President rejects No-Confidence Motion against Mahinda Rajapaksa, Cabinet

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday rejected the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) brought against the Prime Minister and the Government appointed by him.

In a letter to Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya, President Maithripala Sirisena rejecting the NCM passed by the parliament against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Government with signatures of 122 parliamentarians, said the Speaker has ignored the Constitution, Standing Orders and Parliamentary traditions in passing the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister.

The President’s letter to the Speaker, released to media, was in response to the documents sent to the President regarding the passage of the no-confidence motion in parliament when the assembly convened on Wednesday after the President prorogued the parliament on October 27.

The Speaker’s correspondence to the President included a copy of the no-confidence motion and its decision along with the copy of the document with signatures of 122 parliamentarians declaring that the appointment of the Prime Minister and the cabinet by the President was against the Constitution.

The motion had stated that the “Gazette Extraordinary Nos. 2094/43, 2094/43A and 2094/44 dated 26th October 2018 promulgated by His Excellency, the President, and the purported acts and appointments referred to therein, are unconstitutional, and are null and void and of no force or effect in law.”

“For the aforesaid reasons, this House has no confidence in the Prime Minister Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa or the Cabinet of Ministers and the Government appointed on or after 26th October 2018.”

In his letter to the Speaker, the President stated that although it was clearly mentioned in the Constitution and Standing Orders the steps to be taken when presented with a No-Confidence Motion against the Government, the Speaker seems to have ignored the Constitution, Standing Orders and Parliamentary traditions.

The President said that the Gazette notifications in question were issued in accordance to the powers vested in him by the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

The President also said he wishes to inform the Speaker that according to the Constitution he has the power to appoint the Member of Parliament who commands the most confidence in the Parliament according to his opinion as the Prime Minister, there is no need or parliamentary tradition to show whether the Prime Minister or government has or does not have a majority.

President Sirisena recalled that although the Prime Minister on January 09, 2015 D.M. Jayaratne had the support of 163 members in Parliament he had taken steps to appoint Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Premier although he had only 41 seats due to a request made by the political party represented by Jayasuriya then.

He also expressed regret over the Speaker’s attempt to confirm the passing of the said motion of no confidence by sending him a list of signatories that is not properly certified by the Parliament.

The President also pointed out that the date on the list of signatures of the MPs sent to him had been erased and the date of November 14, 2018 inserted on top.

The President stated that he completely rejects the notion that he had not acted in accordance with the Constitution and said he acted under the powers vested in him by the constitution when taking the decision regarding the appointment of the Prime Minister.

The President stressed that under the Constitution he has the sole authority to appoint a Prime Minister.

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