PA budget passed, TULF misses MP for vote

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 11 April 2001, 14:11 GMT]
The budget of the People’s Alliance was passed in the Sri Lankan Parliament Wednesday by a majority of nine votes amidst speculation that the opposition might woo the government’s Tamil and Muslim allies to defeat the ruling party. However, the opposition lost one vote from the minimum it expected to be cast against the budget today when the TULF MP for Batticaloa, Mr. P. Selvarajah left for India amidst charges that he had been inveigled at the eleventh hour to stay away from the crucial vote. Mr. Selvarajah was the only MP who was absent in the Parliament today during the vote. The Sri Lankan legislature has 225 members.

“He was expected to vote today against the budget”, a chagrined TULF leader said. He told Tamilnet that Mr. Selvarajah had informed TULF Vice President Mr.V.Anandasangaree MP (Jaffna) about his journey from the airport at the eleventh hour before his departure to India today.

The PA’s main minority allies the Ceylon Workers Congress and the National Unity Alliance (NUA) voted for the budget.

Party sources said that in return for their loyalty the President has promised to appoint Mr. Muthu Sivalingam MP of the CWC and Mr. U.L.M Mohideen of the NUA deputy ministries during lengthy discussions Tuesday night.

The Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (10 votes), the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (3 votes), the Tamil United Liberation Front (4 votes) and the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (1 vote) voted against the budget.

The PA was concerned that if the opposition United National Party were able to muster seven votes from its two minority allies (CWC and NUA) who between them have nine votes then the budget was in danger of being defeated.

The vote of the speaker is cast only when there is a tie.

The speaker who is the President’s brother is a member of the UNP

 

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