JO, JVP allege vote rigging in Parliament



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By Saman Indrajith


The Joint Opposition yesterday called for the immediate resignation of Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayake after a recount of a vote taken at the end of yesterday’s debate to give approval for a supplementary estimate of Rs 55 mn for the government revealed original result had been distorted. The Joint Opposition said that the Secretary General of Parliament had assured a recount. Parliament meets tomorrow.


Presiding member UNP Kandy District MP Lucky Jayawardana that 33 members voted for the supplementary estimate and 31 voted against.


After several recounts, the Secretary General of Parliament and political party representatives agreed that there had been 31 votes each for and against the supplementary estimate.


Joint Opposition Leader Dinesh Gunawardena and Wimal Weerawansa last night told parliamentary correspondents that there had to be a fresh vote.


JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the funds were meant to purchase new vehicles and construct buildings.


UNP National List MP Prof. Marasinghe challenged the validity of the recount as the process hadn’t been sanctioned by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. Prof alleged that Opposition members had forced the Secretary General to take recount though he had no authority to do so.


Earlier a group of Opposition MPs sat on the floor of Parliament chamber demanding a recount.


At the end of the debate, Chief Opposition Whip JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake called for a division on the debate.


Presiding Member UNP Kandy District MP Lucky Jayawardana ordered that the quorum bell be rung to summon MPs.


Some MPs came to the chamber while the vote was being taken and demanded that they, too, be counted.


So, there were two counts.


TNA and UNP voted for the estimate while the JVP and Joint Opposition MPs voted against it.


Announcing the result of the vote, Presiding Member Jayawardana said that there were 33 votes for the supplementary estimate and 31 against.


So saying, he adjourned the House and ordered Serjeant-at-Arms Anil Parakrama Samarasekera to take the Mace away.


The Opposition members after counting themselves, protested shouting that the majority was theirs and they would not accept the result.


As the Mace was being paraded back, Opposition MPs came to the Well of the House and shouted that it was unjust to distort the results of the vote. "It is a day light robbery," shouted JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake.


Some Joint Opposition MPs remained in the chamber, saying that they would continue to stay so until justice was done.


Chief Opposition Whip Dissanayake said that he would demand that CCTV footage be checked so that the exact number of MPs in the chamber could be found.


 


 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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