With just one more day to go for the No Confidence Motion (NCM) to be taken up against Prime Minister RanilWickremesinghe on April 04, reportedly President Maithripala Sirisena and his SLFP is putting pressure on the Prime Minister to resign unless he can prove that his United National Party can definitely defeat the NCM. Sources also revealed that the pressure on PM to resign will continue even if he defeats the NCM given the fact that it will be hard for the current coalition government to continue with him as Prime Minister as almost the entire Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) of Sirisena, opposes him.
Although the UNP has reached an unanimous decision to stand together in defeating the NCM which had been submitted to parliament last month by former President Mahinda Rajapaksaâ€™s Sri Lanka PodujanaPeramuna (SLPP), President Sirisena had in a meeting that commenced Monday evening and went on till late night, had asked Wickremesinge to submit a clear plan on assuredly winning the NCM by 3rd morning 9.30 am (today). The meeting with the President had been attended by all UNP Cabinet Ministers. All smaller political parties which are partof the UNP alliance â€“ the United National Front, such as the Jathika Hela Urumaya, All Ceylon Makkal Congress and the Tamil Progressive Alliance have pledged full support to defeat the NCM. The official opposition, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has already declared its position that they would vote against the NCM. The UNP alliance alone has 106 members and the SLFP and SLPP combined has 95 while the TNA has 16 members. The Marxist JanathaVimukthiPeramuna (JVP) which has 6 members has said that they will vote for the NCM. Overall in the numbers game it is clearly likely that the UNP alliance and the TNA alone could have victory over the NCM even if Sirisenaâ€™s SLFP votes for the NCM.
PresidentSirisena is to hold a discussion with his SLFP after todayâ€™s weekly Cabinet meeting to update about UNPâ€™s agenda after the strategy to defeat the NCM is given to him today morning.
Meanwhile the President is likely tolet the SLFP MPs take their own independent decision regarding the NCM, party sources say.
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has meanwhile declared that he hopes PresidentÂ Maithripala Sirisena will support theÂ NCM.
Rajapaksa told the media that it is up toÂ President Sirisena to ensure the victory of the motion by getting his SLFP members to support the NCM that is to be taken up for voting in parliament on April 4. The comments by the former President come in a backdrop where several senior SLFPers have already voiced support for voting for the NCP.
Two senior SLFP ministers, S. B. Dissanayake and Dilan Perera who spoke in favour of the NCM last week was joined by yet another senior SLFPer and government minister, Lakshman YapaAbeywardena who declared Sunday that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) MPs cannot oppose the No-Confidence Motion against Prime Minister RanilWickremesinghe because the points in the NCP were valid.
Speaking at a media briefing convened at SLFP Headquarters, the Minister dismissed media reports which claimed that President Maithripala Sirsena had met with Premier Wickremesinghe last week and agreed to work to defeat the No-Confidence Motion.
Sources within the SLFP say that there is a rift within the party where one section wants to oppose the NCM and work towards the stability of the UNP-SLFP led coalition regime.
The Joint Opposition sources meanwhile say that they would press President Sirisena to dissolve Parliament and hold a fresh election if the NCM gets a majority of votes.
Constitutionally, the current Parliament cannot be dissolved before February 2020 when the next parliamentary and Presidential elections are due and needs a motion adopted with the two thirdsÂ majority in ParliamentÂ to enable the calling of snap elections before that.