SLPP threatens legal action if Cabinet exceeds 30 members

Tuesday, 25 December 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Plans legal action against three TNA MPs who they claim held dual citizenship when elected in 2015 


By Nuwan Senarathna 

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) yesterday said they would take legal action if the United National Front (UNF) exceeds 30 Cabinet members, insisting the 19th Amendment to the Constitution had specifically stated the maximum number of Cabinet members that could be appointed.

“The UNP is trying to exceed the limit of 30 Cabinet members. But this cannot be done according to the Constitution. Therefore if they are trying to violate the Constitution, we will not hesitate to take legal action against them,” MP Rohitha Abeygunawardana told reporters at SLPP headquarters.

He noted that according to Article 46 of the Constitution, the Cabinet cannot exceed 30 members, unless it was a National Government. Therefore, UNP has to respect that and limit the Cabinet to 30 members, he insisted.  

Abeygunawardana pointed out that if the UNF is considering exceeding the limit of Cabinet members that would be a violation of the law.   

“UNP is trying to please MPs who supported them. That is why they are trying to give them posts such as Non-Cabinet Minister. But those appointments are taken on behalf of the people of this county. These appointees will use public funds to buy luxury vehicles and go on foreign tours, which eventually the public has to pay for,” he charged.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe earlier stated that UNF would negotiate to increase the number of Cabinet Ministers to 32, based on their interpretation of the Constitution.  According to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the limit of 30 Cabinet members should be considered without the President and Prime Minister posts. 

Meanwhile, Abeygunawardana said SLPP would take legal action against three Tamil National Alliance (TNA) lawmakers who were holding dual citizenship, which they said could disqualify their seat in Parliament.

“We have been able to gather all necessary information about those three TNA MPs who are holding dual citizenship. But kept it secret,” he added.

He noted the case would be filed against those three MPs once courts resume in the New Year. He said SLPP possessed evidence to prove the three TNA MPs held dual citizenships when they were elected to Parliament in August 2015. However Abeygunawardana was not ready to disclose the names of the MPs to media and stated the names would be revealed to media once the case is filed in court. 

“Geetha Kumarasinghe lost her seat because she was holding dual citizenship of Switzerland and Sri Lanka when she was elected to Parliament in August 2015. Therefore the same rule should be applied to all MPs who are holding dual citizenship, regardless of their political party,” he added. 

Pic by Ruwan Walpola