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UNF confident of forming national govt.

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 6 February 2019 00:00





  • UNF says will muster enough votes to pass motion in P’ment 
  • To request for vote on same day as motion taken up
  • SLFP insists will not back national govt., threatens disciplinary action if SLFP crossover MPs support
  • UPFA unanimously decides to not support motion as well

By Uditha Jayasinghe and Nuwan Senaratne 

The United National Front (UNF) yesterday expressed confidence of getting the numbers needed to back its motion to establish a national government despite vehement opposition by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). 

Following the UNF Group Meeting on Tuesday, UNF member Mano Ganesan told Daily FT that the UNF was confident of receiving sufficient votes to establish a national government and they would seek a vote for the motion on 7 February when the motion is to be presented to Parliament.

“Some will vote, some will abstain, but we are confident we will have the numbers. We have enough strategies to ensure there will be enough votes,” Ganesan said.

Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekera speaking to media said the SLFP would vote against the motion to establish a national government. He argued that if the United National Party (UNP) attempted to establish a national government with the assistance of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), that would not be ethical as the SLMC was already included in the UNF and was not a “separate” party.

“The President during his Independence Day address clearly stated the stance of the SLFP and all members will act accordingly. If the UNP attempts to get SLFP crossover parliamentarians to vote on their behalf, we will not hesitate to take disciplinary action against them. We will take all measures we can within the House to defeat this motion,” he told reporters. 

Jayasekera insisted that a national government would only drive up public expenditure and the existing Cabinet was sufficient to see out the remaining months before elections were called. He strongly condemned what he saw as efforts by the UNP to resolve internal party challenges by handing out fresh Cabinet positions.

“Anyone can see that this is an attempt to resolve the problems within the UNF and not in the best interests of the country. There is nothing to gain from establishing a national government other than to give positions to UNF parliamentarians. National governments should be formed for national reasons and to resolve national problems. Neither of these are being met by this motion.” 

The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) also decided to unanimously oppose a national government during a group meeting in Parliament. The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) called on President Maithripala Sirisena and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to refuse the motion submitted by the UNP to form a national government.

“It is not clear with whom the UNP is going to form a national government,” SLPP Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris told reporters at Party Headquarters. He noted the UNP’s moves to form a national government were not transparent and therefore SLPP would request President Maithripala Sirisena to step in to prevent the UNP from forming a national government.

“This is an illegal procedure; we will request President Maithripala Sirisena to refuse this move, which is unconstitutional according to our views,” he added.

He noted it was Speaker Karu Jayasuriya’s duty to refuse such motions which did not contain the details of the parties with which the UNP would be willing to form a National Government.

He also argued the UNP could not offer ministerial portfolios to Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) MPs who had joined the Government following the reappointment of Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister due to fact that the SLFP was not part of the national government. 

Prof. Peiris said the SLPP was yet to decide on whether to go to the Supreme Court against the forming of a national government.

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