Lankan parliament closure 'illegal'

Sri Lanka's parliament has ruled as illegal the president's suspension of the assembly two weeks ago.

    Kumaratunga was accused of plunging the country into turmoil

    The parliament also ruled on Wednesday that it would disregard any future attempt to disrupt the legislature.

    Speaker Joseph Michael Perera said President

     Chandrika Kumaratunga had no authority to suspend parliament without its agreement.

    The body is controlled by a party that is opposed to Kumaratunga

     and supports her arch rival, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

    "I hope the prorogation (by President Kumaratunga) will not be an unpleasant precedent," the speaker said. "If this happens again, there should be a right for parliament to meet and summon itself."

    "I hope the prorogation (by President Kumaratunga) will not be an unpleasant precedent... If this happens again, there should be a right for parliament to meet and summon itself"


    Joseph Michael Perera,
    Parliament speaker 

    Brutal civil war

    The

    parliament resumed sessions on

    Wednesday morning after a two-week suspension ordered by a president

    who sacked three ministers and plunged the country into a political

    crisis.

    President Kumaratunga said the move was justified because Wickremesinghe's government had made too many concessions to Tamil rebels in peace talks to end the island's brutal civil war.

    But Wickremesinghe rejected the charge and said he had a mandate from Sri Lanka's people to negotiate with the Tamils.

    Sri Lanka's civil war has claimed more than 60,000 lives over the last 20 years.

    Tamil rebels are seeking autonomy in the country's north and east, but the majority Sinhalese say this would be the first step to independence.

    SOURCE: AFP


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