President-PM dispute likely over SLFP ministers President-PM dispute likely over SLFP ministers
Apr 06, 2018

President wants SLFP ministers to remain Featured

Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne says the SLFP ministers will remain in the government at the request of president Maithripala Sirisena.

The senior vice president of the party said so to BBC Sinhala Service after the president separately met the SLFP in the government yesterday (05) in the aftermath of their having voted in  support of, or abstained, the no-confidence motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on the previous day.

He said the group that voted against the PM offered to leave the government, but the president wanted them to remain.

Jhone Senavirathne

Prepared to resign any time at the president’s request – W.D.J. Seneviratne

According to him, they are prepared to resign any time at the president’s request.

He also said their decision to support the no-confidence motion was based on the party opinion that the SLFP and those in the joint opposition should work together in order to form a government in the future.

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SLFP agreed, with president’s consent, to abstain – Mahinda Amaraweera

However, UPFA general secretary Mahinda Samaraweera disputed him, saying a majority in the party agreed, with the consent of the president, to abstain at the vote, after both S.B. Dissanayake and Thilanga Sumathipala aired the view that the no-confidence motion could not be won.

The ethics of remaining as ministers after supporting the no-confidence motion also came under discussion, but they had changed their stand since, said Amaraweera.

He added however, that those who abstained and supported the no-confidence motion would remain in the government.

Attempts to contact Dissanayake for a comment failed.

UNP’s challenge

When pointed out that the UNP MPs have written to the PM asking that the SLFP ministers who supported the no-confidence motion be removed, Seneviratne described it as an attempt to secure those positions for themselves.

The president and the PM will settle that matter among themselves, he said.

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PM cannot remove ministers – W.D.J. Seneviratne

According to the constitution, the PM has no powers to remove ministers, said Seneviratne.

He also said it was unfortunate that some had abstained while others supported the no-confidence motion which he blamed on the ‘works of certain forces.’