The Friday Forum condemns strongly, the manner in which President Maithripala Sirisena has attempted to sack the duly appointed Prime Minister of the country and install former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister. It is a matter of great concern for the nation that in doing so, he has failed to follow Constitutional procedures that required him to ensure that the Prime Minister had lost the confidence of Parliament, and could not hold this office. The extra Parliamentary procedures he has followed are a violation of his obligation to lawfully exercise his Constitutional powers and responsibilities.
The President’s actions also demonstrate a flagrant disregard of the mandate he received from a majority of the voters of this country, who elected him to the office of President in 2015.He has failed to fulfill his promises and give the necessary leadership for good governance in critically important areas. Even more astounding is the fact that he has used extra Parliamentary procedures to install former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister yesterday, when the majority of voters in 2015 voted for a change of regime from the Rajapaksa style of governance. It is perhaps an indication of what problems the country will face with this change, when Mahinda Rajapaksa accepts office in an unconstitutional manner and requests the country and political leaders to “respect democratic change.
We condemn the further undermining of parliamentary democracy by the prorogation of Parliament. We call upon the Speaker to urgently use his office to resolve this national crisis that has serious implications for the people of this country. We call upon our fellow citizens in the public service, the armed forces and the Police to act with professionalism and discipline and fulfil their responsibilities under the Constitution and to the people.
Prof. Savitri Goonesekere, Prof. Camena Guneratne and Dr. A.C. Visvalingam
For and on behalf of Mr. Prashan de Visser, Mr. Pulasthi Hewamanna, Mr. Chandra Jayaratne, Ms. Shanthi Dias, Mr. Tissa Jayatilaka, Prof. Ranjini Obeyesekere, Bishop Duleep de Chickera, Prof. Gananath Obeyesekere, Dr. Geedreck Usvatte-aratchi, Prof. Gameela Samarasinghe and Dr. Dinesha Samararatne.