Unable to come to an agreement over the time allocated to Joint Opposition members to take part in the scheduled debate on the UNHCR resolution against Sri Lanka, yesterday’s sitting was limited to 55 minutes.
The Parliament, which met at 10.30 a.m., adjourned at 11.24 a.m. unable to accommodate the request of the Joint Opposition for 100 minutes out of the 210 minutes allocated for the entire debate.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, who was reluctant to get involved in the internal matters of the UPFA and the Joint Opposition to increase the time allocations made according to a letter from the party leader, said: “I have no right to interfere in the internal issues of political parties. Party leaders should come to an agreement. The time was allocated for both the Government and the Opposition. I follow the letter received from the UPFA General Secretary. You should sort out the matter within your party.”
Chief Opposition Whip JVP MP Anura Dissanayake suggested that the UPFA team up with the Government and Joint Opposition to sort out issues beforehand.
“We have seen similar incidents before. There are three political parties in the Opposition. The TNA got the Opposition Leader post. We were given the Chief Opposition Whip position. Following a certain political arrangement, a part of the UPFA is with the Government and others are in the Opposition seated with us. However, the usual arrangement is to give 70% of debate time to the Government and 30% to the Opposition. The 70% the Government received is divided between the UNP and the UPFA, 40% and 30% respectively. The UPFA’s 30% will then get divided within their group. We have nothing to do with the issue that came out today and it is a result of an internal issue of the UPFA,” explained MP Dissanayake. (AH)