The Lanka Academic

 
APRIL 22, 2004 EST, USA
 
A NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY LACNET
 
VOL. 5, NO. 17

TLA FEATURE CORNER
2004 ELECTION RESULTS TLA predicted the outcome using a mathematical model. How did we do? Send us your comments and feedback.
Headline Summary
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Defeated government gets out of hand in Parliament
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, April 22, 2004, 11.21 pm. The inaugural session of Sri Lanka's 13th Parliament was marred by unruly behaviour by members of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government.

Members representing the Alliance government hooted unabated even when the Buddhist monk Parliamentarian representing the Jathika Hela Urumaya delivered a congratulations speech on behalf of his party to the new Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara, following his success.

Another serious incident reported from Parliament was when three Ministers, including Women's Affairs Minister Mrs. Pavithra Wanniarachchi reportedly sat on the ballot box and did not let Opposition MPs to cast their vote, during the re-poll.

The UPFA government Ministers and other senior government MPs were also alleged to have used foul language at certain instances during the parliament proceeding today. The Opposition's Lokubandara won by just one vote against the Governmen's nominee D.E.W. Gunasekara. Lokubandara secured 110 votes, while Gunasekara got 109 votes.
Published: Thu Apr 22 13:22:33 EDT 2004


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Kumaratunga's political alliance loses vote for Parliament speaker, in setback for government
Associated Press, Thu April 22, 2004 12:12 EDT . SHIMALI SENANAYAKE - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) President Chandrika Kumaratunga's alliance lost a crucial parliamentary vote Thursday, failing to get its candidate into the powerful speaker's post in a major political setback. Sri Lanka - 's 13th Parliament began its first session Thursday with a stalemate over the speaker's selection, with results of a secret ballot showing lawmakers evenly divided between the government and opposition candidates.

Gunesekara and Lokubandara both polled 108 votes. One vote was rejected, seven lawmakers abstained and one was not present in the 225-member house for the initial vote. Parliamentary officials met after the result and ordered a revote.

But that was stopped midway after lawmakers from Kumaratunga's political alliance blocked the ballot box, angry that some opposition lawmakers had openly showed ballots to other members before casting their votes. Kumaratunga's supporters said the move violated the spirit of a secret ballot.

The secretary general of Parliament, Priyani Wijesekara, called the vote invalid and ordered another vote.

Lokubandara was nominated by Sri Lanka - 's main opposition party, led by former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, which was defeated in April 2 general elections.

Congratulating Lokubandara on his appointment, new Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse said a parliamentary speaker does not belong to a political party and urged him to be unbiased.

Wickremesinghe, who was appointed opposition leader, described the tussle as a ``hard-fought contest'' that was ``more like a battle.''

``We cannot be bullied in this house,'' Wickremesinghe said, criticizing government deputies for blocking the voting earlier.

Jehan Perera, a political analyst from the National Peace Council research group, said the parliamentary power struggle during its first session bodes ill for the country.

``This is a very bad start. The bitter acrimony and division in politics was exposed. This type of division is ill for the future,'' said Perera.

Perera said losing the speaker's post could thwart some of the government's plans, including one to bypass parliament and change the constitution as promised during the election campaign.

``It will make it harder for the government to embark on an adventurous course to amend the constitution,'' Perera said.

Sri Lanka - , a tropical island country of 19 million people off India's southern coast, is coming out of a two-decade civil war between the government and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels. A cease-fire is in effect, but peace talks have remained inconclusive.

Kumaratunga dissolved the previous parliament and ordered elections on April 2, more than three years ahead of schedule, after accusing Wickremesinghe of being too soft in peace negotiations with the Tamil Tiger rebels.

The guerrillas, who launched a separatist insurgency in 1983, accuse the majority Sinhalese of discrimination. More than 65,000 people have died in the civil war.
Published: Thu Apr 22 13:26:05 EDT 2004 Back to the top

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Sri Lanka 's new governing coalition ties with main opposition in vote for speaker's post, revoting  - Associated Press

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Sri Lanka 's minority government faces test as new Parliament opens
Associated Press, Wed April 21, 2004 23:37 EDT . SHIMALI SENANAYAKE - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's minority government faced its first test in Parliament on Thursday with a crucial vote for the chamber's speaker in which the governing coalition must draw votes from smaller parties to succeed. The opening of Sri Lanka - 's 13th Parliament came amid a dispute within Kumaratunga's coalition over control of a ministry that has prevented the full Cabinet from being seated ahead of the legislature's first sitting.

