Sri Lankan gov't, opposition tussle over change of assembly sitting times

19:40, May 19, 2010      

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Sri Lankan parliamentary sittings are to be shifted to afternoon according to an all party meeting held on Tuesday, but opposition parties said on Wednesday that it was only a conditional agreement.

From June 22, the parliament is to sit between 1:30 p.m. to 7: 30 p.m. local time (0800 GMT to 1400 GMT) changed from the current 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (0400 GMT to 1100 GMT) local time.

"We agreed with the condition that parliamentary proceedings be telecast live. Because the media with late sittings will have problems with their deadlines," Anura Kumara Dissanayake from the opposition party Democratic National Alliance said.

John Amaratunga from the main opposition United National Party expressed similar views.

Opposition parties claim the late sittings could cause a media blackout of the assembly proceedings depriving people's right to information.

The government says the sittings were shifted to mornings earlier due to security concerns warranted by the long running military battle between the government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels.

The VIP movements before dark was necessary then but now with end to the war no such needs arise, officials said.

Source: Xinhua


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