Ranil likely to make the great escape

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to come out victorious on April 4 when the no-confidence motion against him is debated and a vote is taken.

Sources said that no matter what the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) formally decides with regards to its stand on the vote, some SLFP members are expected to either back the Prime Minister or abstain from voting, resulting in him obtaining enough votes to outnumber the joint opposition.

The United National Front, including the United National Party (UNP) has already decided it will defeat the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister.

Sources said that make or break talks were also held between the SLFP and the UNP  last week to seek the support of the SLFP to defeat the no-confidence motion.

On Friday some SLFP members said that the party was likely to back the no-confidence motion as failure to do so would result in a split in the SLFP.

However others said that they cannot back the no-confidence motion while being part of a unity Government.

Cabinet co-spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne told reporters last week that action will be taken against cabinet Ministers who signed the no-confidence motion.

He expressed confidence that the no-confidence motion will be defeated.

The UNP Working Committee which met last week had decided that it will not support the joint opposition by backing the no-confidence motion.

The UNP is to however implement reforms following the debate and vote on the no-confidence motion.

Sources close to the President also said that there was no deep rift between the President and Prime Minister although it may seem so.

The President last week stripped the Prime Minister of the powers he had over some Government institutions, including the Central Bank.

Party leaders had decided last week not to use the electronic voting system for the no-confidence vote on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The debate and no-confidence vote is scheduled to be taken on April 4 in Parliament.

The no-confidence motion submitted by the joint opposition has 55 signatures.

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