A colorful feature of Thursday's opening was Parliament's new contingent of nine saffron-robed monks from a religious party that reflects the Buddhist clergy's first full-scale entrance into Sri Lankan politics. Previously, one monk from a different party served in the legislature.

The governing alliance's candidate Dew Gunesekera would become Sri Lanka - 's first parliamentary speaker from a left-wing party, if elected.

The opposition party led by former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has nominated former Justice Minister W.J.M Lokubandara for the post.

Lawmakers were to vote in secret ballots. Two minor parties one representing the island's minority Tamils and the one led by the Buddhist clergy could hold the margin of victory.

The monks were likely to remain neutral, a senior official for the monks said on condition of anonymity. That would enable Lokubandara to win the vote if he drew the support of all the other opposition parties.

Kumaratunga dissolved the previous parliament and ordered elections on April 2, more than three years ahead of schedule, after accusing Wickremesinghe of being too soft in peace negotiations with the Tamil Tiger rebels.

The guerrillas, who launched a separatist insurgency in 1983, have accused the majority Sinhalese of discrimination. More than 65,000 people have died in the civil war.

The vote comes amid a dispute between partners in Kumaratunga's coalition over control of the Ministry of River Basin Development. The Marxist People's Liberation Front, a key partner in the alliance, says that Kumaratunga reneged on a promise to give the Marxists the minister's post an influential position that can deliver votes from farmers in central Sri Lanka - .

Angered by the dispute, the Marxists boycotted the April 10 ceremony inaugurating the new Cabinet and have refused to take charge of the four ministries they were given.

However, the Marxists have vowed not to withdraw from the ruling coalition and said they plan to back the coalition's speaker candidate.

``There is no question about our support for Mr. Gunesekera as speaker,'' top Marxist leader Wimal Weerawansa said.

Weerawansa said Wednesday that his party had offered to settle for the post of deputy minister if Kumaratunga heads the river basin ministry, but had not received any response. The move would effectively give the Marxists control of the ministry since the president's attention is spread over several portfolios.

The issue remained unresolved despite hectic efforts to swear-in the Marxists ahead of Parliament's opening session.
Published: Thu Apr 22 01:25:42 EDT 2004 Back to the top

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Sri Lankan President Seeks Allies as Parliament Opens (Update1)  - bloomberg.com

Freed child soldiers must not be re-recruited by LTTE following disbanding of Eastern command
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 11.45 P.M Thursday 22 April. The International Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers today urged the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), to end confusion and state clearly that it will not re-recruit any of the children released in recent weeks... Back to the top

International Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers urges LTTE to make a ‘clear statement’
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, April 22, 2004, 11.40 pm. The International Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers today urged the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), to make a clear statement that they (LTTE) will not re-recruit any of the children released within the last few weeks... Back to the top

Tough test for Lanka Prez in Parliament
indianexpress.com, APRIL 21. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga is headed for a major test tomorrow when her minority government faces its first parliamentary test when a speaker is elected... Back to the top

CWC is likely to sit in the Opposition and support the UNP
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, April 21, 2004, 10.06 p.m.. The Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) which secured eight parliamentary seats at the April 2 General Election is most likely to support the United National Party... Back to the top

Sri Lanka 's new government battles to end internal rifts ahead of first test in Parliament
Associated Press, Wed April 21, 2004 13:12 EDT . SHIMALI SENANAYAKE - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A key Marxist partner in Sri Lanka - 's new government boycotted the ruling coalition's first Cabinet meeting Wednesday amid a power struggle that threatens to overshadow the first session of the new parliament, officials said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka: speaker selection creates uproar in the Parliament
HiPakistan, April 22, 2004, 7:45 AM EST. COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's 13th Parliament opened its session with a stalemate over who to appoint speaker, with results of a secret ballot Thursday showing lawmakers evenly divided between candidates of the governing coalition and the main opposition... Back to the top

Tamil Tigers accuse UNICEF of not doing enough to rehabilitate freed child soldiers.
Associated Press, Thu April 22, 2004 01:59 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's Tamil Tiger rebels have accused UNICEF of not doing enough to rehabilitate former child soldiers who fought for the guerrillas during their two-decade civil war with the government... Back to the top

RECORD FOR JAYASURIYA IN SRI LANKA WIN
sportinglife.com, April 22, 2004, 10:40 AM EST. Sanath Jayasuriya became his country's record run-scorer in one-day international cricket as Sri Lanka trounced troubled Zimbabwe by nine wickets in Bulawayo today... Back to the top

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