UNP fails to block Vote on Account
Attempts by the UNP led by its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to disrupt
the presentation of the Vote on Account for the first four months of the
year 2010 proved a failure when Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara stated the
motion could be moved.
The Speaker declared his decision rejecting all the legal arguments
submitted by Wickremesinghe.
Thereafter, Deputy Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama presenting
the Vote on Account amidst applause of the Government, stated that the
speech made by Wickremesinghe was a swan song.
Objecting to the presentation of Vote on Account, the Opposition
Leader stated that the Vote on Accounts cannot be presented without
passing a special motion in Parliament according to the constitution and
the fiscal responsibilities management act.
UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella endorsed the opinion of his leader.
At the outset, Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera objected
to the presentation and an uproar ensued with noisy protest by the
Government members against him.
The Opposition Leader continued to speak thereafter.
Deputy Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama in response stated that
party leaders agreed with the presentation of the Vote on Account at the
party leaders’ meeting.
If there were any legal issues the opposition could resort to legal
Referring to parliamentary history Dr. Amunugama stated that this was
the 13th Vote on Account presented before the Parliament. Speaker
Lokubandara making his decision said that it was agreed to present a
Vote on Account at the party leaders meeting and this was published by
He said Parliament is vested with powers to present a Vote on Account
on special occasions under the provisions of 26(1) of the Fiscal
Responsibilities Management Act. “So my decision is the Vote on Account
can be presented,” the Speaker declared. Again chaos reigned as the UNP
members started to protest thumping on their desks. When Dr. Amunugama
started to present the Vote on Account, the opposition leader left the
House. At this stage, Dr. Amunugama quarried as to how the UNP asked for
power from the people when it cannot tolerate the Speaker’s decision.
The Minister asserted that those who left the House then, would leave
Parliament forever with the next election.