Home > Politics > ‘No confidence’ in the No Confidence motion

‘No confidence’ in the No Confidence motion

On the 7th of October 2010 the No Confidence motion put forward by the UNP against Minister of External Affair G.L.Peiris was defeated by 107 votes.

I am not going to be writing on the failures of G.L. and why the No Confidence motion was the right move. Instead I am going to highlight the lack of support the UNP holds in Parliament and possible reasons behind this decline. Of the 225 members of Parliament 139 voted against the motion whilst only 32 voted in favour. This means that 54 members failed to vote, the TNA and DNA both claimed to have abstained from the voting.

Does abstaining from a vote really make a difference? When the TNA and DNA members chose to abstain from the vote they were showing that they neither agreed nor disagreed with motion put forth by the UNP. This illustrates that they are indecisive, unconvinced by either party or simply uninterested. The lack of voter participation indicates that the UNP  no longer maintains a noticeable influence in Parliament.

Who is to blame for this decline in power? Many people would immediately claim that they lack the prestige and influence they once enjoyed in Parliament due to the overwhelming majority of the ruling party. I do not entirely agree with this statement. Two of the parties that have abstained from this recent vote either oppose the government or are undecided on their allegiances. So then why is that the main opposition party is unable to win over the support of parties that are against the government? The UNPs conduct during previous votes’ have left them devoid of patronage outside of their own party.

For the last few years I have opened the newspapers to see the emergency powers act being passed in parliament with a comfortable majority. On many occasions the UNP has chosen to abstain from the vote. This was done despite their protest against the powers. I can only presume that their was a spilt in the party’s decision on the direction in which they should have voted. Yet through abstaining from the vote they presented to the rest of the minority parties that opposed the powers that the UNP cannot be relied on.

If the faith of the minority parties in the UNP supporting them was weakened it would have been destroyed by the absence of the main opposition party at the voting in of the 18th amendment. The UNP were firmly against the implementation of the amendment, they had organised a campaign of opposition including protest marches. Yet when it came to voting they chose instead to abstain from the vote. What had this achieved? The final vote read 161 members in favour and 17 against. The UNP had failed to make any constructive impact on the vote, rather they had taken it one step further and helped portray a negative image of Sri Lanka to the rest of the world. The amendment had received wide scale criticism from the international community. The UNPs conduct presented an image of Sri Lankans being happy with the amendment. As for those unsure of the local parliamentary system would have seen only 17 members being against this, a clear minority. Those 17 members who chose to vote against the 18th amendment were left high and dry by the UNP.

So now is not the time to turn on those 54 members who failed to vote in the No Confidence motion. The minority parties are beginning to no longer see the UNP as a viable option, they have been let down by them in the past and it is now clear that they will no longer support them. The question that must be asked is how can the UNP turn around and begin to win back support within the Parliament? The UNP can no longer be looked upon as the main opposition party as it is clear that without the support of the minority parties they will continue to fail to make any impact on Parliament proceedings.

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Categories: Politics
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