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Sri Lanka Tamil party wants to be main parliamentary opposition

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Tamil National Alliance (TNA) demanded it be recognised as the opposition in parliament since the two bigger parties were getting together to form a government, sharing Cabinet portfolios with collective responsibility.

A statement from the TNA, the main minority Tamil party, said both President Maithripala Sirisena and the government have made public commitments to treat the Tamil people as equal citizens of the country.

“However, a reluctance to recognize the democratically elected representatives of the Tamil People of the North and East as the main opposition party when such is clearly the case can only be reflective of an unwillingness to honour this commitment,” it said.

“A reluctance to even recognize the elected representatives of the Tamil people as the main party in opposition does not bode well for the readiness of the President and the government to arrive at a solution that grants meaningful powers of governance to the Tamil people.”

At the parliamentary election held on 17 August 2015, the United National Party (UNP) emerged with the largest number of seats and the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) with the second largest.

Both parties, whose support base is mainly Sinhalese, have announced they would form a ‘National Government’ and that their Members of Parliament have accepted cabinet portfolios.

“Accordingly, both the UNP and the UPFA bear collective cabinet responsibility,” the TNA said. “They thus must publicly support all governmental decisions made in Cabinet. This support includes voting with the government when sitting in Parliament.

“There is thus no question whatsoever of the UPFA sitting in opposition in Parliament,” the TNA said, referring to UPFA announcements its members would form the main parliamentary opposition.

The TNA said that having emerged as the largest political party in opposition in parliament, its parliamentary group leader must be recognized as the Leader of the Opposition.

“At the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections this year, the peoples of this country created the space and opportunity for it to move forward,” the TNA said.

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“We urge both the President and the Government not to waste this opportunity. If they are committed to resolving the national problem, then their actions must reflect that. For our part, we are committed to constructively engaging with the government to resolve the national problem in Sri Lanka.”  (Colombo/August 31 2015)
 

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