The Lanka Academic

 
JULY 13, 2001 EST, USA
 
A NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY LACNET
 
VOL. 2, NO. 98

Headline Summary
F R E E      C L A S S I F I E D S
T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Sri Lanka not to bring back controversial devolution statute: radio
123India.com, Jul 13 2001 22:57 IST. Sri Lanka's plan to introduce a new constitution this year will not see the revival of a controversial draft statute that would have granted Tamil-majority areas more autonomy, state radio said Friday. The Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation said President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who has called for a new constitution, will introduce a brand-new statute to resolve the island's drawn-out Tamil separatist conflict and bring about democratic reforms. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 14:24:45 EDT 2001


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Sri Lankan Buddhist Monks Rally To Support Govt
Yahoo Singapore, july 13. Hundreds of Buddhist monks gathered at a Colombo park Friday to support the Sri Lankan government's plan to amend the constitrution. "We feel that the president's decision is timely and wise," said Athurugiliye Leelarathne of the All Island Clergy Organization. Buddhist monks enjoy enormous influence in Sri Lanka, where 76% of the people are Buddh More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 21:56:23 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Parliamentary Speaker to decide tomorrow whether to summon parliament.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1300 slt 13.07.01. Parliamentary speaker Anura Bandaranaike said today that he would announce tomorrow whether to ignore the two month prorogation of parliament by President Kumaratunga and summon parliament on the 16th of July. The speaker told leaders of opposition parties that he would consider their submissions and consult constitutional lawyers and announce the decision tomorrow. The Party leaders who met the speaker this morning made submissions that the prorogation was illegal and that he should summon parliament as scheduled. end
Published: Fri Jul 13 03:22:26 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Convene Parliament: Lankan Oppn tells Speaker
Times of India, july 14. COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's opposition party leaders on Friday placed their signatures on a letter requesting Speaker Anura Bandaranaike to disregard the presidential order proroguing Parliament and to resume sittings on July 16, which if he agrees to could lead to a constitutional crisis. Constitutional lawyers of the main opposition United National Party (UNP) met with the speaker at Friday's meeting and built up a case that President Chandrika Kumaratunga's decision to prorogue Parliament was wrong because it was meant to block a no-confidence motion against the government supported by half the House. The UNP's argument that Kumaratunga's move is wrong may be morally correct but constitutionally it is a weak case because she is vested with the power to take such action. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 22:02:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka opposition seeks foreign intervention to end crisis
Yahoo Asia, Friday, July 13 9:14 PM SGT . Sri Lanka's opposition parties were Friday considering reporting President Chandrika Kumaratunga to world judicial bodies for shutting down parliament in order to avoid a defeat of her minority government. Kumaratunga was also dubbed "Sri Lanka's Hitler" by the opposition United National Party (UNP) following her move to suspend parliament on Tuesday in a bid to avoid a vote of no-confidence in her minority government. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 11:11:16 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
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Sri Lanka's opposition wants to take PM to international court  - 123India.com

Sri Lankan Marxists plan protests on referendum
MSNBC, July 13. COLOMBO, July 13 - Sri Lanka's Marxist political party that holds a crucial voting block in parliament denounced as ridiculous on Friday a referendum on constitutional change set for next month. The referendum called by the ruling coalition, which lost its majority in parliament last month, was seen by opposition parties as a ploy to delay a no-confidence vote that had been planned for later this month. ''We see the question posed by the government in the referendum as both wrong and ridiculous,'' Wimal Weerawansa, a spokesman for the Peoples Liberation Front (JVP), said at a news conference. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 07:51:53 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chandrika vows to scrap presidency
Gulf News, july 13. Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga called the public to support her to introduce a new constitution and vowed to abolish the executive Presidency.Kumaratunga for the first time addressing the nation after she faced the no confidence motion said she was calling the people to vote for a new constitution as she wanted to establish a system of governance which was responsible for the people.In a brief address to the nation in Sinhalese, Kumaratunga said that she is willing to tell the public about the new constitution and introduce it within this year, but did not explain how she is going to do it. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 22:00:58 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka Opp ignores order, wants Parliament reopened
The Indian Express, JULY 13. SRI Lanka’s Opposition appealed to the Speaker of Parliament on Friday to ignore a presidential order suspending the body.The Opposition presented a letter to Anura Bandaranaike saying he should defy a decision by President Chandrika Kumaratunga, his politically estranged sister, to suspend Parliament so lawmakers can go ahead with a planned no-confidence vote against her minority government. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 21:57:54 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
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Sri Lanka Opposition: Speaker Should Reconvene Parliament  - yahoo

