Constitutional amendment required as TNA refuses to serve on PC – Ranil
With the TNA refusing to accept Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s decision to nominate one of its MPs to the newly established Parliamentary Council, the stage is now set for a constitutional crisis of sorts, the UNP says.
Ranil Wickremesinghe told a news conference in Colombo yesterday, that he had nominated TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran to the Parliamentary Council, since he, as Opposition leader, was required to submit to the Speaker the name of a parliamentarian for appointment to the Parliamentary Council. "As the TNA has refused to accept Sumanthiran’s nomination on the grounds that they are opposed to the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, the question of an amendment to the 18th Amendment has arisen."
Sumanthiran had been picked for two reasons. One was because he belonged to a community that neither the Prime Minister nor the Speaker nor the Opposition Leader belonged to. Secondly, the TNA was the second largest opposition grouping after the UNF, he said.
"I received a letter from Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, on September 13, asking me to submit the name of my nominee to serve on the Parliamentary Council. So, I have done the constitutional duty cast on me. Otherwise, I would have been blamed for this as well."
Wickremesinghe said that he too would not be participating in the Parliamentary Council, as his party was opposed to the 18th Amendment.
Spokesman for the TNA, Suresh Premachandran MP said that Wickremesinghe had informed them of Sumanthiran’s nomination to the Parliamentary Council, but they had rejected it, since they are opposed to the 18th Amendment and did not wish to play any part in its implementation.
"The Parliamentary Council has no teeth, as the President can override its observations without giving any reasons. So,we have decided not to waste our time in a meaningless exercise," he said.
The 18th Amendment to the Constitution requires the appointment of a five-member Parliamentary Council comprising the Speaker, Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, and two MPs nominated by the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader. The MPs have to come from communities that the Prime Minister, Speaker and Opposition Leader do not belong to.