Caught in the nutcracker

Speaker W.J.M.Lokubandara came under fire from MPs of his own party, the UNP, for failing to resolve the problem that has arisen with regard to allocation of seats in Parliament for all the UNP members on the Opposition side of the House. Some UNP MPs also blamed the Speaker, who functions as the Chairman of the Constitutional Council, for failing to appoint members to the Council.

On the first issue, the Speaker said he has asked Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera to discuss with other opposition MPs and resolve the problem regarding the seating arrangements. On the other issue of the CC, the Speaker said he had no legal power to appoint members to the CC and he would not act illegally despite any pressure brought upon him. A frustrated Speaker couldn’t help lamenting that he was beginning to feel like the ‘girayata awuhuna puwak gediya’ especially with some UNP MPs constantly reminding him he was one of their own.

Stomach or country

Leader of the House Nimal Siripala De Silva had a word of advice to the people. He said in a situation where the Government had to fight to safeguard the country, people would have to bear economic hardships that are bound to arise.

People would have to decide between ‘stomach and country’ he said in Parliament on Tuesday while speaking on the debate to extend emergency rule in the country. Politicians can lead by example at least now and start by cutting down on their extravagant life styles.

Muzzling the media

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) launched a satyagraha after staging a walkout of Parliament on Tuesday on the steps that lead to the Chamber. Cameramen and TV crews were called in to cover the event but the policemen on duty said the area was a ‘high security zone’ and no photographers or even reporters were allowed there.
As to what kind of security threat media personnel who had undergone numerous checks to get to the Parliament building would pose is a question only those who gave such orders can answer. Another typical case of trying to muzzle the media, to get into the good books of some of the higher ups, who obviously have an axe to grind with the media.

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