Sumanthiran criticises President’s frequent throne speeches amid economic turmoil

Saturday, 10 February 2024 01:04 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Claims President has penchant for delivering speeches rather than addressing pressing economic issues
  • Says he relishes being able to express long-held sentiments, potentially dating back several decades, during these speeches
  • Notes while President indulges in this practice citizens of SL face imminent peril due to economic situation

In a scathing critique of the President’s policy statement, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M.A Sumanthiran highlighted concerns over the President’s habitual delivery of throne speeches amidst the country’s economic challenges.

Sumanthiran addressing Parliament yesterday expressed scepticism regarding the President’s motives behind the frequent proroguing of Parliament, suggesting a penchant for delivering speeches rather than addressing pressing economic issues.

“He has made this practice a habit in his short tenure as President; he has done this many times. Each time he prorogued Parliament, one wondered why he was doing so,” he remarked. 

Sumanthiran speculated that the President relishes the opportunity to express long-held sentiments, potentially dating back several decades, during these speeches. However, he cautioned that while the President indulges in this practice, the citizens of the country face imminent peril due to the economic situation.

Sumanthiran also maintained that President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s assertions regarding an economic turnaround are merely empty rhetoric. While acknowledging that some semblance of normalcy has been restored and conceding that the President has managed to stabilise the situation to some extent, Sumanthiran cautioned that the moratorium on debt repayment is a looming disaster.

“It provides immediate relief, only to be followed by darker clouds looming over the country shortly afterwards. Likewise, IMF relief allows us to borrow more at present. While borrowing is necessary, no one disputes that, it ultimately leads to further indebtedness. So, while things may appear rosy on the surface, in reality, they are not,” he remarked.

Sumanthiran voiced significant apprehensions regarding President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s pronouncement of this year as an election year, shedding light on concerns surrounding the democratic process in Sri Lanka.

Sumanthiran underscored that the President’s unilateral decision to designate this year as an election year disregards constitutional and legal provisions governing election schedules in the country. He stressed that while the President possesses the authority to call elections, such decisions must align with the stipulations outlined in the constitution and laws.

The MP criticised the Government’s handling of local council elections last year, accusing the Finance Minister and the President of impeding citizens’ voting rights by withholding funds crucial for the election process. He condemned this action as a violation of democracy and the Constitution.

Moreover, Sumanthiran highlighted the prolonged delay in conducting provincial council elections despite the introduction of a private member’s bill aimed at facilitating their immediate conduct, based on recommendations from the Prime Minister’s committee. He expressed frustration over the Government’s reluctance to advance with the bill and urged its prompt implementation to enable provincial council elections.

Expressing scepticism over the President’s announcement of Presidential and General elections this year, Sumanthiran cautioned against potential political manoeuvres and emphasised the need for transparent and inclusive electoral processes.

Additionally, Sumanthiran recalled the President’s commitment to resolving the ethnic conflict during his tenure, a promise that remains unfulfilled as the country progresses beyond its 76th Independence Day without significant advancement on the issue. He called attention to the importance of addressing key national issues and delivering on electoral promises for the nation’s betterment.