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National Council proposal passed without division

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena’s proposal to establish a “National Council” was passed in Parliament on Tuesday (20) without division, and will be constituted to represent all parties representing the ninth Parliament from among the recognised political parties of the country. However, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)-led National People’s Power (NPP) has stated that it would not take part in the National Council even though it did not vote against its establishment.

The consensus was obtained at three rounds of discussions under the leadership of the Prime Minister held at the Parliament Complex with the participation of all party representatives, a press release stated, noting that the agreement of all parties was obtained after much deliberation.

Presenting this proposal to Parliament on Tuesday, the Prime Minister explained the authority and general responsibilities of the National Council. Setting of common priorities in Parliament to guide short, medium, and long-term national policymaking to agree on short-term programmes related to economic stabilisation and organising activities for special meetings attended by the Cabinet of Ministers, Chairpersons of National Council and Special Committees, and Youth Observers of Youth Organisations are among the responsibilities of the National Council.

The “National Council” also has the authority to summon reports from the Sectoral Monitoring Committees, the Committee on Government Finance, the Committee on Government Accounts, the Committee on Public Enterprises, and any committee that controls the Government’s finances.

According to the proposal, it will be chaired by the Speaker and no more than 35 Members of Parliament representing the ninth Parliament from the recognised political parties including the Prime Minister, the Leader of the House of Parliament, the Leader of the Opposition, and the Chief Government whip who will be the members to this council.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday (22), NPP MP Vijitha Herath claimed that this was only a political drama brought forward by the Government to demonstrate to international actors that all political parties in the country are united to overcome the crisis, which is however contrary to reality.

 

“Though the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)-led National People’s Power (NPP) did not vote against the establishment of the National Council, we will not participate in it,” he said.