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Prez asks SC to interpret his powers under 19A
Published Date: 20/02/2018 (Tuesday)

By Saman Indrajith

Ongoing political impasse was going to continue further as the SLFP’s Maithri faction had been instructed by President Maithripala Sirisena to wait till the Supreme Court interpreted the provisions of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution giving power to him to sack the Prime Minister, Parliament was told yesterday.

Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala, making a special statement, said the UPFA and its SLFP members had met President Maithripala Sirisena and demanded a review of the unity government formed on Sept 3, 2015 with the UNP.

The President was of the view that a sudden change of the unity government could lead to certain instability in the country; he had, therefore, decided to consult the Attorney General, Sumathipala said.

He said the Attorney General had informed the President that he alone could not give consultation on the matter and the Supreme Court should be consulted for an interpretation of the provisions of the 19th amendment. The President alone had the power to seek the consultation of the Supreme Court on the matters pertaining to the constitutional provisions and he would do so. Till the Supreme Court decision was conveyed to the President, the unity government would continue. The President informed the UPFA government members that the unity government would go ahead till the Supreme Court gave its opinion. The President also instructed them to act as a single group so none of the UPFA MPs would speak during the debate.

Deputy Speaker Sumathipala made the special statement following various remarks made by the Opposition and government during the course of the day. The Opposition said that both the General Secretary of the UPFA Minister Mahinda Amaraweera and Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala had told media on Sunday evening that the UPFA would withdraw from the unity government. Sumathipala admitted that he made a statement to that effect on Sunday evening. "I made that comment on Sunday evening. There were some developments thereafter. The latest situation is that the President is seeking the opinion of the Supreme Court on the matter and has instructed us to wait till it comes. The unity government will continue till ...," he said.

Source: The Island

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