Speaker Karu Jayasuriya told Parliament that his decision on the validity of continuation of the National Government will be made known today.

He made this comment in response to Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, who raised questions on the validity of the National Government and its Cabinet of Ministers in the absence of any official communication to Parliament of the extension of MoU signed between the SLFP and UNP.

He pointed out the initial MoU signed between the two parties was for two years and any extension of the agreement must be informed to the Speaker in writing. The Speaker confirmed that he had so far not received any official communication over the continuation of the National Government. The Speaker however said he would inquire it from Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the House would be informed of the response. Leader of the House and Minister Lakshman Kiriella stated that neither of the parties in the Unity Government has withdrawn and therefore the National Government continues as before.

However, it was argued by the Opposition that such a decision to continue the Unity Government must be duly informed to the Speaker as previously done by late Wiswa Warnapala, the former General Secretary of the UPFA.

MP Dissanayake pointed out the number of Cabinet Ministers was increased from 30 to 48 and the number of Deputy and State Ministers was increased from 40 to 45 due to the formation of National Government. “Unless Parliament approval is renewed for the National Government, the Cabinet of Ministers would cease to be valid.

The validity of the decisions taken by this Cabinet of Ministers could be problematic if anybody challenges that before the Supreme Court,” MP Dissanayake said.

MPs Dulles Allahapperuma and Dinesh Gunawardena bolstered this argument. “We too raised this issue yesterday. There are 24 invalid ministers. Only thing is that we do not know who they are. This political situation has crippled the entire nation. Parliament should resolve this problem as soon as possible,” Allahapperuma said.

“The Speaker should make a decision. The Government cannot go further without the approval of the House. Otherwise the number of ministers must come down to 30 and the number of state and deputy ministers to 40,” MP Gunawardena said.

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