Voting fiasco in Parliament

Tuesday, 10 May 2016 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

There have been some reports in the media about an alleged vote rigging in Parliament. This is the last place the public would like to associate with vote rigging. 

The headlines in the Island of 7 May, ‘Vote dispute (in Parliament): 163 out of 225 MPs missing’. Then, of course the number present should be 62 including the Speaker/Chair.

Naturally, the Opposition protested when a counting was declared of 33 in favour for, and 31 against (none abstaining), the supplementary vote of Rs. 55 million of the Government, and demanded a recount. Then after several recounts, it is reported the BUP_DFTDFT-20-EDITORSecretary-General had come out with a count of 31 for and 31 against, a tie. 

Obviously, if 163 had been out of Parliament and only 62 had been present, that should be including the Speaker; the Speaker should have voted, presumably in favour of the estimate. Had he not, it would have been 30 in favour and 31 against and the vote would have been defeated. If he had voted and if it was a tie, as the final count revealed, couldn’t he have given the casting vote as the chairman, and have got the estimate passed?

Notwithstanding the above, if only 162, and not 163 had been absent in Parliament at this session, and 62 present excluding the Speaker, and resulted in the tie why couldn’t the Speaker/Chair have given the casting vote and made the decision avoiding the tie? 

I hope the four-member probe committee appointed by the Speaker would help to clarify these doubts in the public mind.

A.D.V. de S. Indraratna