The UNP said it welcomed the government`s initiative to start the stalled peace process but said there was lack of clarity and unity in the government`s policy on the process.
`The main UPFA coalition partner, the JVP on the floor of parliament criticized the government`s move to start the peace process and rejected the statement by the Director of Information. Wimal Weerawansa on behalf of the JVP said that they have no other alternative than leaving the government if it started discussions on an interim administration. This shows that there is no unity among the coalition partners when they take decisions on major issues,` UNP`s media spokesman Prof. G.L. Peiris said.
Even the JVP said the statements by the officials were not acceptable as they were not by peoples` representatives. Only the politicians were responsible as they had been elected by the people. Therefore the politicians should take the decisions, added Prof. Peiris.
`SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem said the Muslim representation in the authority should be decided by the Muslim parliamentarians and similarly the Sinhala representation should be decided by the parties representing parliament,` said Prof. Peiris.
Prof Peiris said the UNP welcomed the 18th Amendment to the Constitution with a few amendments. He said the UNP would support the increase in the number of judges of the Court of Appeal from six to 11 and the maximum number from 11 to 21 as this would help reduce the large back log of pending cases. There were more than 12,000 cases pending.
`We are supporting the move to create five circuits for the Appeal Courts according to regions. This will reduce the burden on and will help those who need to come to Colombo. Regional lawyers too would benefit from this move. But we are against the Chief Justice`s interference. Until that is removed from the amendment we will not support it as the amendment needs a 2/3 majority in parliament. These powers should be with the presidents of the Court of Appeal.
Tomorrow the parliament will debate the Disaster Management Bill, which is similar to the bill which the UNF cabinet approved. But the UPFA had inserted some additional features which are undemocratic and will prevent trade unions and the public can express their views. We are strongly opposing this undemocratic clauses in the bill and urge the government to remove them,` said Prof. Peiris.
UNP`s Assistant General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said they were happy as the UNF was able to stop the war for three years. The then Opposition blamed the UNP for signing the ceasefire agreement which stopped the killing of our people. But today they accepted what the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe did.
`We appreciate the UPFA realization even at this late stage. We urge the government to clarify its position about the peace process as the Director of Information issued a statement which the JVP had denied in parliament. They always formed alliances just to grab power by defeating the UNP and not to develop the country,` Mr. Attanayake said.