by Saman Indrajith
Strong protests from UNP parliamentarians forced UPFA National List MP A. H. M. Azwer who was presiding over parliamentary sittings on Thursday to leave the Speaker’s Chair.
MP Azwer was called upon to preside over sittings by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa around 2.30p.m. But soon after Acting Opposition Whip Ajith Perera said that there had been an understanding between the two sides that Mr. Azwer would not preside over sittings as Opposition MPs had no faith in his ability to act in an impartial manner.
Despite the loud protests from the few UNP MPs in the House, MP Azwer initially refused to leave the Chair.
Azwar was supported by Higher Education minister S.B. Dissanayaka, who said that MP Azwer was more conversant with Standing Orders of Parliament than most Opposition MPs and was therefore fully qualified to preside over sittings.
“He is on the Speaker’s panel and among those MPs who have been selected to preside during his absence, Minister Dissanayake added.
However, as the protests continued, MP Azwer had to leave with the Chair and Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody taking over.