No faith motion against energy minister defeated
COLOMBO – The government defeated a no-confidence motion against its energy minister on Tuesday (20), with 61 voting in favour of the motion and 152 against it.
Twelve MPs abstained or were not present during the vote.
Signed by 43 Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MPs, including Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, the motion cited an official statement by ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) General-Secretary MP Sagara Kariyawasam, blaming the fuel price hike on the Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila and calling for his resignation. Gammanpila however, maintained the price increase was a collective decision made by the pricing committee, a sentiment that has since been echoed by the government.
The no-confident motion was handed over to the Speaker of the Parliament, Mahinda Yapa Abeywadena, on June 22 and was taken up for debate on Monday (19) and Tuesday (20). The vote on the motion took place at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday.
The motion was defeated with a majority of 91 votes.
Both the opposition United National Party (UNP) and the National People’s Power (NPP) voted in favour, though MPs said the motion was politically unwise.
JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake slammed the motion saying it only serves to further strengthen the government and termed SJB’s move “just a media stunt’.
UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who Monday proposed an amendment to the no-confidence motion, expanding it to include the entire cabinet, also said he agreed with the statement by Dissanayake.
In his amendment, Wickremesinghe proposed Parliament resolve it has “no confidence in the competence of Hon Udaya Gammanpila, Minister of Energy and all other Ministers in the Cabinet to function as Cabinet Ministers any longer.” His amendment was dismissed by the Speaker.
Parliament was adjourned until August 3.