Kumaratunga defends Parliament's suspension
IndiaInfo, July 13. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga defended her suspension of Parliament and has ordered a referendum in August by saying that she would enact a new Constitution before the end of 2001.She once again promised to abolish the executive Presidency during a national television address, but this time it has more to do with political survival than peace making. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 09:52:42 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan Muslims protest ties with Israel
MSNBC, July 13 . Sri Lankan Muslims on Friday protested for the second time this week against the appointment of Israel's first ambassador to Colombo after diplomatic ties were resumed more than one year ago to boost military relations. Protests were held in several Muslim-dominated areas on the east coast of the island after Friday prayers. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 12:32:06 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka in a bind - An Editorial
Dawn, July 13. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's sudden decision to prorogue parliament, ostensibly in a bid to thwart a no-confidence motion against her party's minority government, has pushed her country into deeper political crisis. Tormented by eighteen years of full-scale insurgency by the Tamil separatists in the northern Jaffna peninsula, and a worsening economic situation, Sri Lanka today stands in a critical bind. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 09:48:45 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Elections department has 40 days to implement the referendum
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.40 a.m. SLT Friday July 13. Mr. K. Senanayake, Assistant Commissioner at the Elections Department admitted the department has been pushed into fast forward mode as they hurry to prepare the entire country for a referendum. The Election Commissioner, Dayananda Dissanayake will again adopt certain precautionary methods, similar to his plan in October 2000, to ensure the authenticity of the ballot papers. Senanayake asserted the Elections Commissioner will not consult the government or the President in this regard, but will bring into place certain security precautions at his own discretion.

Going by the electoral list of the year 2000, Senanayake said they were still in the process of counting the number of voters on that list. The forthcoming referendum scheduled for August 21, he said would cost an estimated Rs. 500 million. The money he claimed would be given from the Government Treasury.

Ballot papers would carry the question, do you want a new constitution? If Yes, one is expected to mark a cross (X) in front of a lamp, if your answer is No, then you pen a cross (X) in front of a pot.

The printing of the ballot papers will be done at the government printers and distributed accordingly. Asked if the elections department had been given sufficient time to organize the referendum, Senanayake said "we just have to do it."

Asked how the referendum would be conducted in areas like the Vanni and some northern and eastern regions where voters would find it impossible to cast their vote, Senanayake reiterated that the department would carry out the referendum in the same manner as it did the general elections in October 2000.

Senanayake maintained that the President has the power to lend a minimum of thirty days notice to the elections department to organize a poll. In this instance the department has been given 40 days notice to plan, organize and implement the referendum by August 21, 2001.
Published: Thu Jul 12 23:39:17 EDT 2001 Back to the top


Lanka to spend Rs 600 million on referendum
Times of India (Breaking News), Friday, 13 July 2001 . COLOMBO: Sri Lanka will spend an estimated Rs 600 million on holding the referendum on August 21 to decide whether to have a new Constitution for the island nation, election officials have said. President Chandrika Kumaratunga ordered the referendum after suspending parliament earlier this week to let the people decide whether they need a new Constitution to correct what she calls distortions in parliamentary representation for the party getting the largest number of votes in general elections. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 05:49:31 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Constitutional stratagems key to S.L crisis
TamilNet, Fri 13 July 2001 07:30GMT. "Asking us whether we are in agreement with the proposal that the 'country needs a new Constitution?' is akin to asking a person whether he wants to marry or not marry a woman whom he does not know at all. How can they ask us to vote for something when we do not know whether it is black or white," asked Mr. Wimal Weerawansa, MP, the propaganda secretary and senior leader of the radical Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (People's Liberation Front), condemning the Sri Lankan President's decision to suspend parliament and hold a referendum in August. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 03:33:25 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lankans fear major showdown in streets
gulf-news, July 12. Opposition parties reacted cautiously yesterday as citizens feared a major showdown with the Government would spill from the parliamentary arena to the streets following the sudden suspension of Parliament for two months by President Chandrika Kumaratunga by midnight gazette effective yesterday. The move was clearly precipitated due to contingencies faced in Parliament, and it appears that what President Kumaratunga is trying to do is to change the composition of Parliament by by-passing a general election. More...
Published: Thu Jul 12 19:15:27 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Norway peace bid battered by Sri Lanka political turmoil
yahoo Singapore, 13 July 2001. Norway's attempts to revive its tottering peace bid in Sri Lanka have suffered a kidney punch due to unprecedented political turmoil in an island already soaked in blood and tears, diplomats said Friday. President Chandrika Kumaratunga's surprise suspension of parliament earlier this week to head off a move to oust her government has further aggravated the acrimony between her party and the opposition. "It was essential that there was a bipartisan agreement on the peace process," an Asian diplomat here said. "Now that both parties are battling for parliamentary power, the peace process will be on the backburner." More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 03:04:02 EDT 2001 Back to the top

