Ranil heading to replace the constituent assembly with his own assembly!
Namal is the best actor of the week!
Do thugs come to parliament or do they transform into thugs inside the parliament?
Tension in parliament
Tensions flared in Parliament as the focal point of current political discourse revolves around the Supreme Court’s verdict implicating Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Basil Rajapaksa, and Mahinda Rajapaksa in actions contributing to the nation’s financial crisis. Last week, opposition leader Mr Sajith Premadasa and the Samagi Jana Balawegaya advocated for the recovery of compensation from the Rajapaksas in alignment with the court’s decision. With no immediate legal consequences for the Rajapaksa trio, SJB leaders underscored the need for a nationwide movement to ensure accountability. Their initial strategy involved initiating this battle within the parliamentary arena, given the ongoing budget debate. Opposition leader Mr Sajith Premadasa aimed to deliver a significant statement on this matter during Tuesday’s parliamentary session.
Because this statement was to be made under Standing Order 27/2, it is customary for it to be placed on the Parliament’s agenda. As a result, Sajith included all of the information about his speech in the Parliament’s agenda. Sajith had also taken steps to do it in writing the day before, that is, before 12 noon on Monday.
Katagoda ignite matters!
Subsequently, Mr Jayantha Katagoda, a national list MP affiliated with Pohottuwa, attended the Tuesday morning session in Parliament. Upon reviewing the day’s agenda, Katagoda observed that Sajith was gearing up to deliver a speech targeting the Rajapaksa family. Recognizing the potential for an attack on Mahinda Rajapaksa, Katagoda promptly relayed this information to the Pohottuwa head office at Nelum Mawatha.
The announcement stirred a sudden commotion at the Pohottu office. Upon inquiry from the head office, Katagoda indicated that a significant number of Pohottuwa MPs were absent from Parliament that day. In response, an immediate operation was initiated from Nelum Mawatha. The plan involved contacting all backbench MPs affiliated with Pohottuwa and instructing them to rush to Parliament without delay. Simultaneously, backbench MPs from Nelum Mawatha were informed to stage a protest if Sajith attempted to launch an attack on Mahinda or the Rajapaksa family that day. Consequently, Pohottuwa was prepared to counter if Sajith indeed proceeded with an offensive move against Mahinda on that particular day.
However, neither Sajith nor Samagi Jana Balavegaya were aware of this. As is customary, Sajith began delivering the prepared speech to Parliament. The group of MPs from SJB was seated as usual that day, as the budget was scheduled to be voted on for the second time that evening. As a result, under Standing Order 27/2, Sajith began presenting his statement and submitted a proposal to Parliament that the Supreme Court abolish the citizenship rights of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Basil Rajapaksa, and others because it was their decisions that led to the country’s bankruptcy.
It was at this time that Nelum Mawatha’s instructions to Pohottu the Prime Minister began to be implemented. As Sajith started his speech and proceeded, there was opposition from Pohottu councillors, but as soon as Sajith suggested that the civic rights of the Rajapaksa should be abolished, the Pohottu councillors broke the standing orders and came to the table of the opposition leader and started shouting and protesting. The Pohottu MPs who were present there were State Ministers Sanath Nishantha, Tissa Kuttiarachchi, Jagath Samarawickrama, and D. Weerasinghe. Significantly it was seen here the presence of the current Minister of State Prasanna Ranaweera, who was accused of contributing to several unpleasant incidents witnessed in Parliament during the 52-day coup in 2018. On that day, Prasanna was accused of carrying chilli powder and throwing it at the ruling party in the middle of the assembly hall. Later, when checking the video clips, it was clearly seen how Prasanna Ranaweera was walking in the assembly hall hiding a cup.
Sajith gets surrounded
Accordingly, when this group came in front of Sajith, realizing that something could happen, Parliament employees including Sergeant at Arms Narendra Fernando immediately stood in front of Sajith to protect him. Also, Nalin Bandara, who went to the back row at that time, took steps to videotape everything that was happening and broadcast it live on his Facebook page.
