Sri Lanka opposition backtracks on caretaker regime
ECONOMYNEXT – Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa Thursday disassociated himself with Joint Opposition moves to form what they had called a “caretaker government” and said he had no such intention.
Speaking to reporters at the Abhayarama temple in Colombo, the former president said he never planned a “caretaker” administration and internal discussions were to formulate a response if such an offer was made.
“What caretaker government,” he asked reporters who asked him for the progress of their unity talks with President Maithripala Sirisena’s faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.
A JO member who attended the Tuesday night dinner at the residence of former minister G. L. Peiris said talks ended in failure. Several threatened to break ranks and remain in the opposition should Rajapaksa re-join Sirisena.
On the same night, the former president had pledged to topple the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration before the “next poya day.”
“Every time we say we will bring the government down by this poya (full moon), next poya… you also keep asking me when we will do it. At least by next poya we must show results,” Rajapaksa said on Tuesday night. By Thursday, he was taking a different stance.
Peiris told reporters that Sri Lanka Freedom Party MPs who support Rajapaksa will take membership of the SLPP shortly despite the ant-defection law that will automatically unseat them if they quit the SLFP.
Rajapaksa’s legislator son Namal said he was waiting for the “auspicious time” to join the SLPP by giving up membership of the SLFP which he said had failed the people and was deteriorating daily.
Rajapaksa’s legislator brother Chamal had opposed any truck with Sirisena as it would be a prop for the president whose public support was waning according to his estimates.
At least one more members from the Kalutara district opposed the idea of going back to Sirisena’s fold and said he would continue to occupy an opposition bench. He also pointed out that the SLPP did not have the numbers in parliament to dislodge Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. (COLOMBO, October 11, 2018)