UNP attacks break with convention
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 17 February 1999, 15:46 GMT]
The main opposition party, the United National Party (UNP) has strongly criticised the President, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge, for appointing a complete outsider as the Secretary-General of Parliament, kicking aside all Parliamentary traditions.
The United National Party Parliamentary group has noted with great concern the serious departure in the practice and procedure governing the appointment of the Secretary General of Parliament.
In a press release issued today, the UNP parliamentary group has stated that the prevailing practice in all the major legislatures of the world is to appoint an officer within the system when a vacancy occurs
Since independence the practice in Sri Lanka has been to appoint the Deputy Secretary General to succeed the out-going Secretary-General and that too in consultation with the Speaker, the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition.
The present constitutional provisions regarding this appointment reiterates the position that existed under the Solbury constitution and the first Republican constitution.
"It is a matter of great regret that President has however, in her now characteristic dictatorial style, kicked aside all Parliamentary traditions and conventions by appointing a complete outsider. It must be emphasized that even the Speaker has not been consulted. The Wayamba provincial council elections saw an open assault on the electoral process and within a month, we witness a serious blow to a hallowed tradition of Parliament. We call upon all those who are committed to the uninterrupted continuity of the Parliamentary process to condemn this dictatorial action of the President", the statement concludes.