No legal snag for Unity Govt. – Speaker

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Legal experts had advised that there was no issue with the continuation of the Unity Government when the related parties, have expressed their willingness to continue, observed Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in Parliament yesterday.

He said he was advised that it was required to submit a written agreement to ensure the legitimacy of the said government.

He added however, that he would look into the matter again to decide if the two parties of the Unity Government are required to fulfill further legal formalities.

The Speaker made these observations yesterday, in response to Joint Opposition member Dinesh Gunawardena’s question challenging the validity of the Unity Government in the House.

The Speaker also pointed out that since the matter was taken up on Wednesday too, and the relevant parties had already expressed their views, there was no point in dwelling on the same matter repeatedly.

Joint Opposition Parliamentary Group Leader Dinesh Gunawardene moving the motion said that the UPFA is a coalition of a number of parties.

He added that when a Unity Government is formed between the UNP and one of the parties of the UPFA, according to the Constitution, it was mandatory to submit the said written agreement before Parliament.

MP Gunawardene added that such a document has not been submitted before Parliament so far. He also added that such a Unity Government is valid, provided that such a document is presented in the House.

Leader of the House and Highways and Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella further said that the same matter was answered by the Prime Minister and the Secretary General of the UPFA on Wednesday stating that there was a Unity Government in existence.

“So there is a Unity Government,” Minister Kiriella said, adding, “So it is not fair to bring up the same point over and over again.”

Joint Opposition MP Dallas Allhapperuma said the issue pertaining to the Unity Government is a Constitutional one going beyond being a political matter or a social matter. He added that the relevant parties had answered only the political matter and not the constitutional aspect of the issue. He also added that to solve the Constitutional matter, the Speaker should use his rights under the Right to Information Bill and get the agreement before Parliament.

JVP Parliamentarian Nalinda Jayatissa joined the debate and said the copy of the agreement should be submitted before the House.

Deputy Minister Karu Paranawithana said that the matter was not Constitutional but totally political. He added that the UPFA and the Joint Opposition members should decide where they stand and then the issue would be solved.

He also said that there was no point in wasting time raising the same issue everyday, when the National Government is functioning.

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