|Saturday, 17 January 2004|
President's second term:
Editorial writers not competent to adjudicate -
by Uditha Kumarasinghe
The People's Alliance yesterday reiterated that President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga's term of office will end only in 2006.
It is the Supreme Court that can decide on this and certainly not the editorial writers or some of the pro-UNP media people here and abroad, PA Media Spokesman Dr. Sarath Amunugama told a media briefing yesterday.
"All these people who are challenging both the take over of ministries and duration of the term of office of President are rushing to the newspapers but they are not going to the real forum for adjudication and that is the Supreme Court of this country.
They have not even thought of going to the Supreme Court," Dr. Amunugama said. He said: "Instead, they are going to kick up dust with the help of their friendly media mafia.
Editorials are being written by certain people who should not know better about the constitutional position.
"They have not moved to the only relevant agency on this matter to decide, the Supreme Court in this country.
Therefore, this is another media trick on the part of the Government." Dr. Amunugama observed that President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga is the only person in this country who has been elected twice at Presidential Elections, he said.
"Only President Kumaratunga had a clear mandate on two occasions with over 50 per cent and on the first occasion a historic 63 per cent.
"The second time, she got 700,000 votes more then the nearest rival Ranil Wickremesinghe."
Referring to the debate on the President's swearing-in, the Media Spokesman said "a problem could only arise if there was no swearing-in".
Once the President assumes office, the place in which he or she takes oaths, becomes an operational matter which is up to the discretion of the President concerned.
Where she takes oaths whether it is in public or otherwise, is a matter entirely decided on by the President," he said.
Dr. Amunugama said when the Chief Justice and the Cabinet of that time confirmed that such a thing had happened, there is no doubt regarding the legitimacy of that action.
Chief Opposition Whip Mangala Samaraweera said the UNP has run out of this issue. They have nothing to talk about this matter. "If the President wants she can be sworn-in everyday."
Commenting on why the President was sworn-in December 22 four days after she lost her eye, he said a rumour spread throughout the country that the President was totally incapacitated to govern.
Two days after this incident, in order to assure the local and international public, the PA held a press conference in Colombo and assured the people that President Kumaratunga was absolutely able to govern the country.
"At that time our supporters thought that the President's life was in danger and there was much hatred building up against the innocent Tamil people and UNP supporters in Colombo.
In fact there was a chance that various unruly elements might use this incident to go for a riot like in 1983. That is why the President from her hospital bed instructed her Secretary to go on television and assure that she was safe. But still people did not believe it."
"That is why four days after the bomb incident, the President was brought in a stretcher to Temple Trees against medical advice.
In order to ensure the security of the people, she was sworn-in. She wanted to show the country and the world that she was quite all right.
The President's swearing-in on December 22 was a very courageous attempt," he added.
Produced by Lake House