Premiership given to Ranil while honouring democracy - President

Premiership given to Ranil while honouring democracy - President

December 16, 2018   05:29 pm

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“I have given the Premiership to Ranil Wickremesinghe while honouring Parliamentary traditions and democracy,” President Maithripala Sirisena has stated.

He stated this addressing the members of United National Front (UNF) following the swearing-in ceremony of Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister at the Presidential Secretariat this morning (16).

The President stated that his statement on refusing to give premiership to Wickremesinghe even if all 225 in Parliament sign and request him to do so was his personal political opinion and remains the same to date.

However, he has decided to invite Ranil Wickremesinghe to be sworn in as the Prime Minister as a leader who honours the Parliament traditions and democracy, President Sirisena further stated.

Reminding that, in accordance with the Constitution, the Parliament or the judiciary do not have the authority to appoint the Premier, President Sirisena stated that he took this decision as the majority of 117 votes in the Parliament has sought Ranil Wickremesinghe to be appointed as the Prime Minister.

However, he said he doubted if the two leaders will be able to work together for long.

“With the issues we have I am not sure what guarantees we have that we could go on this journey together,” Sirisena told Wickremesinghe and a group of his lawmakers. He said he can’t find people of honesty and integrity to help him take the country forward.

Sirisena in his televised speech listed reasons that led him to sack Wickremesinghe. He said Wickremesinghe did not show interest in assisting investigations into an alleged insider trade during a bond issue, in which a former Central Bank governor is implicated.

He said Wickremesinghe’s ministers were responsible for alienating the country’s powerful Buddhist monks from the government by having them arrested for holding in their temples unlicensed captive elephants.

Sirisena was also critical of Wickremesinghe undertaking to investigate alleged abuses during the country’s war.

Wickremesinghe had not looked into prosecuting former rebels whom he said were hiding in foreign countries while having only government soldiers arrested, Sirisena said.

“My view is that we should prosecute everyone, or else we should negotiate with the international community and free our soldiers (from accusations),” he said.

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