DLB controversy sparks constitutional crisis in Colombo

[TamilNet, Monday, 12 May 2003, 10:52 GMT]
The constitutional crisis between the legislature and the executive branches of the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) regarding the take over of the administration of the Development Lottery Board (DLB) took a new turn Monday when Sri Lanka's President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge issued a directive to the GoSL Printer Mr. Neville Nanayakkara to print the extra ordinary gazette notification sent by her on Thursday, political sources in Colombo said.

Mr. Nanayakkara Monday said he received instruction from the Sri Lanka's President to print the controversial extra ordinary gazette notification without delay. However the Minister in charge of the Government Press Mr.Imtiaz Markar directed the Printer not to print the said gazette notification.

"I have decided not to print the gazette notification until a ruling is given by the Attorney General of the country", said Printer Mr. Neville Nanayakkara, according to legalsources.

The gazette notification was received by the Printer on Thursday and was in the proof stage when a group of persons forcibly entered the press Thursday night. Thereafter the government press was sealed, sources said.

Meanwhile the Government Press resumed its operation Monday but workers have not reported for work in full strength. They were seen congregating in the premises of the press, sources said. Majority of the workers are members in the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) controlled trade union.

The JVP is now trying its best to utilize the constitutional crisis to topple the UNF government. The take over of the National Lottery Board which comes under the senior minister Milinda Moragoda in the UNF government who plays a leading role in the peace talks between the GOSL and the LTTE was well planned as a prelude to the dissolution of the parliament, political sources said.

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), the main constituent of the main opposition Peoples Alliance (PA) and the JVP are now in the process of holding final round of talks to form an election alliance to oust the UNF government and to capture power. Almost both parties have agreed to contest the general election on a common symbol "HAND" if a parliamentary election is held, sources said.

"HAND" is the election symbol of the SLFP before the PA was formed in 1994." CHAIR" is the election symbol of the PA, sources said.

An emergency meeting of the UNF cabinet is scheduled to be held Monday evening to decide the course of action to be taken to overcome the tussle between the executive and legislature, sources said.


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