SB to be removed from SLFP Gen. Sec. post?
The Island, Fri 13 July 2001 06:10GMT. Speculation was rife in SLFP sides yesterday that Minister S. B. Dissanayake who is also the General Secretary of the party would be stripped of his party post, SLFP sources said yesterday. They said the party Central Committee was scheduled to meet last evening to take up the issue. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 02:12:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
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SB's brother vows to fight back  - The Island

President's moves to change the constitution is illegal - UNP
Saroj Pathirana in London, Thursday 12/07/01 1740GMT. President Chandrika Kumaratunge cannot legally change the current constitution as she lacks even a simple majority in the parliament , a spokesman of the United National Party (UNP) said. UNP MP Karunasena Kodituwakku said that the draft constitution brought in on 3rd August 2000, was opposed not only by the opposition parties, but also by the members of the ruling coalition. He was reacting to the President?s speech to the nation in which she blamed opposition for not supporting the constitutional reforms, brought in last year.

"She needs two thirds majority in the parliament to change the constitution. If she is trying to bring a new constitution unconstitutionally, she is dragging the country to another crisis" Mr. Kodituwakku told BBC?s Sandeshaya.
Published: Thu Jul 12 13:41:36 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
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Lanka Oppn slams dismissal of Parliament  - indiainfo
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Parliament suspension unconstitutional: Lankan opposition  - Times of India

PA rebel MP house attacked
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.35 p.m. SLT Thursday July 12. The home of Ananda Moonesinghe, a rebel MP of the ruling Peoples Alliance was attacked today by unknown persons. Moonesinghe, together with 10 other MPs recently informed President Kumaratunge of their dis-satisfaction with the manner in which the government was handling the no confidence motion among other matters.

Moonesinghe is also attempting a cross-over to the UNP. The MP said today that as a parliamentarian he has done no wrong to point out wrongdoing on the part of the government he represents.

Meanwhile, the Mahanayake for the Malwatte Chapter said today he doubted a free and fair referendum would be held in the country.

Opposition parliamentarians have pointed out there is no need for a referendum seeking the people's mandate for a new constitution as the nation has already voted in the positive for a new constitution not once but on consecutive occasions when elections were held after 1994.
Published: Thu Jul 12 11:38:52 EDT 2001 Back to the top


President calls for a new mandate to introduce a new constitution
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.55 p.m. SLT Thursday July 12. President Chandrika Kumaratunge called for a fresh mandate at the August referendum to bring a new constitution. Addressing the nation on state television and radio at 7.30 this evening, the president said the people should give a clear verdict against the current constitution which is the main cause for a series of crises in the country.

"It was brought in without the approval of the people," the President said. She added that the purpose of the new constitution would be to achieve three main aims.

Firstly, to bring about a new electoral system. A mix between the current proportional representation system and the first past the post system.

The president said the current PR system has ensured that no party gets a stable majority in parliament. The President asserted the preference system would also be done away with and a new system introduced. However she did not specify the new system.

