Sri Lanka coalition partners reiterate National government
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Prime minister and huis junior coalition partner made separate statements in parliament Wednesday pledging to uphold their uneasy National government amid opposition questioning the arrangement.
Ranil Wickremesinghe said the status quo was being maintained while the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) general secretary Mahinda Amaraweera seconded the Premier’s statement.
The two formal statements addressed opposition allegations that the National government arrangement had ended in September and the current cabinet was illegal.
However, Wickremesinghe noted that an agreement between his United National Front (UNF) led by the United National Party (UNP) and the UPFA was never formally lodged with parliament and that there was also no constitutional requirement to do so.
The fact that more than one party was in cabinet allowed the government to expand the cabinet beyond the limit of 30 ministers, Wickremesinghe said with Amaraweera agreeing.
Amaraweera had previously announced that the UPFA did not want to be in a government led by Wickremesinghe. However, after failing to secure the required 113 MPs to topple the UNP-led administration, Amaraweera has since made a U-turn.
President Maithripala Sirisena who was pressing for the removal of Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister has also come round to accepting the status quo as he could not engineer defections from the UNP to his side.
(COLOMBO, February 21, 2018)