Arundika gets the boot

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By 2017-09-13

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday (12) sacked Deputy Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, Arundika Fernando, from his ministerial portfolio.

In a media release, the President's Media Unit (PMU) said, "The Minister was sacked in accordance with the powers vested in the President by the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, under the Clause 46 (3) (a). The decision will take effect from today (12)."

Fernando was elected to Parliament on the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) ticket from the Puttalam District at the 2015 General Election.

The President's decision comes in a backdrop where Fernando has claimed on several occasions that a group of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) MPs will join the Opposition in the near future.
Last week, a group of MPs representing the SLFP including Fernando met the President to discuss issues they have to face due to the current political environment in the country.

Addressing the media after that discussion Fernando said if they did not receive a favourable response from the President, 10 MPs including him will either sit in the Opposition or stay independent in Parliament. He indicated that more MPs will follow them if they take that decision. One of their requests was appointing former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister.
Furthermore, Ceylon Today in its column 'Ceylon Politics'published on 10 September revealed that Fernando reportedly had a heated argument with former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga over the same matter. During the argument Fernando had reportedly stressed that it would be difficult for the SLFP to win a future election without bringing the Rajapaksa to power.

Speaking on the President's decision to remove him from the Deputy Minister post, Fernando said he will sit in Parliament as an SLFP MP. He further said that he had a number of issues regarding the path taken by the unity government, so he did not want to be part of it.

"However, removing me from my post will not stop other MPs who are frustrated about this government from crossing over," Fernando added. (MD)

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