2ND LEAD (Correction)

Governor suspends WPC to avert UPFA crisis

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 26 April 2005, 10:23 GMT]
Mr.Alavi Mowlana, Governor of Western Province Tuesday by extra ordinary gazette notification suspended the functions of the Western Provincial Council (WPC) till May 17th to avert a major political crisis between the constituent political parties, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) of the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government, political sources said.

The Governor took this decision following the failure by the SLFP leadership to persuade the JVP to oppose the no-confidence motion scheduled to be moved against the Chief Minister Tuesday by the main opposition United National Party (UNP).

The JVP leadership at a discussion held on Monday evening with Sri Lanka's President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge had told her that Mr.Reginald Cooray should be removed from the post of Chief Minister and another to be appointed. All 23 JVP councillors would abstain from voting on the no-confidence motion in failure to accept their demand, sources said.

Hence the SLFP leadership urgently met Monday night and reported to have instructed the Provincial Governor to suspend the activities of the provincial council till the differences between the constituent parties in the UPFA are resolved. However the Governor in statement issued Tuesday said he had suspended the functions of the council till May 17 until an inquiry is completed about charges levelled against the Chief Minister by a no-confidence motion proposed by the main opposition UNP, sources said.

The no-confidence motion against the Chief Minister could be passed if the 23 JVP councillors abstained from voting, sources said.

The 104-member strong WPC is administered by the ruling UPFA that has 59 councillors. Of them 36 are from the SLFP and 23 from the JVP. In the opposition, the United National Party (UNP) has 39 members, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) 04, Western Province Peoples Front (WPPF) 01 and Democratic United Front (DUA) 01.

The crisis in the UPFA leadership arose when the JVP decided to abstain from voting on the no-confidence motion moved by the main opposition UNP on Mr.Reginald Cooray, the Chief Minister listed for debate Tuesday. The UNP tabled the no-confidence motion on the Chief Minister charging him for several malpractices, corruption and mismanagement of the council.

Mr.Reginald Cooray is a senior member of the SLFP. He was a founder member of the new political party Sri Lanka Mahajana Pakshaya (SMP) formed by late Mr.Wijaya Kumaratunge with her wife Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge both leaving the SLFP in 1980s.

The Provincial Council system was introduced in Sri Lanka in 1989 following the 13th amendment to the constitution based on the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement signed in 1987 to find a political solution to the problems of North East Tamil speaking people. However except in the northeast province, all other provinces in the south currently enjoy elected administration. The JVP opposed the introduction of the PC system at that time. NE provincial council is administered by the central government, sources said.

 

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