TNA Leader R. Sambanthan, handing over statement to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa

The meeting summoned by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is not and cannot be a substitute for convening Parliament, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has told the PM.

While most opposition parties boycotted the meeting called by the Prime Minister today, May 4th, the TNA which was also a signatory to a joint statement of opposition political parties, submitted to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on April 27th, requesting the reconvening of parliament, had decided to attend the meeting.

The meeting was held at Temple Trees and included a large number of former parliamentarians who were not part of the 2015 Legislature and other political leaders.  The United National Party, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna boycotted the meeting.

The TNA’s statement submitted to the PM at this meeting also says that Parliament must be convened, ‘to deal with several constitutional and legal issues that have arisen, which Parliament alone can deal with.’

Stating that the President’s response to the request by the political parties to reconvene parliament has been in the negative, the statement further adds that the gradually escalating Corona pandemic, the continued governance of the country under a constitution rejected by the people, the unresolved issue of the National question and the growing economic crisis has placed the country and the people in a grave situation.

The statements points to the need for a united front in addressing the escalating COVID-19 situation, as much more must be done to eradicate the virus from the country, and to allay the fears of the people.

The TNA also says that the people have, these past 25 years rejected the constitution of 1978 and endorsed the enactment of a new constitution which will encompass ‘all three components of their Sovereignty – Powers of Governance- including   Legislative, Executive and Judicial Power –Fundamental Rights and their Franchise.’  However, the country continues to be governed under a constitution rejected by the people.  As well, the parliament of 2015 had converted itself to be a Constitutional Assembly with steering committees and sub-committees handling different subjects and an expert committee formulating a new constitution which looked at three main issues; The Executive Presidency, Electoral Reforms to Parliament, and the Tamil question and the sharing of powers of governance.  However, that exercise had come to a halt with the dissolution of parliament.

The statement further adds that their decision to attend the meeting with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was because all of the issues listed need to be addressed. The TNA also states that it is ready to extend its cooperation to resolving these issues in a ‘reasonable and acceptable manner in the interests of the country and all its People.”


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