Govt. rules out secret ballot on national budget

* Need not follow LG voting procedures - Keheliya


by Zacki Jabbar

The government, while admitting that some local authority Chairmen were corrupt, yesterday rejected holding secret ballots in Parliament.

Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, when asked, at the weekly post-cabinet press briefing in Colombo, why Parliament was not following the secret vote procedure adopted by the local government institutions, with regard to the national budget, replied that the government didn’t want to do what the UNP and JVP asked for, but was willing to consider suggestions by any of the UPFA constituents. "Why should we be doing what the UNP and JVP says. We will consider requests by anyone within our government."

Minister Rambukwella said a secret ballots had been taken in the national legislature only when a no-confidence motion was presented against the Speaker.

However, when it was pointed out that there was no constitutional bar to taking a secret vote even in other instances, the Minister said that they did not want to dance to the Opposition’s tune.

On being referred to statements by some UPFA Local Councillors that they had opposed their respective budgets due to the Chairmen not only being corrupt, but also failing to share the ‘booty’, Rambukwella admitted that it was possible.

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