However, it was after that everyone saw a series of events that had never been seen for the first time in the history of the Parliament. State Minister Sanath Nishantha, who was right in front of Sajith, shouted in protest, but Sajith decided to continue his speech. Although the speaker informed the ministers of the ruling party on several occasions to go to their seats, they did not seem to take any notice of it. Accordingly, Sanath Nishantha immediately grabbed the file containing the speech that Sajith was reading and interrupted Sajith’s speech.
Since the speaker was also watching this incident, Sajith immediately submitted his complaint to the speaker and informed him that immediate action should be taken against Sanath Nishantha who stole his speech and file. But since the situation had heated up by that time, the speaker said that he would investigate the incident and announce his decision later.
But here Sajith took steps to bring a special incident to the Speaker’s attention. That is how the speaker banned Mr Mannapperuma from Parliament for a month due to a protest by SJB MP Ajith Mannapperuma in front of the chair a few weeks ago. Therefore, Sajith brought to the Speaker’s attention that strict action should be taken against Sanath Nishantha and the Pohottu group, who stole a file of the opposition leader which happened for the first time in history, But the speaker continued to say that he would announce the verdict after checking everything.
However, the second reading of the budget was held that evening, and there were 122 votes in favour of the budget and 77 votes against the budget. Sanath Nishantha, who was accused of stealing Sajith’s file and the group of Pohottuwa MPs also voted in favour of the budget that day.
However, the speaker made two special announcements after the commencement of parliamentary proceedings on Tuesday. The first announcement was to announce that it is forbidden to videotape the proceedings in the council. In the second announcement, it was announced that State Minister Sanath Nishantha will be banned from Parliament for two weeks due to his indiscipline behaviour the previous day. But it was special that the speaker did not take disciplinary action against any other MP.
Here’s what happened
Accordingly, on Tuesday, Sajith once again took steps to present a full description of this incident to Parliament. That was after checking the videotapes that included all the events that happened the previous day. Accordingly, Sajith said that the file containing the letter in his hand was first snatched by Sanath Nishantha and then given to the MP Jagath Samarawickrama. After that, Sajith said that MP Weerasinghe got hold of the file and then State Minister Prasanna Ranaweera took it to the desk of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the House. However, Sajith pointed out to the speaker that although the sergeant at arms took steps to bring the relevant file to him, he did not even touch it because it was obvious at first glance that several important articles were missing.
Moreover, Sajith took steps to table the photos and video of the MPs related to this incident at that moment. Jagath Samarawickrama, Sajith said that action should be taken against the group including Weerasinghe, Prasanna Ranaweera and that according to the standing orders, Sections 1, 2 and 4, 6 of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Chapter, Sections 1, 2 and 4, 6 have explained how MPs should behave, and Section 92 (1) B He also draw the Speaker’s attention to the fact that it is emphasized that ‘no Member of Parliament should pass through the Parliament Chamber’. In his speech, Sajith also informed the Speaker that it is not acceptable for Sanath Nishantha alone to be banned from the Parliament for 2 weeks when the MP Ajith Mannapperuma came in front of the chair and protested a few weeks ago he was banned for 4 weeks.
Another heated argument
However, less than 24 hours after the country’s attention was focused on the heated situation between Sanath Nishantha and opposition leader Sajith on Monday and Tuesday, due to another heated conversation, the country once again saw how Sajith was being talked about very highly. It started with a very heated conversation between the President and Sajith on Wednesday. On that day, Sajith received a message from the government saying that the President is ready to come to the Parliament to debate the President’s budget and that he is planning to make a speech accusing the opposition there. Accordingly, Sajith was ready to answer the President’s speech at that moment.
However, the President was ready to make this speech in the final session. There too, the president had planned to come to the assembly and launch a serious attack on Sajith and the opposition. On that day too, Sajith was ready to answer because he had received this information in advance, but Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe decided to highlight an issue over cricket in the Parliament, but the President did not make his speech and stayed in his office in the Parliament. We reported this incident in the ‘Inside Politics’ column that week.
However, Sajith had not received any clear information about what the President was going to say when he came to Parliament on Wednesday. So Sajith listened carefully to the President while he was delivering his speech without interrupting. Note the points to be answered at that moment. The President began his speech by saying that some people acted excessively in the early hours of the Parliament. The President said that the people have sent MPs to Parliament not to act but to enact laws and said that they can go to the streets and act.
