An Echelon Media Company
Friday December 9th, 2022

UNP agreeable for Election after Feb 15 – Kiriella

The United National Party Parliamentary Group is not agreeable to support the dissolution of Parliament immediately but will consider it only if the date of the General Election is fixed on or after February 15, the Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella told RepublicNext.

Kiriella said the dates of the election would be discussed in the next few days and that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is due to meet President Gotabaya Rajapaksa tomorrow. The PM will inform the President that “we are prepared to hand over government at any time,” he added.

Kiriella who told us the PM will resign within 24 hours said that this may get delayed as Wickremesinghe hasn’t yet been given a time to meet the President.

A majority of the MPs at a Parliamentary Group meeting held last evening say they are willing to give up their posts and sit in Opposition anytime.

 “We have all decided to resign our posts and sit in the opposition and allow the President to appoint a government,” Kiriella said.

 He recalled that the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa had done the same thing when the United National Front won the Presidency in 2015. “We formed a government with just 40 MPs,” he said.  

Under the 19th Amendment, the President can dissolve Parliament only 4.5 years after its first sitting which was on Sept 1, 2015. Rajapaksa has that power from March 1, 2020, onwards.

The only other way for Parliament to be dissolved is for the MPs to pass a resolution to do so by a two-thirds majority for which the MPs supporting the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna would need the support of the UNP.

“There is also a Party Leaders meeting to be held in the next few days at which some of these decisions will be discussed,” Kiriella said.

There are 89 days from today to February 15 and that will give the beleaguered UNP time to recoup after the drubbing they received at the Presidential poll. Many of the Cabinet Ministers lost their electoral districts as Sajith Premadasa was decimated in the Deep South.

The MPs meeting was reportedly stormy with acrimonious exchanges between MPs supporting Premadasa and the others. Premadasa, however, did not attend today’s meeting, sources told RepublicNext.

Kiriella also said that Wickremesinghe will take up the issue that UNP supporters are being attacked and harassed in all parts of the country with the President.

He also dispelled rumours that the UNP was going to split.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sri Lanka bond yields end higher, kerb dollar Rs370/371

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka bonds yields ended up and the T-bills eased on active trade on Friday, dealers said.

The US dollar was 370/371 rupees in the kerb.

“The bond rates went up, however more interest was seen in the short term bills by the investors” dealers said.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2024 closed at 31.90/32.20 percent on Friday, up from 31.25/70 percent at Thursday’s close.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2026 closed at 30.30/31.30 percent steady from 30.30/31.00 percent.

The three-month T-bills closed at 30.75/31.30 percent, down from 32.00/32.25 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank transactions was at 363.18 rupees against the US dollar unchanged.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers between 371.78 and 372.00 for small transactions, data showed.

Buying rates are between 361.78 – 362.00 rupees. (Colombo/Dec 09/2022)

Continue Reading

Foreign minister, US ambassador discuss future assistance to crisis-hit Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT — In a meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Ali Sabry and US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung discussed ways in which the United States can continue to support Sri Lanka going forward, the Ambassador said.

Chung tweeted Friday December 09 afternoon that the two officials had reflected on the “twists and turns” of 2022, at the meeting.

Minister Sabry was recently in Washington D.C. where he US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

A foreign ministry statement said the two officials held productive discussions at the Department of State on December 02 on further elevating bilateral relations in diverse spheres, including the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations which will be marked in 2023.

Incidentally, Sri Lanka also celebrates the 75th anniversary of its independence from the British in 2023, and President Ranil Wickremesinghe has given himself and all parties that represent parliament a deadline to find a permanent solution to Sri Lanka’s decades-long ethnic issue.

The US has been vocal about Sri Lanka addressing concerns about its human rights record since the end of the civil war in 2009 and was a sponsor of the latest resolution on Sri Lanka passed by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Unlike previous resolutions, this year’s iteration makes specific reference to the country’s prevailing currency crisis and calls for investigations on corruption allegations.

In the lead up to the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, Minister Sabry Sri Lanka’s government under then new president Wickremesinghe does not want any confrontation with any international partner but will oppose any anti-constitutional move forced upon the country.

On the eve of the sessions on October 06, Sabry said countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, who led the UNHRC core group on Sri Lanka, are greatly influenced by domestic-level lobbying by pressure groups from the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora.

These pronouncements notwithstanding, the Wickremesnghe government has been making inroads to the West as well as India and Japan, eager to obtain their assistance in seeing Sri Lanka through the ongoing crisis.

The island nation has entered into a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an extended fund facility of 2.9 billion dollars to be disbursed over a period of four years, subject to a successful debt restructure programme and structural reforms.

Much depends on whether or not China agrees to restructure Sri Lanka’s 7.4 billion dollar outstanding debt to the emerging superpower. Beijing’s apparent hesitance to go for a swift restructure prompted Tamil National Alliance MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam to warn of possible “go home, China” protests in Colombo, similar to the wave of protests that forced the exit of former pro-China President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The TNA will be a key player in upcoming talks with the Wickremesinghe government on a solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic issue. (Colombo/Dec09/2022)

Continue Reading

India smogs out Sri Lanka’s China tower observers


ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Chinese-built Lotus Tower has halved visitors to its observation deck an official said as dirty air flowing from India triggered air quality warnings and schools in the capital closed.

“Masks are mandatory at the observation deck and roughly around 50 to 60 can go up to the observation deck at a time, time limits have not been altered and still persists at 20 minutes for observation,” the official told EconomyNext.

Prior to the smog, 120 observers were permitted at once to the deck.

However, even after limitations the Lotus Tower has continued to draw visitors, and revenues are coming in, the official said.

The tower built with a Chinese loan by the cash rich Telecom Regulatory Commission has been described by critics as a white elephant that eats the money earned from telecom operators mainly as spectrum fees.

Sri Lanka’s National Building Research Organization (NBRO) said India air heavily polluted with particulate matter was flowing across the island into a depression in the South West Bengal Bay. (Colombo/Dec09/2022)



Continue Reading