The Sri Lankan government yesterday clarified that the prorogation of parliament by the president has no negative impact on its functioning and operation.
President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday proclaimed that the parliament will be prorogued with effect from midnight April 12 and the next session of the parliament will commence on May 8.
The prorogation is the period between the end of a parliament session and the opening of the next parliament session.
Government information director general Sudarshana Gunawardana issuing a statement said, “All matters which, having being brought before parliament, have not been disposed of at the prorogation of parliament, may be proceeded with during the next session. Therefore, the prorogation of parliament has no negative impact on the functioning and operation of the government.”
President Sirisena on Thursday suspended parliament until next month in a shock move amid a deepening power struggle between him and his unity government’s prime minister.
The move came hours after at least 16 Sirisena loyalists, including six cabinet ministers, said they would leave the troubled coalition.
Relations between the rival groups in the unity government have soured after both suffered losses in February’s local council elections.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) had increased pressure on the followers of Sirisena – who voted against Wickremesinghe in a recent no-confidence motion – to resign.
Parliament had been expected to meet again next Thursday and presidential officials declined to comment on the reason for the suspension.
“We have been surprised by the announcement,” one government legislator who
requested anonymity said.
Just hours before he announced the suspension of parliament, Sirisena had appointed acting ministers to the positions of those who quit the cabinet.
Wickremesinghe last week won the motion of no-confidence moved by the joint opposition and backed by Sirisena’s ministers.
With the help of minority Tamil and Muslim parties, the premier defeated the motion – dealing a blow to Sirisena, who had campaigned for Wickremesinghe to stand down to allow him to appoint a prime minister of his choice.
In recent weeks, Sirisena has reduced Wickremesinghe’s powers, removing from his control the central bank, the policy-making National Operations Room and several other
Former strongman Mahinda Rajapakse’s party trounced the UNP and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) in the February polls to win control of two-thirds of the 340 local councils at stake.
In the run-up to the election, Sirisena branded the prime minister and his party as more corrupt than the Rajapakse regime, which Sirisena and Wickremesinghe jointly toppled
Earlier Thursday, a presidential spokesman said a wider government reshuffle would be announced next week.
The SLFP is to decide later this month if it will remain in government. Rajapakse is pressing for a 2020 national election to be brought forward.
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