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20A Bill debate | Three days reduced to two

  • Parliament to extend hours on Wednesday and Thursday

By Skandha Gunasekara

The 20th Amendment to the Constitution Bill is to be debated for two days next week on Wednesday (21) and Thursday (22).

Leader of the House and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dinesh Gunawardena said that a two-day debate was agreed upon during the parliamentary party leaders’ meeting on Friday (16).

He said the Opposition requested a three-day debate, but the Government had declined.

“We said we would keep it to two days, but we have extended the parliamentary sessions for a longer period than the norm,” he said. 

Accordingly, the debates would go on till 7 p.m., whereas the parliamentary sitting usually concludes by 4.30 p.m.

Nevertheless, the Opposition had been disappointed with the decision to curtail the debate to just two days.

“Such a sensitive subject should not be given only two days. We assumed that it would be given ample time for the people’s representatives to air their opinions because there are several parties opposing it and they have to express their views,” Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Harin Fernando said.