Sri Lanka President hardens stand against sacked PM

ECONOMYNEXT – President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday insisted that he will not reinstate his sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe despite another setback to him in his bitter power struggle that has left the country without a government.

What was billed as crisis talks to end a five-week old constitutional crisis, Sirisena took up his hard-line stance against Wickremesinghe, three days after indicating that he had softened his stand.

United National Party (UNP) lawmakers said the talks which were postponed from Sunday and held Monday did not yield any results and the deadlock continued.

“The talks were a failure,” UNP MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told reporters. “The president insisted that he will not make Ranil Wickremesinghe the prime minister even if 225 MPs support him.”

Previously, the President had said he will not reinstate Wickremesinghe in his lifetime, but by Friday mellowed and indicated that he may make him the premier even though he immensely disliked him.

Sirisena held onto a hard-line stance even as the Court of Appeal issued an interim order blocking Rajapakse exercising the powers of the prime minister until a determination of the case filed by 122 MPs.

Official sources said that in the absence of a breakthrough, it was increasingly looking like the UNP will have to move an impeachment for which they do not have the required 150 votes in parliament.

The UNP has mustered 123 in the 225-member assembly. The Tamil National Alliance which hold 14 seats have said they will not support an impeachment. However,  Sirisena’s intransigence could sway the TNA which means the UNP will have to look for another 27 MPs from the SLFP to topple Sirisena.

(COLOMBO, December 3, 2018)

 

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