The case number is incorrect
In his speech, the President presented the case to the Parliament, which included the case number that Sajith had mentioned against the Rajapaksa family. But according to that number, the President presented a case belonging to another person in Mullaitivu area. On Tuesday, the President brought the case file with Sajith’s case number to him due to a notification to the President from Pohottwa’s side that Sajith had made a mistake when referring to the case number. Accordingly, Ranil’s plan was to embarrass Sajith by reading the case in Parliament. In that way, when Ranil was reading the case in his speech, Pohottu ministers were seen laughing and clapping their hands as if mocking.
After that, last week, when the President presented a photograph to Parliament by Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe, the opposition leader also responded to the question asked by the Sports Minister, ‘Who is in the middle of that picture?’ The President said that he was in the middle of the picture with the President of the Court of Appeal and Mr Rakava and that he had nothing to hide.
However, when the President was making this speech, Sajith was seen patiently listening to it without any interruption. Also, Sajith watched with a smile how the Pohottu MPs were ‘chun’ and hissing when the President attacked him. Accordingly, as soon as the President finished his speech, Sajith, who stood up, began to reply to the President in his presence in a way that no one expected. It was noteworthy that Sajith answered the President’s accusations in a diplomatic manner with great restraint.
Answers one by one
Sajith first began humbly admitting his mistake in referring to the verdict regarding the Rajapaksa family. Saying that the last digit was wrong when mentioning the case number, Sajith mentioned the case number correctly by adding a subtle sarcasm that the president had given a ‘stupid glee’ to the MPs in Pohottuwa. Sajith also started in his speech by requesting the President to listen till the end of his answer to the President’s speech.
Accordingly, Sajith made his answer by taking the President’s accusations one by one, leaving no room for anyone to say ‘hmm’. When Sajith gave his reply speech, at times in a quiet tone and another time in a sharp tone, the President tried to respond to it, but Sajith said, ‘Mr. President, I did not interrupt you. So don’t interrupt my speech. Sajith tried to keep the President silent by saying, reply later…’. Also, on two occasions, the President tried to get up from his chair, but on both occasions, Sajith stopped the President and continued his speech.
This is the photograph
Sajith also took steps to explain the photo that the President said. Sajith said that it is true that when the sports minister was presenting a photo to Parliament, he asked who was in the middle of that photo, but that photo was not the one with the president and the judges, but a different photo. Sajith claimed that someone had shown the wrong photo to the President and gave him a rope. In the photo, he said Shammi Silva was in the middle of the photo and that he was going to show that photo. Sajith also said that he will also table the photo for the President’s information.
Give cricket letters
Then Sajith finally answered what the President talked about cricket. There, Sajith said that Shammi Silva, as the chairman of the Cricket Institute, had sent three letters to the International Cricket Council asking to ban cricket in Sri Lanka. There, the President said that if he gets those letters, he can look into them and deal with them. Sajith immediately turned to the Secretary General of the Parliament and said that the three letters that he tabled should be sent to the President and that the relevant letters were published in the newspapers of the Vijaya Group of Newspapers belonging to the President’s family. (Vijay Newspaper Company is a company owned by Ruwan Wijayawardena, the President’s cousin.) However, after giving this answer, the President got up from his seat and left the House. There, Sajith said, ‘Please don’t go, President. I didn’t finish my speech, and I left after listening to this.
Kudos from all over
However, after the President’s attack on Sajith, and Sajith’s response, the style and diplomacy maintained at that time became impressive to all those present in the House. Even MPs from other parties who were outside the assembly at that moment saw Sajith’s reply to the President’s accusations on television. That is why they also came to the assembly immediately and watched Sajith’s reply to the President without batting an eye. A common point that many people said there was that ‘Sajith made a perfect face for the President’. Sajith’s response touched the audience so much that as soon as the speech was over, everyone came and surrounded Sajith and congratulated him by saying ‘Good speech’. Harsha de Silva was the first to congratulate. Harsha said that this is the best speech of yours that I have seen. Apart from Harsha, M.A. Sumanthiran representing the Tamil Alliance, Gajan Ponnambalam representing the Tamil Congress and several Muslim MPs also came to Sajith to congratulate him, because many people who saw Sajith’s speech live and on news broadcasts on that day, Sajith’s phone did not have rest until late night.
