamentary Committee on Online Security Bills, the opposition has launched a formidable challenge against Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, alleging grave violations of parliamentary norms and the constitution.

Led by opposition leader Mr Sajith Premadasa, a coalition of opposition parliamentarians including M. A. Sumanthiran, Laxman Kiriella, G. L. Peiris, Tissa Attanayake, Chandima Weerakkodi, and Shan Vijayalal de Silva, among others, have signed a motion of no-confidence against Speaker Abeywardena.

The motion contends that the Speaker allowed the passage of certain clauses of the online security bill in disregard of rulings by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, thus breaching the trust of the Parliament and the Constitution. Sections 13, 17, 20, 33(6), 34(1), 35(1), 21, 22, and 31 of the bill were particularly highlighted, where suggestions from the Supreme Court were allegedly ignored.

Moreover, concerns were raised over the Speaker’s conduct during the bill’s third reading, where a request for a clear division was reportedly ignored, leading to its passage without a proper vote.

Opposition leader Premadasa emphasized that despite repeated attempts to address these grievances both within and outside the chamber, the Speaker consistently dismissed their proposals, prompting the motion of no-confidence.

Speaking to the media after the motion was lodged, Premadasa asserted that the Speaker’s actions amounted to a deliberate violation of constitutional principles, undermining the sanctity of the legislative process. He underscored the importance of upholding the supremacy of the law and ensuring that ordinances are passed by due process as outlined in the Constitution.

The motion of no-confidence is expected to be a subject of intense deliberation in the upcoming party leaders’ meeting, with significant implications for Speaker Abeywardena’s tenure.

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