[R Sampanthan MP, Parliamentary Group, ITAK]
In a letter to the Speaker of the parliament the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) has pointed out that in the present set up ‘ No member of parliament elected from the UPFA or UNP can be the Leader of the Opposition. This clearly is the legal position as well as one that accords with parliamentary tradition, both of our country and the Commonwealth. The resultant position is that it is the ITAK that is entitled to the post of the Leader of the Opposition, having 14 members of parliament.’ ITAK is constituent party of the Tamil National Alliance.
The letter follows:
Leader of the Opposition
We write in relation to the above matter to put on record our position with regard to the above.
At the conclusion of the General Election held in April 2010, the Commissioner General of Elections informed Parliament that contestants from four political parties were returned to Parliament and the current Parliament therefore is constituted by members of four registered political parties, namely, the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), the United National Party (UNP), the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) and the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) and no other. The UPFA formed the government and the UNP as the largest party in the opposition, was given the post of Leader of the Opposition.
After the conclusion of the Presidential Election in January 2015 the Leader of the UNP has become the Prime Minister and a number of the members of parliament of the UNP are Cabinet Ministers constituting the government. The Leader of the UPFA is the President and a member of the Cabinet (in fact the head of the Cabinet) and a number of UPFA members of parliament (in excess of 26) are Ministers, some of them in the Cabinet. Therefore the Government today is composed of both the UPFA and the UNP, disentitling both of those parties from occupying the seat of the Leader of the Opposition. No member of parliament elected from the UPFA or UNP can be the Leader of the Opposition. This clearly is the legal position as well as one that accords with parliamentary tradition, both of our country and the Commonwealth. The resultant position is that it is the ITAK that is entitled to the post of the Leader of the Opposition, having 14 members of parliament. The DNA has 7 members, one of whom is also a Cabinet Minister now.
We consider it necessary to write this to you in view of the views expressed by you on Wednesday, the 8th of April 2015.
K Thurairajasingham, General Secretary
R Sampanthan MP, Parliamentary Group