The second target was to implement the independent commissions that have been widely discussed today. The President said that the third and important target would be to solve the ethnic problem by introducing clauses in the new constitution that would allow all religious and ethnic groups to live amicably together in the country.
Published: Thu Jul 12 09:58:27 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
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Sri Lanka to Introduce New Constitution This Year  - People's Daily
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Chandrika defends referendum  - Hindu
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Sri Lankan president vows new constitution this year  - 123India.com

World Bk For Lanka Coal-Fired Power
Yahoo Singapore, 13 July 2001. Sri Lanka must develop coal-fired power plants to supplement irregular hydroelectric power, says S. Vijay Iyer, Senior Financial Analyst at World Bank's South Asia Energy Unit. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 03:01:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Combined Opposition wants President to remove PM, dismiss govt.
Island, 13 July 2001. The combined opposition yesterday wrote to President Chandrika Kumaratunga saying the majority in Parliament have lost confidence in Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake and requesting her to appoint a suitable alternative who could reconstitute the Cabinet. It is the second time in as many weeks that the opposition showed their strength in the House. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 00:17:59 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan president outlines controversial reforms
Yahoo Singapore, Thursday July 12, 11:49 PM. Sri Lanka's president on Thursday appealed for support for a new constitution designed to help end the country's ethnic war and change an electoral system which she said prompted her to suspend parliament.Facing opposition allegations that she was moving toward a dictatorship, President Chandrika Kumaratunga also promised to trim her own powers if the reforms were endorsed in an August 21 referendum, called after she suspended the legislature to thwart an no-confidence vote against her minority government. More...
Published: Thu Jul 12 13:04:04 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
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TRANSCRIPT OF PRESIDENT KUMARANATUNGE'S ADDRESS TO THE NATION.  - The Lanka Academic
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Sri Lanka president vows new constitution as crisis deepens  - Yahoo Asia
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New Lankan constitution - an old idea with a new focus  - Press Trust of India

Hasina Murder Plot-III: How the LTTE deal was blocked and suicide bombers failed to explode
Thenewspapertoday, July 12. Major Alam's brother Najml Amin came up with an idea which was immediately taken note of. Amin is married to a Tamil Muslim from Jaffna in Sri Lanka. And his mother-in-law is an active member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's (LTTE) women's wing. Amin proposed that LTTE suicide bombers be hired through his mother-in-law.At a meeting on June 6, 1999 at St. James Court Hotel (see map) in London, the group finally gave shape to the assassination plan. They decided to pay $10 million for LTTE suicide bombers rather than assign the French for half the amount. The logic was that the LTTE was more dependable and it hardly leaves any trace. What's more, Najmul Amin argued, the LTTE would be a better option because of "the sub-continental features" of its suicide bombers. They could easily pass off as Bangladeshis and, hence, could mix with the local populace. More...
Published: Thu Jul 12 13:10:27 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Victim of the Ranatunge assaualt case suffers Psychiatric damage
Saroj Pathirana in London, Thursday 12/07/01 1645GMT. A schoolboy who was beaten up by the cricketing legend of Sri Lanka Arjuna Ranatunge, has been admitted to Angoda Mental hospital after being diagnosed as brain damaged as a result of the attack. The student suffered head injuries and was in hospital for a lengthy period. The boy is among the group of schoolchildren who were allegedly assaulted by ex-cricket captain Arjuna, his politician brother Prasanna and their bodyguards after a dispute over a cricket ball. Ranatunge Family accompanied by the bodyguards allegedly stormed the neighbouring Asoka Vidyalaya after a group of young children had climbed over the wall to retrieve their cricket ball. Ranatunge brothers were charged for the assault by the police.

The assault and the alleged attempts to cover up the incident led to street protests by students from many Colombo schools including Asoka Vidyalaya and Ananda College, Arjuna?s ex-school. Maradana Asoka Vidyalaya?s principal had to close the school for few days as angry parents gathered asked for justice and tried to attack Ranatunge family compound alleging that Food Minister and the leader of the House Reggie Ranatunge, Arjuna Rantunge's father, trying to influence investigations. There are also allegations that the political pressure attempting to stop treatments might have led to deteriorate the boy?s psychological health.
Published: Thu Jul 12 12:46:59 EDT 2001 Back to the top


CASES AGAINST CRICKETERS FALL APART
Asian Age, 13 July 2001. Sri Lanka’s match-fixing tainted cricketers Arjuna Ranatunga and Arvinda de Silva have been cleared by Sri Lanka investigator Desmond Fernando, according to sources in Colombo. Desmond Fernando, appointed probe commissioner by the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka, has given a clean chit to both crickers for “not having concrete proof”. Fernando’s report will be sent to the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption Unit soon. Both Lankan players are now all set to be cleared by the ICC unit following England’s Alec Stewart. More...
Published: Thu Jul 12 21:35:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Western countries and India express concern over Sri Lanka's political crisis
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.30 p.m. SLT Thursday July 12. Ambassadors of western countries and India today expressed concern over the political crisis in Sri Lanka. The ambassadors expressed their concern, quote, "over the part taken by the President and its effect on democracy and governance," unquote, at a meeting with leaders of the United National Party.

