Opposition to assert rights in House
All set to introduce Independent
Media Commission bill
By Frances Bulathsinghala
The joint Opposition as the first move has planned to introduce
a bill in parliament for the appointment of an Independent Media
Commission. This bill would be presented shortly and others would
follow in quick succession, with moves to take control of Parliamentary
Opposition Whip Mahinda Samarasinghe said other bills would be related
to strengthening the powers of Parliament and the implementation
of an Elections Commission.
Independent Media Commission will seek all top appointments in State
media institutions to be made through the Constitutional Council.
According to UNF members this would 'create history' as being the
first bill to be presented by an Opposition.
cannot run away from the fact that we are a minority government.
Let them bring in their bills. If we agree to them we will support
them.", Power and Energy Minister Susil Premajayantha said
yesterday, adding 'This is going to be the nature of Parliament
from now on."
Samarasinghe reacting to a question whether they would be violating
Parliamentary norms said they were following its 'rules to the hilt'.
have the majority. All parliamentary norms indicate that the majority
in parliament should be the deciding factor. We are working on the
draft and would be inviting the government to take part in the consultations",
Mr. Samarasinghe said.
the Joint Opposition also plans to pressurise the government for
a higher representation in Parliament committees. "If there
are to be ten members in a committee, we want at least six members
to be from the Opposition", TNA's Joseph Pararajasingham, said.
demand from the Opposition is to be presented at the next party
leaders' meeting before Parliament meets on July 20. SLMC leader
Rauff Hakeem said the decision was taken to promote democracy, while
UNP sources said the joint opposition 'did not want to give up their
rights' as they held the majority.