Parliament prorogued

New session on Jan. 03

By Saman Indrajith

Parliament has been prorogued on the instructions of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.The Gazette notification announcing the prorogation was issued, last night. The new session of Parliament will be held on January 03, 2020.

A prorogation which is a temporary recess of Parliament, should not extend beyond more than two months, However, such date for summoning Parliament may be advanced by another presidential proclamation provided it is summoned for a date not less than three days from the date of such fresh proclamation.

During the prorogation the Speaker continues to function and the MPs retain their membership even though they do not attend meetings of Parliament. The effect of a prorogation is to suspend all current business before the House and all proceedings pending at the time are quashed except impeachments.

When the new sessions starts, the President is empowered to make a statement of Government Policy at the commencement of each new Session. In the past, it was known as the Throne Speech, which was delivered by the Governor-General.

President Rajapaksa will open the new session of Parliament and is expected to deliver the policy statement of his Government. The President can prorogue Parliament under Article 70 of the Constitution and is empowered to make a Statement of Government Policy at the commencement of each Session of Parliament and to preside at ceremonial sittings of Parliament.

Last week, President Rajapaksa appointed his Cabinet of 16 ministers as well as 38 State Ministers as part of the interim government which will be in place till the next general election.

The President is constitutionally empowered to dissolve Parliament on 1 March 2020 when it completes four-and-a-half years. The next Parliamentary Election is expected in late April or the first week of May. President Rajapaksa is heading a minority government with the UPFA, which had 95 MPs. The UNP has 106 MPs, ITAK has 16 MPs, JVP 6 MPs, and the EPDP and SLMC one MP each in the 225-member Parliament.


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