dissolution; CBK to JVP
By Harinda Vidanage
President Chandrika Kumaratunga has ruled out an immediate dissolution
of parliament but indicated early provincial elections ahead of
any general election.
Her position has been conveyed to the JVP and her own MPs this week.
President Kumaratunga during a meeting with the JVP leadership had
indicated her preference to go for Provincial council elections
after sealing an SLFP-JVP alliance and test the electorate at a
provincial level before plunging in for a general election.
The JVP has,
however, been pushing for the alliance with the aim of having a
snap poll. At its subsequent politburo meeting, the JVP decided
to give President Kumaratunga a "final chance" on the
alliance. The JVP had earlier taken up the position that the alliance
was to form a new government at national level and not for provincial
As a result
of differences, the signing of a JVP-SLFP pact has been further
delayed. The absence of some of the senior SLFPers who are flying
overseas on vacation has also contributed to the delay. Fresh discussions
on the alliance are now expected only after mid January.
The JVP this
week handed over a 10-paged document containing the proposed MoU,
the work programme and the constitution of the proposed alliance.
This has been done after the documents were redrafted after the
SLFP central committee proposed certain changes to the original
the current document, the JVP will get the position of chairmanship,
two ministries and 38 seats in Parliament under a no-contest pact.
The JVP has 16 seats in the present Parliament. As the SLFP was
trying to seal the alliance with the JVP, it has run into problems
with the other constituent parties. Despite PA spokesman Sarath
Amunugama stating that all PA constituent parties have approved
the alliance the LSSP and CP have requested more time to study the
issue. LSSP general secretary Batty Weerakoon told The Sunday Times
his party had sought clarification from President Kumaratunga on
the policies of the proposed alliance.
He said President
Kumaratunga had promised them a response in a day but it was yet
to come. He added that a recent document issued by the SLFP and
JVP showed a glaring contradiction regarding the devolution of power.
Meanwhile at a meeting between President Kumaratunga and PA electoral
organizers, provincial council members asked for early parliamentary
elections while MPs asked for early provincial elections.
council case was presented by Western Province Chief Minister Reginald
Cooray. The opinion among majority of the SLFP MPs specially the
party stalwarts is that general elections will make conditions worse
for the country as well as the party. The backing for a snap poll
was mainly coming from few of the MPs supporting the JVP-SLFP alliance.
Sunday Times learns that the Mano-Malik committee talks have yielded
minimal results. As the talks between the two heads of the parties
could not progress as they were stuck on issues of defence the committee
held an emergency meeting Wednesday night.
meeting was after the Prime Minister rejected offers made by the
President on the peace process and defence during talks on Wednesday.
The first part of the President-Prime Minister talks revolved around
how Mr. Wickremesinghe was going to handle the peace process.
the Prime Minister asked how the President was going to handle the
peace process she did not have an answer. The proposals made by
the President at the meeting was on two areas. In the area of Peace
process President Kumaratunga requested a distinct role for her
but asked the Premier to carry on with his work as the preponderant
figure in the whole process.
the area of defence, the President proposed a Ministry of National
security and a portfolio of Minister Assisting Defence. In this
issue President Kumaratunga retained the preponderant role but offered
a significant share of power to Prime Minister Wickremesinghe.
But after the
rejection of both offers, Mano Tittawella tried to convince Malik
Samarawickrama that the new defence role offered to Prime Minister
had functions which would make the job even more powerful than the
one held by Lalith Athulathmudali and Ranjan Wijeratne.