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UPFA voted for 19A on President’s request


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  • Says in hindsight, should not have voted
  • Attempts to deflect blame for MPs’ behaviour by blaming P’ment officials  

In a desperate attempt to defend its decision to vote in favour of the 19th Amendment, United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) MP W. D. J. Senewiratne yesterday said the decision was made on President Maithripala Sirisena’s special request, arguing President Sirisena should also hold responsibility to a certain extent over the current political turmoil.   

“The 19th Amendment was brought in a hurry; therefore, we did not have sufficient time to study the impact. In the meantime, we had to accept President Maithripala Sirisena’s request to vote in favour of the 19th Amendment, which President Sirisena himself held responsibility to a certain extent over the situation which prevailed in the country at the time,” MP Senewiratne told reporters at the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) headquarters. He acknowledged that UPFA MPs were not able to consult opinions of constitutional experts over the legality and effects of the Amendment to the Constitution. 

“Now we can see how the danger of this Amendment. I don’t think even President Maithripala Sirisena had a clear idea over the matter at the time,” he acknowledged.

“It is clear now that despite there being an agreement to curtail Executive powers, the 19th Amendment could not curtail Executive powers,” he added.

Meanwhile, MP Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena went onto defend SLPP MPs’ behaviour in Parliament which led to a brawl in the Well of the Parliament, claiming parliamentary officials had acted in an unlawful manner. 

“Once we form a Government, we will appoint a committee to investigate the behaviour of certain parliamentary officials during the tense situation which arose in Parliament,” he added.

Abeywardena also criticised the actions of the Mace-bearer during the brawl in the Well of the Parliament. “The Mace-bearer brought the Mace to Parliament from a back door, which was an insult to Parliament. Therefore, we believe the Mace-bearer neglected his duties,” he charged.  


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