Speaker tells IGP to probe pre-President vote death threats to MPs 

  • SLPP’s Wasantha Yapabandara submits phone call recording 

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana has informed Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne to conduct an investigation into the allegation made by three Government and Opposition MPs that they had received death threats on the eve of the recent vote in Parliament to elect the President.

When contacted by The Morning, Private Secretary to the Speaker Wasantha Yapa Abeywardena said: “After the Speaker became aware of this incident, he informed the IGP to conduct an investigation into it. After the relevant investigations, the IGP will inform the Speaker regarding the findings so that the latter can take further steps.”

Three MPs representing the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), and the main Parliamentary Opposition, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), told Parliament on Tuesday (9) that they were threatened with death on the eve of the vote in Parliament to elect the President, following the resignation of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Speaking in Parliament, SLPP Kandy District MP Wasantha Yapabandara said that an unidentified person had telephoned him to threaten that he resign from Parliament or face death, on the day before the said Parliamentary vote. He said that he had handed over recordings of the said telephone conversation, and requested the Speaker that an investigation be carried out into the incident.

Furthermore, SLPP Digamadulla District MP Dr. Thilak Rajapakshe also called for an investigation into the threats faced by MPs before the Parliamentary vote to elect the President.

Meanwhile, SJB Badulla District MP Chaminda Wijesiri said that votes had been solicited for then-Prime Minister and Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe from MPs by offering bribes, and that those who did not accept these bribes were threatened and intimidated to vote for Wickremesinghe. Given the matter, he said that one should question the legitimacy of the vote through which Wickremesinghe was appointed President. Requesting an investigation into the incident, Wijesiri said that the Speaker should inform Parliament as to whether the vote in question is legitimate or not.

On 20 July, Wickremesinghe, who was appointed Acting President following the resignation of former President Rajapaksa, was elected by Parliament as the eighth Executive President, in a landslide victory led by the votes of the SLPP MPs. He was sworn in as President before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya PC at the Parliamentary complex on 21 July.