UNP unlikely to accept Sirisena’s offer

It’s another twist in a tumultuous week in politics.

President Maithripala Sirisena has reached out to the United National Party in what seems to be an attempt at rapprochement.

At the Cabinet meeting yesterday Sirisena told UNP Ministers that he was willing to work with the governing party, provided it offered a new leadership.

Indicating that he would not contest the Presidency he has said he will “thereafter be quiet.”

As part of his outreach Sirisena had said he was willing to offer the State Ministries of Law and Order and of Media to UNP MPs.

The offer is nothing new. During the 52 day period last year when Sirisena appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa Prime Minister Sirisena told the UNP he was willing “work with anyone other than Ranil (Wickremesinghe).”

Several party insiders said that they view Sirisena as a liability rather than an asset at a future election.

Others said one group of Ministers had said this was a good opening. However, they added that there would be fierce opposition to Sirisena from the party back-benchers.

The UNP will also reject the offer of State Ministerships.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe had told party men that the President was holding on to the Law and Order Ministry against the Constitution and accepting a State Ministerial post would make the UNP complicit.

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Also without full control of the Ministry of Law and Order, the government could not take full responsibility for the deteriorating security situation in the country.

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