Following Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe emerging victorious from Wednesday’s No Confidence Motion (NCM) against him by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Joint Opposition, the section of government ministers from the coalition regime’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) who supported the NCM say that they are ready to resign from their ministerial positions. This statement comes in the backdrop of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) declaring that they would submit a No Confidence Motion against government ministers of the SLFP who voted for the NCM against Wickremesinghe along with Rajapaksa’s Joint Opposition. This No Confidence Motion is to be handed over to the Parliament Speaker on Friday.
Meanwhile SLFP Ministers have declared they are willing to follow orders of President Sirisena who is also head of the SLFP and are ready to resign from the government if the President says so but are defiant against following any command by the UNP to resign.
President Maithripala Sirisena therefore has to decide on the future of the coalition regime and talks are scheduled to be held between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe on Friday.
SLFP Minister Dilan Perera, who voted in favor of the NCM, has stated that he along with other SLFPers who voted for the NCM are prepared to sit in the Opposition if needed.
“We are ready to sit in the Opposition. We will work for the SLFP regardless whether we are in the government or not,”Perera told journalists at a media briefing Thursday.
The SLFPers also maintained that the SLFP remained united, despite party members being divided in their decision on voting for the NCM, explaining that they were acting after permission from President Sirisena for SLFPers to take their own decisions regarding the NCM.
The UNP meanwhile has begun a sweeping restructuring process within the party, fulfilling a promise made to UNPers who were unhappy with the current leadership of the party.
Higher Education and Highways Minister Kabir Hashim, who is also UNP General Secretary, has stated that he has resigned from the post of General Secretary of the UNP and that the full restructuring process would be carried out by early next week. The voting in favour of the NCM on Prime Minister Wickremesinghe by a few UNPers was prevented with Wickremesinghe promising a total restructuring of the party and a facilitation of a new rung of leadership.
Meanwhile political sources Thursday said that following Wednesday’s victory in parliament for the Prime Minister, the National Unity government will continue to the end of its term in 2020 and will usher in pledges made to the people in 2015 when the UNP and the SLFP embarked on a political cohabitation.
Meanwhile, interestingly, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has interpreted his defeat to get the NCM voted in parliament as a victory.
“This is a victory for the JO to reach 76 votes in favour, but the result would have been different had all SLFP MPs voted,” he told the media after losing the No-Confidence Motion.