by Saman Indrajith
UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday alleged that the UPFA government was rapidly moving towards what he called a dictatorial rule.
Addressing the media in the Parliamentary complex, the Opposition Leader said that the country was heading towards a dangerous situation due to the readiness on the part of the government to act outside democratic traditions. The UNP leader warned of an unprecedented crisis if the government didn’t change course.
“The government is acting as if it was not responsible to Parliament. It is the tradition of parliamentary democracy and mandatory, as mentioned in Section 42 of the Constitution, that the government should be responsible to Parliament. The recent conduct of the government shows that the ruling party wants to shirk this responsibility,” the UNP leader said.
Wickremesinghe alleged that there had been several examples of the government’s irresponsible attitude towards Parliament. “The government introduced compulsory military training for university entrants,” he said. “Parliament was not informed of this move. Even after we raised this issue following media reports, the government has not given a detailed account to Parliament of this controversial programme,” he said.
Wickremasinghe said that the government was moving ahead with a plan to remove primary sections of hundreds of schools and that, too, had been hidden from Parliament. Although such decisions could be introduced and implemented, Parliament should be kept informed. The government couldn’t shirk its responsibility by making public announcements without informing Parliament, the Opposition Leader said lashing out at the government for going ahead with a controversial plan to relocate about 2,500to 3,000 families from the Northern islets off Kalpitiya. He alleged that those islets were said to be leased out for tourism development.
The UNP leader strongly condemned the government for planning to do away with the long standing practice of allocating funds to MPs through the Consolidated Fund. He accused the Rajapaksa regime of humiliating members of parliament, thereby causing an unprecedented crisis.
The Opposition would raise that issue at next Party Leaders’ meeting, the UNP leader said.