UNP leader Ranil Wickemasinghe , Deputy Leader, Karu Jayasuriya and Colombo District Parliamentarian Milinda Moragoda briefed the Ambassadors. "They were concerned and said they were watching the situation closely," Moragoda told Lacnet News.
Published: Thu Jul 12 09:39:37 EDT 2001 Back to the top


The central committee of the SLFP to meet tomorrow in emergency sessions
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7 p.m. SLT Thursday July 12. The Central Committee of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party is to meet tomorrow in emergency sessions. The meeting is to be chaired by party president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge. The CC is expected to endorse the Presidents decision to prorogue parliament and call for a referendum on August 21. However all eyes will be on Samurdhi Minister and SLFP General Secretary, S. B. Dissanayake to see whether he will attend the meeting.

Mr Dissanayake is leading a group of SLFP MPs who want to form a government with the Opposition. Mr. Dissanayake walked out of the last cabinet meeting, yesterday.
Published: Thu Jul 12 09:39:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top


Opposition parliamentary leaders to meet Speaker to ask for summoning of Parliament
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.45 p.m. SLT Thursday July 12. Leaders of all political parties in the opposition are to meet parliamentary speaker Anura Bandaranaike tomorrow morning to request him to summon Parliament ignoring the two month prorogation by President Kumaratunge.

Opposition sources said even if the Speaker rejects the request the party leaders were considering whether to meet in parliament and conduct business in defiance of the prorogation.
Published: Thu Jul 12 09:39:38 EDT 2001 Back to the top


Business leaders call for national government
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 5 p.m. SLT Thursday July 12. The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce today called on all political parties to come together to solve the burning problems of the country. In a statement issued today the chamber said a solution to the ethnic crisis was a pre-requisite to solve the economic crisis and said all political parties should now get together to achieve this.
Published: Thu Jul 12 09:39:38 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chandrika vows to abolish Executive Presidency and PR system: New Constitution to be enacted by year end.
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 7.15 PM SLT Thursday July 12, 2001. President Chandrika Kumaratunga today vowed to abolish the all powerful Executive Presidency and jettison the Proportional Representation (PR) system through a new constitution, which she said, should be in place by the end of this year.

Appealing to the people over the state run Rupavahini TV to vote for a new constitution in the August 21 referendum, the President said that she did not need the awesome power bestowed on the Executive President by the 1978 constitution."I am committed to abolishing it," she said.All honest and right thinking sections of society would be consulted on the features of the new constitution before enacting it by year end.

Justifying the prorogation of parliament and also the ordering of a referendum on the need for a new constitution,Mrs.Kumaratunga said that the present turbulence in parliament was due to the electoral system stipulated in the 1978 constitution.The Proportional Representation (PR) system that it introduced would prevent any party from forming a stable government.A change in the electoral system was,therefore,imperative, she said.
Published: Thu Jul 12 09:27:54 EDT 2001 Back to the top


Milk producers reject request to reduce prices
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.50 p.m. SLT Thursday July 12. Milk produces have rejected a request by a government cabinet committee to reduce milk prices by cutting advertising and packaging costs.

Producers said even if advertising is reduced to zero, cost reduction would be only Rs. 1.25 per packet of milk.
Published: Thu Jul 12 09:39:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top


Sri Lanka ruling party wants to oust Muslim defectors from parliament
123India.com, Jul 12 2001 15:40 IST. COLOMBO, July 12 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's ruling coalition Thursday launched action to sack from parliament seven Muslim legislators who defected from the government and cost it its majority. The ruling People's Alliance (PA) general secretary, D.M. Jayaratne, said he had asked the seven to explain why they abandoned President Chandrika Kumaratunga's coalition on June 20 for the opposition, plunging the government into deep political crisis. More...
Published: Thu Jul 12 08:13:11 EDT 2001 Back to the top

SB is the lone dissenter
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 3.55 PM SLT Thursday,July 12, 2001. Contrary to press reports that four Sri Lankan ministers had walked out of Wednesday's cabinet meeting, protesting against the clandestine way in which President Kumaratunga decided to prorogue parliament and hold a referendum on the need for a fresh constitution, only one minister did.

