UPFA, UNF draw battle lines to prove Parliamentary majority

[TamilNet, Saturday, 17 July 2004, 00:53 GMT]
With three days to go for the next session of parliament, the minority ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and the main opposition United National Front (UNF) are making frenzied efforts to prove their majority. The UNF still claims it has 114 members of the 225 member parliament. But the ruling UPFA says that there would be a dramatic turn in the power struggle in favour of the government after its sweeping victory in the six provincial councils' poll last Saturday, political sources said.

Mr. W.J.M LokubandaraThe Speaker Mr.W.J.M.Lokkubandara after a discussion with some senior parliamentarians Friday decided to close down the public gallery of the parliament on Tuesday. Only family members of new parliamentarians who are due to take oaths would be allowed to sit in the public gallery on Tuesday. The next session of Sri Lanka parliament is scheduled for July 20.

Meanwhile, the Sinhala Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), is demanding that Mr.Lokkubandara should resign the post of Speaker as the UNF lost in Haputale electorate in the recent provincial council poll.

Mr.Lokkubandara represented Haputale electorate.

A powerful section of the UPFA has warned that if the Speaker fails to resign he would be ousted from the post through a no-confidence motion, sources said.

UNP deputy leader Mr.Karu Jayasuriya Friday addressing press persons in Colombo said that no party could oust the Speaker as the UNF has majority in the parliament.

In the meantime, three minority political parties, Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Friday indicated their support to Mr.Lokkubandara if the ruling UPFA moved a no-confidence motion against the Speaker, sources said.

Earlier sessions of the parliament were marred by unruly behaviour of ruling parliamentarians and violence, and ended in pandemonium, sources said.

 

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