Wijeyadasa R quits CC, cites no reason

UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC has resigned from the Constitutional Council (CC) with immediate effect. He was Prime Minister Ranil Wickrmesinghe’s nominee.

Rajapakse has tendered his resignation to President Maithripala Sirisena. He told The Island last night that he hadn’t given any reason for the resignation. “There is no requirement for me to do so. I quit the CC,” Rajapakse said.

The CC, chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, comprises 10 persons. Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne, Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy and Shibly Aziz represent the civil society while seven represent parliament, namely PM Wickremesinghe, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, presidential nominee, Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka and prime ministerial nominee Wijeyadasa Rajapakse and JVP MP Vijitha Herath. Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne is the other parliamentarian in the council.

The CC is tasked with overseeing independent commissions appointed consequent to enactment of the 19 Amendment to the Constitution.

President Maithripala Sirisena removed Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Rajapakse from the Cabinet last August on a request made by the UNP.

The UNP accused Wijeyadasa of violating collective Cabinet responsibility over the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government’s decision to give the Hambantota Port to the Chinese on a 99-year lease. The UNP also alleged Rajapakse of hindering investigations into major corruption cases involving previous government bigwigs.

However, MP Rajapakse remains in the 21-member Steering Committee spearheading the constitutional making process. Rajapakse is among four UNPers in the Steering Committee headed by Premier Wickremesinghe. Other UNPers are Lakshman Kiriella, D.M. Swaminathan and Malik Samarawickrema.

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