An emergency meeting
On Wednesday, with the emergence of Sajith undermining the President in the Parliament, many people had pointed out to the President’s side that they should somehow attack Sajith in the Parliament. Accordingly, the President must have come to the Parliament on Thursday with that idea in mind.
However, an emergency party leadership meeting was called at 11 am. In this emergency party leader meeting, it was announced to discuss new rules to be made regarding the behaviour of MPs, and to discuss the preparation of ordinances regarding the allowances given to the judges of this country when they leave to serve in international institutions. Accordingly, the opposition leader, who was in the council on Thursday morning, attended this emergency party leader’s meeting at 1:00 am. Around 11 o’clock it was seen that he left the council. The president entered the council only a few minutes after Sajith left the council. After Sajith’s departure, the President, who came to the council, began to launch a strong attack targeting the non-approval of the Inspector General of Police’s extension of service and the non-approval of the appointments of court judges by the Constituent Assembly.
A call to Sajith
Mr. Chandima Weerakkodi, who was present in the House, immediately called Sajith and informed him of this when the President started attacking the opposition and the Legislative Council in this manner when Sajith was not in the House. Accordingly, Sajith immediately informed the rest of the representatives of the party leaders’ meeting about this and proceeded to leave the party leaders’ meeting informing them that the president would come to the assembly and lay charges against the opposition and the legislative assembly. Along with Sajith, several SJB MPs also stopped the party leaders’ meeting and took steps to join the council. When Sajith arrived, he immediately asked the President if it was reported that the President had stated certain things in the Assembly while he was in the party leaders’ meeting, and to present the question now.
On Wednesday, the president started his speech in English because of the inconvenience caused by Sajith’s reply in Sinhala language. Accordingly, the President pointed out that there is a vacancy for a member due to the problem of representation of minor parties in the Legislative Council, and pointed out that due to this, a serious situation has arisen where the Inspector General of Police or judges cannot be appointed. Answering the President’s accusation in English at that moment, Sajith said that two names had been submitted for the representative of the minor party, and the choice of one of them was a matter related to the speaker. Therefore, Sajith said in English that the speaker should answer that question. It was also seen that the argument dragged on for a long time.
The argument is in English
When Sajith was answering the President in English, some MPs from the back bench of the ‘pot’ started shouting and interrupting Sajith. There, Sajith told the President to immediately take measures to silence your disciples, and that this is not the tradition of the ‘Madamulana’ or the culture of the ‘Madamulana’. It was seen that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was present in the House at the time tried to answer Sajith there, Sajith said, ‘No, no, don’t worry. Don’t jump in the middle. We will solve this…’ he said.
The President debated with Sajith in Sinhala on the first day and on the second day also debated with Sajith in English was a matter of discussion among many people present.
After that, it was reported to the opposition in advance that the President would come to the Parliament on Friday and to make a special statement. Sajith had scheduled to provide a friendly classroom to the Avissawella Kandugoda school that evening, but when it was reported that the President would come and speak at the Parliament, Sajith cancelled the event and was ready to answer the President’s speech. However, it was witnessed president left the assembly with several MPs after commenting on several incidents that happened during the struggle. Although Sajith requested the President to be present in the House to hear his reply speech, it was seen how the President left the House without listening to anything. After that, even though Sajith started his speech, it was also seen how the parliament became very heated due to the continuous interruption of the members of the ruling party.
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 78th birthday was on the 18th. It is special that the former president had to celebrate his birthday this time with a verdict given by the Supreme Court against several people including the Rajapaksas for bankrupting the country. On the day of Mahinda’s birthday, the President returned to Sri Lanka after attending the inauguration of the President in the Maldives. Accordingly, Namal had prepared a small party at his home for Mahinda’s birthday and invited the President to attend. As soon as the President arrived in Sri Lanka according to that invitation, he went directly to Namal’s house at Malalasekara Mawatha along with Vajira Abeywardena. Namal is currently living in the government’s official residence on Malalasekara Mawatha, while Mahinda lives in the official residence on Wijerama Mawatha, which is a little further away.
