Home / Front Page/ Coalition proposes Cabinet reshuffle to bridge divide

Coalition proposes Cabinet reshuffle to bridge divide


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 16 February 2018 00:00

Facebook

 

  • SLFP Co-spokesperson Dayasiri notable absentee 
  • UNP confident of minority party support 
  • Dismisses claims of SLFP forming government 
  • Admits Govt. was unable to deliver given mandate 
  • Pins blame of defeat on internal critics

 

By Chathuri Dissanayake

The National Unity Government will continue despite the deep crisis it has been plunged into but with major changes to the Cabinet composition, Cabinet Spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne assured yesterday. 

With his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Cabinet colleague and Co-spokesperson Dayasiri Jayasekara staying away from the cameras yesterday, Senaratne put on a brave face to solely answer queries from journalists regarding the future of the Government in the aftermath of the defeat at the Local Government polls. 

Dismissing claims that Jayasekara’s absence was due to his possible defection from the Government, Senaratne valiantly defended both the President and Prime Minister to portray a united front for the Government. 

The Minister played on the numbers and percentages to insist that the coalition partners United National Party and SLFP have retained their voter base while the Mahinda Rajapaksa faction exhibits a decline.  

“Our joint voter base remains the same but Mahinda’s group shows a decline,” he insisted. Senaratne claimed that the members of the coalition brought the defeat upon themselves as they resorted to criticising each other on the election stage but were quick to exonerate President Maithripala Sirisena of doing the same as he was “left with little choice as the leader of the SLFP”. 

“He had to criticise the political opponents of the SLFP. When Mahinda criticised Ranil, the President had to criticise him louder than that,” he claimed. 

The Minister showed little concern over the possibility of the SLFP forming its own government, assuring that UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe would continue as the Prime Minister. Senaratne was of the opinion that the SLFP did not have the numbers to form a standalone government. He claimed that the UNP had the backing of minority parties, including the National Union of Workers, All Ceylon Makkal Congress and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress. 

However, Senaratne accepted that the conduct of the Prime Minister has been brought into question, adding that going forward “measures will be taken to change the current status quo.” 

“It is clear that we cannot work the same way and that is why there will be clear changes going forward, we have told the Prime Minister this time that we will appoint committees for all these issues such as SriLankan Airlines,” he said. 

However, Senaratne claimed that changing the Prime Minister was not an option despite criticism levelled against what Senaratne alleged was Wickremesinghe’s “tendency to protect his friends and disregard other opinions.”  

“If we try to change the Prime Minister now it will at least take six months. That is what the Mahinda faction wants and we will not have a chance to govern before the presidential election in 2019,” he said. 

Considering the outcome of the Local Government polls as a red light, the Government will take immediate measures for a Cabinet reshuffle to ensure that the Government delivers on the mandate given by the people in 2015, Senaratne said.

Engaging in self-criticism, Senaratne admitted that the Government had been unable to deliver on its promises during its three years but pledged that swift action would be immediately taken. 

“The people have clearly shown us that they are not after welfare and other benefits. They want us to stop corruption and take action against the culprits of murders and other violations,” he said.

The changes have already been set in motion, he said, referring to the offer of resignation by current Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake. 


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Will power cuts solve electricity crisis?

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

The country faced electricity power cuts, reminding citizens of early 1990s, which resulted in private power producers supplying electrical power with long-term power supply agreements. Today, most have completed their agreement period, but some were


Easter attack: Going beyond condemnation

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Yesterday was Easter Sunday; 227 persons [at the time of writing] have been killed, and many times more injured. The primary targets were churches and international hotels. It seems clear that the extremist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria


Easter Sunday nightmare

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

This is the most important day of the year for Christians – the Peaceful Easter Sunday or Easter Day was shattered by deadly explosions in several Christian churches throughout the country; and we excoriate such hatred in our beloved country. We th


Poignant pondering on a patriarch

Monday, 22 April 2019

Almost five months have gone. It is with a profound sense of sadness that we experienced the demise of our veteran teacher, respected author, legal luminary, an accomplished ambassador, an eminent public servant and an amazing human being, Dr. Wickre


Columnists More