Sampanthan appointed Opposition Leader
September 3, 2015 09:39 am
TNA parliamentary group leader and Trincomalee District MP R. Sampanthan has been appointed as the Opposition Leader of the 8th Parliament.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya made this announcement when parliament convened a short while ago.
“I recognise Rajavarothiam Sampanthan as the leader of the opposition,” House Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said.
Sampanthan is the second Tamil politician since A. Amirthalingam to be appointed to the post of Opposition Leader in Sri Lanka.
The 82-year-old is the leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which emerged from last month’s election as the third-largest party with 16 seats in the 225-member assembly.
The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), which previously made up the opposition, has joined Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) in government.
In a statement last week, the TNA had requested that its Parliamentary Group Leader be recognized as the Leader of the Opposition in accordance with Parliamentary practice and convention as they have now emerged as the largest political party in Opposition in Sri Lanka’s Parliament.
The Tamil party pointed out that following the General Election on August 17 the United National Party (UNP) emerged as the party with the largest number of seats in Parliament while the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) obtained the second largest number of seats.
“It has been announced that a National Government has been formed and that Members of Parliament who contested and were elected under both the UNP and the UPFA have accepted cabinet portfolios.”
“Accordingly, both the UNP and the UPFA bear collective cabinet responsibility. As political parties in Parliament, they thus must publicly support all Governmental decisions made in Cabinet. This support includes voting with the Government when sitting in Parliament,” the TNA statement said.
“In these circumstances, the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) which obtained a total of 16 seats, has emerged as the largest political party in Opposition in Parliament.”
“In accordance with Parliamentary practice and convention, the Parliamentary Group Leader of ITAK must thus be recognized as the Leader of the Opposition,” the party said.
Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi is a constituent party of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which contests elections under the ITAK’s “House” symbol.