Grounds for impeachment if CBK hands back defence – JVP

by Shamindra Ferdinando

The JVP yesterday urged President Chandrika Kumaratunga not to hand back Defence and Interior ministry portfolios to Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government. JVP parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa said holding and taking full responsibility of the defence portfolio by the president was mandatory under the Constitution.

The President has no legitimate right to lose control of the portfolio without amending the Constitution, the MP emphasised, warning the President that it would be major grounds for bringing an impeachment motion against the President. Weerawansa reminded the President that she would have to face the consequences if she handed back the portfolio.

Warning President Kumaratunga of an internationally-backed bid to neutralise her authority to pave the way for the division of the country on ethnic lines, Weerawansa said that it was up to the President to avoid what he called the UNF’s trap.

Weerawansa, in a statement issued yesterday claimed that the UNF and the LTTE’s strategy was directed at forcing the President to return the defence and interior portfolios. The President brought them along with the Mass Communication Ministry under her purview claiming vital national security interests were being jeopardised.

The MP urged the President to ignore the UNF’s repeated calls to hand over the defence and interior portfolios.

... Rauf wants CBK, Ranil to share defence

SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem wants President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe to share the defence portfolio.

Addressing a meeting at the Kinniya Grand Mosque on Wednesday, the minister said the SLMC weren’t interested in who was in charge of the portfolio but in adequate and effective security measures to protect the interests of the people.

Pointing out that both the President and the Premier have a mandate to serve the people, Hakeem insisted that there was nothing wrong in the leaders sharing the responsibility. The minister accompanied by a delegation visited the area to meet the community, the target of a series of LTTE attacks.