Colombo, Constitutional Reform, Politics and Governance

An unprecedented constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka elicits a yawn

Screen Shot 2013-01-13 at 5.56.40 PM

Sri Lanka’s Parliament debated the impeachment of the country’s Chief Justice over two days last week.

In the course of these debates, and akin to the critical submissions by him during the equally chaotic and pivotal debate on the 18th Amendment in September 2010, Tamil National Alliance MP M.A. Sumanthiran delivered one of the most widely quoted speeches against the impeachment and in particular, the Icarean stance of the President and members of the ruling party that Parliament was above and beyond the purview of the Courts.

After announcing that it would be Sumanthiran’s turn to speak, and in the midst of mindless shouting and general chaos in the Chambers, presiding over one of the most important debates in Parliament ever, what does the Deputy Speaker do?

He yawns.

And in that precise moment, moments before Sumanthiran’s submission that was, as in 2010 – frequently and rudely interrupted – one saw the Rajapaksa regime’s real interest in, and capacity to engage with constitutional governance.

A video of the MP’s submission can be viewed below in the quality it was recorded and sent to Groundviews.