President signals thawing of stance
The deadlock between the Executive and Legislature showed signs of easing yesterday as President Maithripala Sirisena and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya met after a hiatus of close to two weeks and Sirisena scheduled to meet the United National Front (UNF) and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) today.
President Sirisena has agreed to take a decision after meeting TNA leader R. Sampanthan and UNF party leaders this evening. UNF to date has maintained that they are not willing to accept alternatives, insisting that the pre-26 October status in the House should be restored. Sirisena, however, has categorically refused to reappoint removed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to the post creating an impasse.
The decision by the Speaker to meet the President comes as a result of requests made by a number of Party leaders and other groups concerned over the deepening political crisis in the country, a statement issued by the Speaker’s media unit said.
A solitary Wijedasa Rajapakse, member of the disputed Cabinet appointed by Sirisena, standing alone in a row of empty seats allocated for the MP Mahinda Rajapaksa side, too, urged the Speaker to discuss the current crisis with the President, noting that Jayasuriya was the only person who is able to work towards moving the country out of the current crisis.
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- President to meet UNF and TNA today to attempt establishing middle ground
- Speaker and President meet for first time in weeks
- Hopes spark for break in constitutional deadlock
- TNA says they will support UNF Govt., but PM question remains
During the meeting, the Speaker noted the instability the crisis has caused in every sphere of the country, stressing that Sri Lanka can no longer bear the depreciation of the rupee and the drop in investments and tourism, urging the President to address the situation.
“The President responded positively to the points made by the Speaker, appreciating the service rendered by the Speaker in finding a solution to the crisis,” the statement said.
The TNA also wrote to the President yesterday, informing him that their support will be extended to a UNF Government.
“UNF Government, as it existed prior to 26 October or the appointment of a nominee of the UNF who, in the opinion of your Excellency, who is able to command the confidence of Parliament as the Prime Minister” the letter signed by 14 Parliamentarians representing the TNA said.
The letter also notes that the Prime Minister appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena, MP Mahinda Rajapaksa “has not been able to prove that he commands the confidence of Parliament though one month has lapsed since the said appointment and though Parliament has met several times during this period”.
The letter also brings to notice that the House has passed two no confidence motions against Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister.
“The view of the majority of the Members of Parliament on the issue of whether the said Member commands the Confidence of Parliament to be the Prime Minister has been negative and has been demonstrated beyond doubt,” the letter notes, stressing that the situation in the country cannot continue.