The Joint Opposition has stressed that it was not against the government’s plans to convert Parliament to a Constitutional Assembly, but only insisting that proper Parliamentary procedures be followed when introducing the resolution in the House.
Speaking to Nation, one of the leaders of the Joint Opposition, MP Dinesh Gunawardena, said it had been incorrectly reported in certain media that the Joint Opposition was against converting Parliament to a Constitutional Assembly.
“There was a meeting of party leaders on the proposed resolution to be moved by the government on January 9. This meeting was chaired by the Speaker where a unanimous decision was taken that the relevant resolution should follow the procedure of Parliament,” Gunawardena said adding that it was agreed that the process should follow 86(1) of the Standing Orders of Parliament which gave Parliament powers to establish a committee which can be a committee of a selected number or the entire Parliament.
This meeting was chaired by the Speaker, attended by the Leader of the House, Ministers of Government and party leaders of the Opposition, he clarified.
Gunawardena however, said the Prime Minister made a statement the next day disagreeing with this decision and stated that the party leaders need not make decisions in relation to this issue, and that it should be decided by the government. However, deviating from the accepted procedure would result in a needless legal debate, Gunawardena warned.
The MP observed that amendments or any addition to the Constitution or repealing of the Constitution has to follow a certain procedure.
“We (the Joint Opposition) are only requesting the Prime Minister and the Government on agreements reached at the party leaders’ meeting to follow the procedure,” he said.