The lone dissenter was Samurdhi Minister and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) General Secretary Mr.S.B.Dissanayake.

Cabinet ministers told this correspondent that Mr.Mahinda Wijesaekara had excused himself because he had to attend a funeral,and Mr.Arumugam Thondaman went out to mollify Mr.Dissanayake but came back when he did not succeed.Prof.G.L.Peiris did not walk out,but made a seminal contribution to the proceedings by suggesting ways to make the referendum a meaningful exercise.

Admittedly, the meeting was stormy, because the issues were grave.The ministers expressed their political fears and their moral dilemmas,openly.But the President was able to convince them of the constitutional and legal validity of her decisions and explained the circumstances in which such decisions had to be taken.As minister Athuada Seneviratne put it,there was no option but to act in the way the President did if the government was to be saved.She was persuasive on the political soundness of the decisions also.

The PA's parliamentary group also went through the motions, only to come to the same conclusion.The group then adopted a formal resolution,proposed by Mr.Richard Pathirana and seconded by Mr.Douglas Devananda,which ran as follows:" We,the Ministers,Deputy Ministers and Parliamentarians of the Government Party,in our role as peoples' politicians,propose to extend our blessings and maximum support to Her Excellency the President and place our full confidence in her in carry out any campaign to suppress the treacherous,conspiratorial moves by Opposition political parties who have become the political tools of opportunists and conspirators who have no idea of the mandate given by the people to establish democracy in this country where democracy prevailed only in name for nearly two decades and by certain persons in the media business,who do not have an iota of feeling for peoples' aspirations."

Asked if the rebellious Mr.Dissanayake would defect to the UNP and if he was going to be replaced as SLFP General Secretary by Mr.Mangala Samaraweera,cabinet ministers said that there was little or no chance of Mr.Dissanayake's quitting.He had fought with the President before and patched up.He was a committed SLFPer,who would also not be accepted in the UNP.

Meawhile, leaders of the opposition parties tried to meet the Speaker Mr.Anura Bandaranaike to urge him to disregard the Presidential Proclamation proroguing parliament and to convene the house for taking up the no-confidence motion.But the Speaker was not there.He would meet them on friday at 9.30 am in his official residence on Galle Road.The opposition's argument is that the President cannot prorogue the house when there is a no-trust motion on the table.

But government supporters say that the constitution is clear that it is the President's prerogative to summon,prorogue,or dissolve parliament.Also, there is no bar on the house taking up the no-trust vote after the prorogation ends on September 7.But obviously,the opposition is worried about losing momentum as a result of the prorogation and wants the debate here and now.
Published: Thu Jul 12 05:57:05 EDT 2001 Back to the top


Opposition pushing brother into showdown with Chandrika
Dawn, COLOMBO, July 12. Sri Lanka's political crisis deepened on Thursday as the opposition pushed parliamentary speaker Anura Bandaranaike into a showdown with his estranged sister, President Chandrika Kumaratunga. Leaders of all opposition parties, who together command a majority in the 225-member assembly, demanded that Bandaranaike disregard his sister's decree that parliament be suspended for two months. Bandaranaike, 52, who is a member of the main opposition United National Party (UNP), had until Friday to decide if he will openly defy his sister and reconvene the legislature on Monday, parliamentary officials said. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 00:08:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Sibling rivalry at the fore as Sri Lanka crisis deepens  - Yahoo Asia
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Lanka parliament heads for showdown with President  - Times of India (Breaking News)

