D-Day today

D-Day today


UNP to boycott session

The controversial 18th Amendment to the Constitution will be debated in Parliament today, and it will be put to the vote at 7.00 pm. The ruling coalition is now likely to muster the support of more than 160 MPs to pass the Bill – inclusive of six UNP MPs and eight SLMC MPs.

Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne presented the Bill in Parliament yesterday on behalf of the government shortly after Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa communicated the Supreme Court ruling to the House in this regard.

The Supreme Court had ruled that the Bill was consistent with the Constitution, and should be passed in Parliament with a special majority.

Also, the court had denied the necessity for a referendum over the Amendment.

Meanwhile, the main opposition UNP is to boycott the session today as a mark protest against what the party described as a draconian piece of legislation with serious implications even for the semblance of democracy which the country enjoys today.  The UNP also staged a walkout in the House yesterday after issuing a statement denouncing the proposed amendment. The UNP MPs, excepting a few, were wearing black clothes to express their opposition to the government’s move.

Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told a media conference in the parliamentary complex later in the day that his party would not be a party to any illegal act.

After the media briefing, the UNP MPs, including Mr. Wickremesinghe, staged a ‘Satyagraha’ within the parliamentary complex. Mr. Wickremesinghe himself burned a copy of the 18th Amendment as a mark of protest, after tearing it into pieces. The Satyagraha got underway amid the chanting of Pirith by several Buddhist monks.

Several police officers approached the scene, only to be turned away by angry UNP MPs. Mr. Dayasiri Jayasekara MP said that his party had the right to act thus.

Dr Jayalath Jayawardena, a Gampaha District UNP MP, told the police to leave them alone and said that the party was performing Satyagraha for the good of the police as well. “We are fighting for an independent police commission,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne, on his way out after the parliamentary session, was seen speaking to the UNP MPs. The Prime Minister also had a chat with Mr. Wickremesinghe.   Instead of attending to the parliamentary session, the UNP will stage a demonstration opposite its headquarters ‘Sirikotha’ today, protesting the proposed constitutional changes.

The DNA, led by MP Sarath Fonseka, and the TNA are to vote against the Bill today in the House.

/ News

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