UNP stays firm with PM

  • Dr. Harsha claims Govt. MPs supporting No-Confidence motion is unethical
  • Stresses Govt. will leave no room for Opposition to disrupt political stability in SL
  • Says recent talks between President and PM were on Coalition Govt.’s way forward, 2020 priority goals
  • MP Appuhamy hopes President Sirisena will not be ungrateful and forget UNP support on 8 Jan.
  • Asserts next step of No-Confidence motion conspiracy is against President Sirisena

The United National Party (UNP) yesterday stood steadfastly behind Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the hours ticked down to the crucial No-Confidence motion in Parliament today, insisting that they would await the final vote before deciding the way forward for the Government.

Despite the request by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Parliamentary group for Premier Wickremesinghe to resign, the UNP representatives yesterday said there was no need for the Prime Minister to step down ahead of the No-Confidence motion as the party members would support their Leader.

“There is no doubt that we will defeat this No-Confidence motion against the Prime Minister today. We have the support of the entire 8 January 2015 movement. All the parties that supported then have come together with us,” National Policies and Economic Affairs State Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said, addressing a news conference at Sirikotha yesterday.

He claimed that it was not ethical for Government Ministers to support the No-Confidence motion or urge the Premier to step down while being in the system.

“It is understood that the Opposition wants to topple the Government and come into power. But we are not ready to listen to Government Ministers with vested interests requesting the Prime Minister to step down. This is not just about the Premiership, but about the integrity of the Government,” he stressed.

Noting they were well aware of the few UNP Ministers who are unhappy and would vote against the Prime Minister today, Dr. de Silva said the Government would leave no room for the Opposition to disrupt the political stability in the country.

“We have the numbers and we will show the numbers when voting. We have no issues relating to the numbers,” he quipped.

When asked about the main focus of the last minute discussions that took place between President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, Dr. de Silva stated that they were holding extensive discussions on the Coalition Government’s way forward and priority goals that need to be achieved before 2020.

MP Hector Appuhamy stressed that they hoped President Maithripala Sirisena would not be ungrateful and forget how the UNP supported in forming the Coalition Government to turn a new page in the political history of Sri Lanka on 8 January 2015.

“We established this Government on a key principle and that was good governance. We sacrificed some of our seats in the Parliament and gave them to SLFP members who lost in the general election because we wanted to create a new political culture in this country. We sincerely hope that the President will not be ungrateful,” he added.

He noted that this No-Confidence motion conspiracy was not just against Premier Wickremesinghe and that the next step would be against President Sirisena.

Acknowledging that there were shortcomings and mistakes that had transpired from the Government side, Appuhamy said steps had already been taken to rectify them and march towards a stronger, sustainable economy.

Asked to verify speculation that MP Ravi Karunanayake had demanded certain positions and perks in the party, he noted that it was a conspiracy against him and there was no truth in such reports.

Harsha mulls worst-case scenario 

National Policies and Economic Affairs State Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday was optimistic that the United National Party (UNP) would beat the no-confidence motion, but was concerned that in a worst-case scenario the main political parties would attempt to form a Government on their own, resulting in more political turmoil.

“There is no doubt that we have the numbers to defeat this no-confidence motion. But technically in a worst-case scenario if we lose, the President has to request the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), which initiated the no-confidence motion, to form a Government on its own,” he said in response to a query posted by a journalist at a media briefing held at the UNP headquarters yesterday.

Dr. de Silva said in the meantime the UNP or the existing Government could propose maintaining the current Government, which in turn could worsen the political turmoil in the country.

“There are many options. Whatever is the best option, we will take that. There is an option where we can work together, there is an option to work by ourselves and there is an option for the same thing to continue. There are multiple options and they are all open,” he said.

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