Sri Lanka president should form stable govt with SLPP: MP Namal Rajapaksa

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe ought to form a stable administration with the 134 ruling party MPs who elected him rather than pin his hopes on an all-party government, according to Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Namal Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa told reporters on Thursday September 01 that the very parties that had demanded an all-party government now appear to have abandoned their call.

“Rather than approach all 225 members, what President Wickremesinghe ought to do now is realise that there are 134 MPs who voted for him and form a stable government with those 134 MPs and solve the problems of the people,” he said.

Rajapaksa also called for the appointment of district committees and state ministries with a view to providing relief to the public hit by Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis since independence.

However, President Wickremesinghe has not yet given up on his repeatedly stated goal of establishing an all-party government. Delivering the interim budget speech in parliament on Tuesday August 30, he reiterated the call, highlighting the importance of bipartisan consensus in seeing Sri Lanka through much needed economic reforms.

The main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) has officially said it is agreeable to supporting the government’s reform efforts through parliamentary committees without joining the cabinet. But analysts say SJB seniors have been blowing hot and cold on the matter, with some apparently more eager than others to play a more hands-on role.

The SLPP and the Rajapaksa family, meanwhile, are at their lowest in terms of popularity, but opposition lawmakers have claimed that President Wickremesinghe is at the mercy of the SLPP, with some going as far as to call him a prisoner of the party of the Rajapaksas.

However, the SLPP and the coalition it leads has splintered and factionalised in the wake of Sri Lanka’s youth-led protests, with the latest defection being from 13 party members including the party’s chairman.

Former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has been maintaining a low profile in the wake of the protests, was also seen at an SLPP meeting where party seniors were discussing where the once unstoppable party had “gone wrong”.

Reports over recent weeks have speculated that the main Rajapaksa-led faction has been canvassing for more power and position in the government, with demands reportedly made for state ministries with the attended perks in tact.

The United National Party (UNP), which Wickremesinghe leads, is represented in parliament by just one MP: Vajira Abeywardena, a staunch Wickremesinghe loyalist. (Colombo/Sep01/2022)

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