JHU joins calls to oust Sri Lanka’s UNP-led administration

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – A legislator from Sri Lanka’s Jathika Hela Uruymaya (JHU), a party closely allied to President Maithripala Sirisena has called for a new administration without polls adding to existing calls by the main opposition to oust the current regime

Athureliya Rathana Thero, a key JHU legislator and spokesman, has called for a new administration to pass a 20th amendment to the constitution involving electoral reform, without dissolving the existing parliament.

Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka from the JHU, is seen as a close confidante of President Sirisena. He has already been appointed as the President’s representative to the proposed Constitutional Council that will oversee the public service.

The call comes as key spokesmen of the main opposition Sri Lanka Freedom Party are also calling for the ouster of the United National Party led administration without polls. The SLFP is divided between factions backing ousted President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sirisena.

A non-confidence motion has already been mooted against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe over alleged failures in economic policy and the cover up of a Treasury bond scam, though a date for a vote has not yet been set.

Former Foreign Minister G L Pieris, has said the first option of President Sirisena should be to appoint a government backed by a prime minister that commanded the support of a majority of members and such persons are available.

Wickremesinghe’s UNP is running a minority administration with the support from the opposition Sri Lanka Freedom Party for 100 days.

Under a Presidential election manifesto, parliament was to have been dissolved by April 23.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne a key aide of President Sirisena has also publicly played down the possibility of a dissolution.

President Sirisena has so far resisted calls by the United National Party of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to dissolve parliament.

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President Sirisena has indicated that the parliament will only be dissolved after a 20th amendment to the constitution is passed or rejected by parliament.

There is no firm agreement among minority parties or the UNP about the proposed reforms.

President Sirisena has also told visiting foreign dignitaries that a new administration will be in place by September.

"While he has said a new government will be in place by September, he has not said that it will be newly elected," a senior political analyst said.

President Sirisena is trying to consolidate his control on the Sri Lanka Freedom Party which is divided with a faction backing former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

President Sirisena was made the leader SLFP unexpectedly, after ex-President Rajapaksa relinquished the post unexpectedly.

"President Sirisena was originally expected to be an apolitical President," another political analysts explained.

"As a result his original election program and mandate was derailed. He now has to do what is best for the SLFP."

At a key party meeting Tuesday, it has been decided to try to bring together the divided factions of the SLFP, reports said.

 

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