(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he advised against moving the motion to suspend Standing Orders to debate the Motion of Displeasure against the President today as it was not the best strategy at this time.
In a special statement to the media, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the motion to suspend the Standing Orders for debating the Motion of Displeasure against the President was defeated because it was tabled forgetting parliament strategy.
The motion moved by Member of Parliament M.A Sumanthiran to suspend the Standing Orders to debate today on the Opposition’s motion expressing displeasure of Parliament against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for not having properly exercised, performed and discharged the powers of the president under the Constitution was defeated by a majority of 51 votes.
Today’s vote was to suspend all Parliament proceedings and immediately debate the Motion of Displeasure against the President not for the Motion of Displeasure itself, the Prime Minister clarified.
Prime Minister said that moving a motion to suspend Standing Orders was poor Parliamentary strategy and that had he been in Opposition he would still have voted against suspending Standing Orders.
The Premier said Mr. Sumanthiran met him and told him that he wanted to suspend the Standing Orders to debate the motion of displeasure against the President, assuring that the proposal was not to remove the President from office but to express displeasure and that the President could remain in power thereafter.
The Prime Minister said he advised MP Sumanthiran on the 16th that the motion to suspend Standing Orders would be self-defeating, as the time has been set aside on Tuesday for the Members of Parliament to debate the death of an MP due to riots and attacks on their houses by the mobs and priority should be given for that and the government MPs would not vote in favor to immediately debate the Motion of Displeasure.
The Prime Minister said he told MP Sumanthiran that there was time to debate the displeasure motion against the President and if
“It would have been better to allow the debate on the attacks to take place today, and in a few days’ time the Government MPs would be compelled to vote in favor of the symbolic Motion of Displeasure,” the Premier said.
The Prime Minister said he had informed MP Sumanthiran that if the motion to suspend the Standing Orders was defeated, the main motion would also falter as the government MPs had decided to discuss their most pressing issue of attacks on their houses Tuesday.
“Now President’s MPs would use the defeat of this vote as an opportunity to block the Motion of Displeasure being taken up at a later date,” the Premier said.
Unfortunately, the Opposition moved the motion to suspend the Standing Orders, but it was defeated, the Prime Minister said adding that now there is a question mark over whether the motion to express displeasure against the President could be taken forward.
He further added that this was due to the fact that the motion was tabled forgetting the strategic nature of Parliament. And it would be best if the Opposition used a better strategic approach going forward.
Nevertheless, the Premier reaffirmed his commitment to vote in favor of the motion as communicated earlier last week.