News

President to call all-party conference on SLFP request

 

  • Dayasiri says it will be held at the end of the month
  • Prez to convene 2 other conferences with clergy, scholars, and experts

 

BY Dinitha Rathnayake and Buddhika Samaraweera

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has agreed to convene an all-party conference at the end of this month to discuss the current crisis in the country, following a request made by the main constituent party of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP)-led Government alliance, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) this week, according to the SLFP.

Speaking to The Morning, SLFP General Secretary and Batik, Handloom, and Local Apparel Products State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said that the SLFP had made this request during the party’s meeting with the President on Tuesday (8).

“As the President promised, all parties in the Parliament will be invited to the general assembly by the end of this month. This assembly will be convened to discuss and take immediate action to save the people from the country’s crises. Also, 15 proposals presented by the SLFP were approved at the meeting,” he noted.

Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardena confirmed the plans for such a conference in Parliament today during a debate with former Prime Minister and current Opposition MP Ranil Wickremesinghe when the latter requested for the recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on Sri Lanka to be tabled in Parliament. Gunawardena responded by promising that it will be provided to MPs before the all-party conference.

Jayasekara added that President Rajapaksa had, in addition to convening an all-party conference, agreed to convene an expert conference in order to discuss the crisis situation in the country. He further noted that the President is to also convene two separate assemblies, one in the presence of religious leaders and the other with scholars.

Speaking to the media after the said meeting on Tuesday, SLFP Chairman and SLPP MP Maithripala Sirisena said that during the discussion with the President, they had discussed at length the crises situation concerning fuel, gas, electricity, food, and fertiliser for agriculture which have arisen at present. “At the invitation of President Rajapaksa, we, the SLFP MPs met him. Last month, at the All Ceylon Committee of the SLFP, we drafted a resolution with 15 proposals on the current crises’ situation and presented it to the Government. It focuses on matters such as the issues of the supply of oil, gas, electricity, food, and fertiliser, and solutions for them,” he added.

Speaking further, Sirisena said that the President and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had agreed to convene an all-party conference and an experts’ conference with the participation of the leaders of all the political parties represented in the Parliament in order to discuss and come up with solutions to these issues. “By the end of this month, all parties represented in the Parliament will receive an invitation from the President to discuss immediate action to save the people from the current crisis. In addition, it was decided to convene a conference of experts from all fields too,” he elaborated.

He said that during the discussion, there were no discussions aimed at the future elections or the betterment of the political parties, adding that only matters important to the people were discussed there.

The President’s Media Division noted that 15 points forwarded by the SLFP were discussed at this meeting.

The SLFP also opposed the proposals made for the amendment of the local government (LG) electoral system which had been put forward by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Election Law Reforms, he said, adding that the election system should be reformed in a manner that allows minority political parties also to have a possibility of winning elections.

Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa; Ministers Basil Rajapaksa and Dinesh Gunawardena; MP Sagara Kariyawasam; SLFP representatives including Sirisena; Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva and Mahinda Amaraweera; State Ministers Duminda Dissanayake, Jayasekara, and Lasantha Alagiyawanna; Deputy Speaker Ranjith Siyambalapitiya; and MPs Angajan Ramanathan, Jagath Pushpakumara, Shantha Bandara, Sarathi Dushmantha, Shan Vijayalal de Silva, Chamara Sampath, and Suren Raghavan were present at the discussion.