TNA rejects Presidentís call to support new PM
November 9, 2018 05:13 pm
Sri Lanka’s main Tamil parties have turned down a call from President Maithripala Sirisena to support his newly appointed prime minister in a likely floor test in parliament this month, the parties told Reuters on Friday.
The President’s sacking of Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and appointing former president Mahinda Rajapaksa to the job last month had triggered a political crisis.
The President met the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to persuade the main opposition party to drop its opposition to Rajapaksa in a parliament vote to determine who holds a majority, the report said.
“President asked the TNA to abstain from voting, but we said the abstention would lead to legitimising an unconstitutional move,” M.A. Sumanthiran, a TNA spokesman, told Reuters.
Mano Ganeshan, the leader of the Tamil Progressive Alliance, said the president had suggested three options at the meeting.
“The first, he said we can join the government accepting ministerial positions. If not, he asked us to remain neutral in the parliament. The third option was not to support Wickremesinghe saying that he and Ranil Wickremesinghe can’t work,” Ganeshan told Reuters.
Both Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa have maintained they have the parliament majority. The house will sit on Nov. 14. Political parties have accused each other of trying to engineers defections.