Prez wants PM out despite Constitutional impediment Sirisena to make special statement today

President Maithripala Sirisena is set to make a special statement tomorrow (16), regarding the future actions of the Government, informed sources said.

Sources said the President had held separate talks with Parliamentarians of both the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) on the current political climate and what future measures should be undertaken in the aftermath of the 2018 Local Government polls at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (14).

A 10-member committee has already been formed to study the current political crisis and is expected to submit its proposals to the President shortly.

Elsewhere, separate talks were being held on the possibility of the United National Party (UNP) forming a Government on its own following the unity Government’s embarrassing defeat to the Joint Opposition-led Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna at the 2018 LG Elections.

Sources said that the President had informed the UNP that it could form a Government of its own, if it has a Parliament majority.

However, MPs of both the SLFP and the UPFA had intimated to President Sirisena that the two Parties should instead attempt to form an administration of their own rather than merely deciding to sit in the Opposition and allowing the UNP to form a Government on its own.

Sources said that already the UNP and the SLFP are frantically making efforts to show that both have the necessary Parliamentary majority to form a Government on their own.

Meanwhile, a special meeting between all candidates who contested under the symbol of the hand and the betel leaf at the LG Polls and the President is set to be held at the President’s House later today (15).

Among the parties that are expected to attend this meeting will be the SLFP, the UPFA, Ceylon Workers’ Congress, the National Congress and the Eelam People’s Democratic Party.

However, a highly reliable source informed Ceylon Today that the misgivings which arose between President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, prior to the recent Local Government Elections, had by yesterday (14) escalated, and because of the stubbornness of both, the yahapalanaya (good governance) Government is headed for an end.

Owing to this, the expectations of 6.2 million people, who voted for the yahapalana Government in 2015, has crashed, and the country is facing the danger of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa taking over the reins again, the source revealed.

The stubborn view of the President that the PM should resign his post has mainly contributed to this situation.

The Ministers and MPs of the UNP, led by the PM have directly informed the President, in person that the latter has no right whatsoever to remove a PM of another party.

It was the view of the UNP that since the SLFP has dropped to the fourth place in the Local Government Polls, it is the President who should resign before the PM.

“The President is behaving as though he and his Party have won the Elections. This is not ethically acceptable under any circumstances,” the source further revealed.

If the present unstable political environment is to be put right, the UNP Government will have to take into its fold 10 more Ministers of the SLFP and continue the Government, which is the view of both Parties, the source noted.

However, it is the belief of sections of the Government, that even if the UNP forms a Government along with its ministers and MPs, the President will cause grave obstacles to it, he explained.

“We are all entertaining the opinion that these MPs must be taken in as SLFP Ministers and MPs and not as separate individuals. If we take them that way, we feel the President will not be able to hinder the Government thus formed. This is because his own Party members are also in the Government,” the spokesman close to the Government pointed out. The source further noted that while former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga had allowed then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to carry on with the day to day affairs of the then Government, she had subsequently disturbed the tranquility and after taking over three Ministerial portfolios had dissolved the Parliament, yet President Sirisena was not the sort to engage in such conduct.

Under these circumstances, the Ministers and MPs who worked hard to stabilize the yahapalana Government are seeking to resolve the conflict between the President and the PM, and to continue the present Government.

The spokesman nevertheless said that there is a great likelihood for the efforts to collapse.

However, a member of the UPFA Parliamentary group said that they had proposed to President Sirisena yesterday that a new Government should be formed with an MP who commands the confidence of the majority of the House as the PM.

Meanwhile, in order to resolve the present political quandary, a caretaker Government should be appointed with a view to dissolving the Parliament and going for a General Election, a move which the Joint Opposition (JO) has decided to support conditionally.

JO Ratnapura District Parliamentarian Vasudeva Nanyakkara said that they are waiting for a response from President Maithripala Sirisena in this regard.

“After adopting a resolution to appoint a caretaker Government and the dissolution of the Parliament, it must be the sole objective of the caretaker Government to go for a General Election. The JO has decided to support that move conditionally without accepting posts,” he elaborated.

The most suitable candidate for the post of the Prime Minister in the caretaker Government is former speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, he opined.

At a time when there is stiff opposition from the people against the present Government, if the President is to take steps to form a separate United National Party Government or to propel the present Government forward, it would plunge the country into worse chaos, he claimed, adding that hence, the best solution will be to take expeditious action to form a caretaker Government.

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