Gota also was invited
In the recent period, during the events held by the Rajapaksa family, we did not get to see how all the Rajapaksa people came together to one place. Even though he was invited to certain events held at Mahinda’s house in Wijerama Mawatha, it was not possible to see how everyone came together. In short, the former President Gotabaya was hardly invited to the events held at Mahinda’s house. Accordingly, Namal decided to hold Mahinda’s birthday party this year at his official residence on Malalasekara Mawatha. Namal, who invited Mahinda, Shiranti and Rohitha Rajapaksa to attend, informed Gota to attend. But neither Mahinda nor Shiranti nor Rohitha knew that Gota had been invited by Namal until they arrived at the house.
Accordingly, as soon as the President arrived, everyone invited Mahinda to cut the birthday cake. According to the invitation, when Mahinda cut the birthday cake, the President, Gota, Shiranti and everyone else wished Mahinda his birthday by saying ‘Happy Birthday to you’. As the video was uploaded to social media by someone there, it was seen that it received a lot of responses last week.
Namal double acting?
However, Namal had invited the President to attend Mahinda’s birthday party while criticizing the President and the President’s budget these days. Although Mahinda voted in favour of this year’s budget, it was also noted that Namal did not attend the voting.
Question of the Constituent Assembly
At present, a conflict has emerged between the Legislative Assembly and the President. Last Thursday, everyone got to see a public conversation between the president and the opposition leader. It was caused by the President once again appointing CD as the Inspector General of Police. When Mr. Wickramaratne’s name was sent, it was rejected by the Legislative Assembly. For the first time, when the President sent Mr. Wickramaratne’s name to the Legislative Assembly giving him a 3-month extension of service, the Assembly had taken steps to pass it. Then for the second time, the President send CD’s name to the Legislative Council by giving a two-week extension. Although the Constituent Assembly passed that name, the President was informed that it would be better not to send that name again. But for the third time as well, after the President sent CD’s name to the Constituent Assembly, the Assembly rejected it. Despite this, the President appointed CD as the Inspector General of Police.
However, after that the Constituent Assembly had taken steps to send a letter to the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Security asking him to inform them of the information of the five senior police officers. When this was reported, the President responded strongly in a written letter addressed to the Speaker saying that it was overstepping the limits of the Constituent Assembly. The President had also mentioned that the way the Constituent Assembly acted in this manner when he had not nominated another name for the post of Inspector General of Police was an excess of authority. But the response of the Constituent Assembly was that the information of the five most senior police officers was requested from the Ministry of Public Security in order to make a decision easier if the President presented a new name or several names for the post of Inspector General. In this way, the conflict that has been raging between the President and the Constituent Assembly in the past has now exploded with the Constituent Assembly not approving the names sent by the President regarding the Inspector General of Police and Court Judges.
Last week, the Legislative Assembly met to take a decision on some of the names sent by the President. Generally, according to existing rules, in order for a name to be passed or rejected in the Constituent Assembly, five of its members must approve or reject it. That is because there are nine members of the Constituent Assembly. Accordingly, if a proposal receives an equal number of votes of 4-4, the speaker has the right to use the deciding vote. Accordingly, steps were taken to reject the name proposal of the Inspector General sent for the last time by majority vote. The president also sent the nominations to the Constituent Assembly to appoint the president judge who is currently in the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court and to appoint another judge who is in the Court of Appeal as the president of the Court of Appeal. Regarding those names, there was some division in the Constituent Assembly held last week.
A secret ballot
A certain crisis situation arose due to the fact that the three civil representatives of the Constituent Assembly had been seriously attacked in an article published in a weekend English newspaper the previous day. Therefore, before attending the Constituent Assembly, it is learnt that these three civil representatives had met and discussed this matter. However, in the Constituent Assembly, due to the demand for a division of these nominations of the President, the three civil representatives said that it is necessary to hold a secret vote. Mr. Sajith Premadasa and Mr. Kabir Hashim, who participated on behalf of the opposition, supported it and expressed their opinions, so it was finally decided to hold a secret ballot. However, the opposition leader and Kabir had mentioned that they would abstain from voting as several of the cases presented by SJB are pending before the Court of Appeal. Accordingly, the result of the secret ballot was 3-3.
