Mahinda Rajapaksa named Sri Lanka opposition leader amid objections
ECONOMYNEXT – Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said he recognized Mahinda Rajapaksa as the leader of opposition amid calls for a select committee to examine whether he was still a member of parliament, following alleged joining of another party.
Jayasuriya said the United People’s Freedom Alliance of President Maithripala Sirisena was now the largest opposition party now that the party was no longer in the ruling coalition.
United National Party legislator Lakshman Kiriella said there were ‘strangers’ in the house as some members of President Maithripala Sirisena’s United National People’s Alliance, constituent Sri Lanka Freedom Party had left the party publicly.
Kirella was made the leader of the house.
M A Sumanthiran of the Tamil National Alliance said a select committee of parliament should go into the matter and asked Speaker Jayasuriya to defer the decision.
Sumanthiran said the UPFA could not be the opposition since its leader President Sirisena was a member of the government.
Speaker asked him to submit a written request and he would give a decision on Friday.
Udaya Gammanpila said there were precedents with Chandrika Kumaratunga and on two other occasions the leader of the opposition being from the President’s party.
Kiriella responded and said President Kumaratunga did not hold a portfolio.