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PARLIAMENT DEBATE FIXED FOR FEB.6

Parliament will be convened at 10.30 am on February 6 to take up a special debate on the Bond Commission report and PRECIFAC report.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe arrived at this decision after considering the views of Party Leaders and the Election Commission.

The Prime Minister has officially made a request to convene a special sitting of Parliament on February 6 from the Speaker as per the Standing Orders.

The Party Leaders’ Meeting convened by the Speaker ended inconclusively in Parliament yesterday as they could not reach an agreement as to whether the debate be held prior or after the elections.

The Speaker had then informed them that a final decision would be taken after speaking to the Prime Minister.

During the meeting, Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya had proposed the Party Leaders to conduct the debate on February 5 and 6.

Deshapriya had pointed out that the Parliamentary debate if conducted on February 8 would be unfair to the parties not representing Parliament.

The Election Commission has also handed over a letter with their suggestions and concerns to the Party Leaders.

JVP MP Vijitha Herath told the Daily News that the JVP and the Joint Opposition requested the debate be taken before February 8 to avoid any disturbance to the ‘silence period’ before the elections.

However, the party seniors representing the UNP were adamant that the debate could not be facilitated earlier than February 8.

Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, who took part in the Party Leaders Meeting representing the SLFP, told the journalists at a press conference at the SLFP Headquarters yesterday that the SLFP stand by the position taken by President Maithripala Sirisena that the debate should take place prior to the elections.

He said two days are necessary for the debate as many Parliamentarians are looking forward to take the floor and voice their concerns.

“We hope to conduct this debate without violating the election laws. The President, when he requested to take up the debate prior to the Elections, was taking the people’s side,” he added.

The minister said the SLFP was of the view that the request by Deshapriya was fair and reasonable. He said the TNA was also in favour of taking up the debate prior to the elections.

Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala, Ministers Lakshman Kiriella and Mahinda Samarasinghe, MPs Dinesh Gunawardena, Ravi Karunanayake, Vijitha Herath and M.A.Sumanthiran took part in the Party Leaders Meeting. The three Commissioners of the Election Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya, Prof.Ratnajeevan Hoole and President’s Counsel Nalin Abeysekara and Assistant Elections Commissioner M.M.Mohamed also attended the meeting.