Accordingly, as we said before, in order for a proposal to be passed, it must be 5-4, but at this time, because the voting result is 3-3, it is considered as a situation that has not been passed or rejected. Otherwise, as a result, that is neither there nor here. Because it is stated that 5 votes must be received for a proposal to be passed or rejected. Under this latest situation, many are saying that the President should send a new name to the Constituent Assembly in order for these nominations to pass. If not, they think that the current situation should continue as it is. When we asked several constitutional experts in this regard, they also stated that a situation has arisen that is not for both sides.
Last week, the president left for the Maldives to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new president there. The President also met a special guest there. It was none other than Samantha Pawar, Director of the United Nations Development Programme. A very close relationship existed between Power and the President prevails from the past. Many people said that Samantha Power provided great support to the President by staying behind the scenes to get the loan from the International Monetary Fund when the country was stuck in a major economic crisis. However, due to the anti-democratic and repressive accusations levelled at the President and the government in the last period, the strong pressure on Samantha and the Western countries said that they should refrain from helping such a government.
However, the ‘Inside Politics’ column has learnt that Samantha Power, who met the President in the Maldives this time, has given a strong message to the President. That is the message to refrain from doing anti-democratic activities and protect people’s rights. It is believed by many that Samantha informed the President this not just for the sake of telling, but according to a message she received from the American government.
The Chinese ship
Meanwhile, the ‘Inside Politics’ column observes that regional politics have once again taken a heated turn based on another Chinese ship that is said to be arriving in Sri Lanka next January. Recently, when the ‘Yuan Wang 6’ ship arrived in Sri Lanka, India had issued a final announcement and informed that a strict decision should be taken regarding the arrival of Chinese ships in Sri Lankan waters in the future. Or that no more Chinese ships should be allowed to enter Sri Lankan waters from now on. Also, if this Chinese ship arrives in Sri Lanka in January, it will have a very decisive effect on Indo-Sri Lankan relations. Some analysts have already stated that if such a ship arrives in January, a conflict between the two countries cannot be avoided. Accordingly, even with the new Chinese ship, the government has to face a serious diplomatic problem.
Last Monday, State Minister Sanath Nishantha and a group of members of Pohottuwa attempted to steal a file from the opposition leader’s hand. Sudath Manjula, a Pohottu MP representing Kegalle, was behind it. Last Tuesday, Sudath Manjula went to the room of Mr. Susil Premajayantha, the Minister of Education as well as the Leader of the House, to discuss the issue of a school child in his village. Accordingly, it has been learned that when Sudat referred the problem of the child of his village to Susil, Susil did not take it too seriously and remained engaged in the same duties he was doing. It is learnt that Sudath Manjula, got very angry and hit the table and started scolding Susil directly. Sudat Manjula was very angry and shouted that he was an elected member of parliament and therefore he should answer the questions of the people of the village and that if the ministers do not provide the opportunity to do so, there is no point in being in the government.
Take a decision
After shouting in Susil’s room, Sudath Manjula had come out and informed the members of the ruling party in the parliamentary lobby about this. By that time, the Prime Minister had also arrived at the place, so Sudat and other MPs had taken steps to inform him about the incident. Here, many MPs had pointed out to the Prime Minister that if the Minister of Education acts like this, the MPs of Pohottuwe have decided not to participate in the debate on his budget.
However, immediately after this incident, the members of the ruling party took Sudath Manjula and made arrangements to come to the Parliament. After examining Sudath Manjula immediately, the doctor said that his blood pressure had increased due to this conflict and that he should calm down immediately.
Diana’s report has arrived
In addition to these two conflicts in the Parliament, the final report has been prepared on another recent conflict in the Parliament. It is regarding the alleged conflict between State Minister Diana Gamage and SJB MPs Sujith Sanjay Perera and Rohana Bandara. According to the information that has been received up to now, the committee that investigated the conflict has recommended that all three MPs should be punished. It is known that a parliamentary ban of a few months is to be imposed according to the punishment.
Meanwhile, the judgment of another case brought before the Colombo District Court by MP Diana was announced last Friday. Diana Gamage had filled this case to SJB leader Sajith and SJB General Secretary Ranjith Maddumabandara asking them to prevent them from performing duties in their positions. But the district judge, who gave his decision last Friday, had taken steps to reject Diana’s request.