Opposition Calls Sri Lankan Leader A Dictator
Yahoo Singapore, Thursday July 12, 7:41 PM. Sri Lanka's main opposition group sharply criticized President Chandrika Kumaratunga Thursday for suspending parliament, saying she did it to escape a no-confidence vote she would have lost."This is a death knell to democracy and the first step toward dictatorship," the main opposition United National Party said. More...
Published: Thu Jul 12 09:31:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka's very own GI Janes
Asia Times, Thursday, July 12th 14:45GMT. VAVUNIYA, Sri Lanka - Lasantha Sumathipala joined the Sri Lankan army two years ago without telling her parents, fearing they would oppose the move. Now, they have come to accept what she's doing - helping the state fight the 18-year-old Tamil Tiger insurgency. "My parents now believe that women, too, have a duty towards their country, like the men," she said as she patrolled the Jaffna-Kandy road in the northern Vavuniya district with her colleagues. More...
Published: Thu Jul 12 10:45:46 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka arrests two soldiers over rape
123India.com, Jul 12 2001 15:34 IST. COLOMBO, July 12 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's military police have arrested two soldiers in connection with the alleged rape of a Tamil woman in the northern peninsula of Jaffna, the defence ministry said Thursday. The two men have been handed over to the local police, who will carry out further investigations into last week's attack on a 42-year-old woman, the ministry said in a statement. More...
Published: Thu Jul 12 08:11:08 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Sri Lanka soldiers arrested for Jaffna rape  - MSNBC

Sri Lanka press slams Kumaratunga over parliament suspension
Yahoo Asia, Thursday, July 12 1:57 PM SGT . Sri Lanka's newspapers Thursday lambasted President Chandrika Kumaratunga for suspending parliament to avoid the collapse of her government and warned the country was heading for further turmoil. In an editorial headlined "Unbridled arrogance", the privately-run Island newspaper said Kumaratunga's move to prorogue parliament on Tuesday was clearly aimed at avoiding a vote of no confidence brought by the opposition. More...
Published: Thu Jul 12 03:55:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Bank modernises with loan from World Bank
123India.com, Jul 12 2001 15:57 IST. COLOMBO, July 12 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's Central Bank Thursday announced a 42 million dollar modernisation plan backed by an interest-free World Bank loan and a grant from a Swedish aid agency. The International Development Agency of the World Bank signed an agreement with the Central Bank Thursday to give 30.3 million dollars for the four-year restructuring program, the bank said in a statement. More...
Published: Thu Jul 12 08:14:06 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Pvt Sector Calls For Govt Of Natl Unity
Yahoo Singapore, Thursday July 12, 4:37 PM. COLOMBO (Dow Jones)--Sri Lanka's private sector Thursday urged the government and other political parties to unite and form a government of national unity in a bid to mend the shaky economy. The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, which counts more than 500 key companies among its members, said in a statement that all political parties in parliament should cooperate to settle a series of issues, including the northeast conflict. More...
Published: Thu Jul 12 06:57:18 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Suspension of parliament triggers turmoil in Lanka
Dawn, COLOMBO, July 11. Sri Lanka's opposition closed ranks on Wednesday to battle with President Chandrika Kumaratunga after she suspended parliament to prevent a collapse of her minority government. Kumaratunga halted parliament at midnight to avoid a no- confidence vote against her shaky coalition and called a nationwide referendum on a new constitution and revised electoral system. Political sources said several cabinet ministers had questioned the legality of the move as the constitution prohibits any referendum to amend, alter or adopt a new statute by bypassing the national parliament. "This is going to trigger a complex legal battle," a retired supreme court judge said. More...
Published: Thu Jul 12 00:20:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chandrika has to seek refuge in JR’s constitution which she herself condemned - Vasudeva
Island, 12 July 2001. Democratic Left Front National Organiser Vasudeva Nanayakkara in a statement issued yesterday stated that President Chandrika Kumaratunga unable to face a no-faith motion has fallen back on J.R’s constitution which herself slated. The statement added: "Madam Kumaratunga has resorted to her black magic again. Unable to face Parliament on the no confidence motion of the opposition she has now brought forth a referendum from her hat. More...
Published: Thu Jul 12 01:13:53 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka president 'undemocratic'
BBC, 12 July 2001. Opposition parties in Sri Lanka have attacked a move by President Chandrika Kumaratunga to suspend parliament for two months. The decision was an apparent attempt to save her nine-month-old coalition from defeat in a no-confidence vote. But on Wednesday the opposition hit back, calling the president's move undemocratic. "We will challenge this unexpected travesty of democracy on the streets," Ravi Karunayake of the main opposition United National Party said. More...
Published: Thu Jul 12 00:17:28 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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