One out of 20 MPs in current parliament appointed through backdoor - JO


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Top Joint Opposition spokesman MP Dallas Alahapperuma yesterday said specific constitutional measures were required to prevent the appointment of defeated candidates through the National List.

Alahapperuma was responding to The Island query whether he was aware that at the behest of former President J.R. Jayewardene, a clause had been surreptitiously inserted into the Article 99A of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution to enable the appointment of those who had been rejected by the electorate.

The JO called the media briefing at Dr N.M. Perera Centre, Borella, where JO parliamentary group leader MP Dinesh Gunawardena, former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris, LSSP General Secretary Prof. Tissa Vitharana and former minister A.H.M. Azwer addressed current issues.

MP Alahapperuma promised to inquire into the matter when The Island asked him whether he knew the then UNP leader Jayewardene acted contrary to recommendations made in respect of National List nominees by a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) headed by the then Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa.

The JO refrained from commenting on attorney-at-law and public litigation activist Nagananda Kodituwakku moving the Supreme Court against the appointment of ten defeated candidates through respective political parties following August 17, 2015 parliamentary polls.

The defeated members in parliament comprised UPFA/SLFP, JVP, UNP and TNA.

Alahapperuma said one out of every 20 members of parliament was a defeated candidate. Declaring that vital far reaching decisions were being taken by the parliament comprising elected and appointed members, including defeated candidates, the MP emphasized the need to review the situation.

The Joint Opposition accused the parliament of taking decisions inimical to the country.

Alleging that the government had repeatedly interfered in the judiciary, Alahapperuma said those governments which had been embroiled in disputes with the judiciary couldn’t proceed smoothly.

A smiling SLFPer suggested that the government should appoint Health Minister and cabinet spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne as the Chief Justice if it wanted to pursue political agenda with the help of the judiciary.

Commenting on the four-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) receiving the Opposition Leader’s post in spite of having only 16 members in parliament whereas the JO comprised 51 elected members, MP Alahapperuma alleged that the Speaker had interpreted relevant ‘laws’ to the disadvantage of the JO.

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