Opposition to take up attacks on democracy with IMF: Kiriella

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By Saman Indrajith

A conflict between the IMF-prescribed economic reforms and the conduct of the Government was in the making as the latter had failed to uphold rule of law more than six times during the past couple of months, Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District SJB MP Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament yesterday.

He said that the IMF had released the first tranche of its bailout package to Sri Lanka conditionally. “Of these conditions, the first is to uphold the rule of law. This government has failed to maintain rule of law more than six times during the past two-three months. It blocked the release of funds for local council polls. It disregarded a Supreme Court order. The SC judges who issued an interim order that the budgetary allocations for the Election Commssion be released are to be summoned before a parliamentary committee. The government harasses the media by making use of parliamentary privileges. It has summoned the EC members. Police attacks on protesters have snuffed out two lives. These six instances run counter to the conditions laid down by the IMF to release the loan,” Kiriella said.

Kiriella found fault with State Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya for asking the Opposition how to solve the current economic crisis. “Your government ruined this country and now you are asking us how to come out of the crisis. The government that made the country bankrupt should step down. One who has been the cause of the crisis cannot be the source of solution. We handed over the government with seven billion US dollars in reserve. You brought it down to USD 20 million.”

“An IMF delegation is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka next month and we are planning to make submissions on postponing elections, harassment of the judiciary and the media and exerting pressure on the elections commission. The IMF has imposed a condition for the government to work with civil society organisations. The government is making laws which would enable it to name those organisations terrorist outfits. The Mahanayakes and the Cardinal have repeatedly asked the government to hold elections for the local councils. The government keeps on trotting out lame excuses for not conducting elections. When World War II ended in 1945, Great Britain was in ruins. More than 245,000 buildings had been damaged or destroyed by German attacks. But within three months of the end of war, Britain held elections. That is how democracy is upheld,” Kiriella said.

Courtesy The Island

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