ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday March 23, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 43

Who will it be? Parliament SG appointment still in the air

The issue of the appointment of a Secretary General to Parliament is yet to be resolved with the President’s office claiming that the President can make an acting or permanent appointment and the opposition leader Ranil Wickremesighe declaring MPs would have the right to raise a privilege issue if proper legal procedure was not followed.

The present Secretary General of Parliament Priyanee Wijesekera retires on March 31. Mr Wickremesinghe told Parliament this week there would be a crisis in the Legislature if the SG was appointed by the President without consulting Parliament in the absence of the Constitutional Council (CC). But a spokesman for the President’s office said Mrs.Wijesekera will inform the President in writing about her impending retirement before the due date, following which the President can make an appointment.

A former SG of Parliament Dhammika Kitulgoda, 56, is reportedly favoured by the Government to replace the outgoing SG, while several opposition parties in parliament have hinted they want her replaced by the Deputy SG Dhammika Dassanayaka. Mr.Kitulgoda served as SG from February, 1999 to July 2002. After he stepped down, Parliament functioned without a SG from August 1 to 11, that year. However, there were no sittings during this period.

Mrs.Wijesekera was appointed Acting SG on August 12, 2002 and functioned in this capacity till June, 2003. She was appointed as SG on June 5, 2003 and will continue till March 31, when she reaches the compulsory retirement age of 60. Parliament meets on April 8.

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