Eran moots Budget 2014 vote by secret ballot

Tuesday, 17 December 2013 02:27 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Claims Govt. is losing Budget votes at councils around the country because of secret ballot system
  • Guarantees Govt. will lose Budget vote if Parliament votes by secret ballot
  • Urges investigation into Times of London cash-for-kidneys program at Colombo hospital
The United National Party has challenged the Government to get its 2014 Budget passed in Parliament by enforcing a secret ballot, saying the UPFA was losing Budget votes at local councils all over the country because elected representatives were voting without fear of reprisals. Opposition Parliamentarian Eran Wickremaratne told Parliament last week that the Government was losing votes at Municipal Councils, Urban Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas all over the country even though it theoretically has a majority. “I have heard MPs say that these votes are being lost as the Chairman is not sharing political power with other members. I say that the votes are being lost because the Chairman of the local authority is not sharing his ill-gotten gains with other members. The Budget vote is lost because there is a secret ballot and people are voting without fear of reprisal,” Wickremaratne said. Wickremaratne challenged the Government to hold a secret ballot in Parliament, saying the vote on the Budget would be lost because there was corruption in high places. Speaking during the Budget debate on the Health Ministry, the UNP MP demanded that the Government investigate allegations that surfaced in a London based newspaper in November this year that claimed the country was facilitating cash for kidneys as a medical tourism initiative. “We call upon the Government to investigate the news report and if necessary take legal action against the newspaper to safeguard the reputation of the Defence Secretary, who has been named as the Chairman of the hospital, and also the reputation of the country. In such instances we must act quickly,” he warned. Wickremaratne charged that the Government must not leave room for Sri Lanka’s reputation to be sullied as a centre for organ trafficking. “The National Organ Transplant Policy, Eligibility Guidelines & Allocation Protocols must be enacted without delay. If there are delays we will naturally come to the conclusion that organ trafficking is happening,” he said.