Skip to main content
The Web      Powered by
powered by Yahoo!

Sri Lankan parliament hits back

From CNN Correspondent Kasra Naji

Wickremesinghe (front row left) smiles as he and other legislators listen to Perera's address.
Wickremesinghe (front row left) smiles as he and other legislators listen to Perera's address.

Story Tools

Do you think Sri Lanka's political turmoil will affect the peace process with Tiger rebels?
Follow the news that matters to you. Create your own alert to be notified on topics you're interested in.

Or, visit Popular Alerts for suggestions.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- Sri Lanka's parliament has reconvened for the first time in two weeks, following its suspension by President Chandrika Kumaratunga in a dispute with the prime minister over the peace process with Tamil Tiger rebels.

In a blistering address on Wednesday, Speaker Joseph Michael Perera condemned the presidential move that shut down the legislative body and promised to resist future attempts to do it again.

"The decision without the support of any valid reason and against the wishes of the parliament can only be described as an act to deliberately prevent the due functioning of parliament," Perera said.

"If confronted with such abuses of power, I rule that the majority of members should have the right to ask for parliament to reconvene."

Reaction to the speech by members of the president's opposition party was so severe that parliament was adjourned and was to reconvene Wednesday afternoon. A debate on the speech has been slated for later this month.

Two weeks ago, Kumaratunga plunged Sri Lanka into a political crisis when she sacked three key government ministers, took control of state media and suspended parliament while the prime minister was abroad.

The president has accused her rival, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Norwegian facilitators of making too many concessions with Tamil rebels during peace efforts.

In an effort to solve the crisis, the two leaders on Tuesday announced the appointment of a committee to help them sort through the issues surrounding the deadlocked peace process.

The rebels have been fighting for 20 years for a separate state in the country's north and east for the Sri Lanka's Tamil minority. More than 60,000 people have been killed in the civil war.

Peace talks between the government and rebels have been stalled since April.

Tension between the two Sri Lankan leaders has been mounting since Wickremesinghe won parliamentary elections in 2001. The prime minister and the president are elected separately.

Wickremesinghe's United National Front won power on a platform promising to bring an end to years of civil war -- forcing Kumaratunga's Sri Lanka Freedom Party out of office.

Since then, they have been locked in an uneasy constitutional cohabitation, with the prime minister's UNF holding a slight voting edge in parliament.

Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Iran poll to go to run-off
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.