No portfolios after handing in resignations -UNP
[TamilNet, Sunday, 19 August 2001, 16:07 GMT]
The United National Party said Sunday that deputy ministers who have submitted undated resignation letters to President Chandrika Kumaratunga cannot hold on to their portfolios and enjoy privileges and other facilities they enjoyed earlier. A UNP spokesman said that his party is contemplating legal action if the government ministers who submitted undated resignation letters to the President, purportedly as a reiteration of their confidence in her, do not relinquish their portfolios forthwith. "They have no moral right now to stay on," said an opposition spokesman. Government sources, however, dismissed the UNP's call, saying that the letters of resignation are undated.
Mr.Tilak Marapana, a UNP parliamentarian and former Attorney General briefing the press Sunday said, "performing functions as deputy ministers after submitting resignations is against the constitution. According to the Constitution, once a letter of resignation is submitted then a minister ceases to hold his post. This matter will be taken to courts if those deputy ministers continue to hold on to their portfolios."
State media on Thursday 16 July gave wide coverage to deputy ministers handing over undated letters of resignation to the President. The move gave rise to speculation that the President was trying to avert a crisis in the PA ranks by securing the undated letters of resignation. Not all deputy ministers of the PA, however, have submitted their resignations.
Sections of the Colombo press criticised the President Kumaratunga for resorting to a tactic of former President J. R Jayawardene to keep her hold on power. President J.R Jayawardene sought and kept undated resignation letters of all his MPs and ministers so that he could sack anyone or section of them who failed to toe the line.
Meanwhile Rauff Hakeem has said that his party would co-operate with other opposition parties to conduct the business of parliament on 7 September if the government prorogued parliament further on that day. He was speaking at a meeting held at Eravur in eastern province Saturday evening.
"The ruling People's Alliance is facing internal crisis. About twenty government parliamentarians have pledged their support to the opposition's no-confidence motion" said Mr.Hakeem.