As a result of LG polls defeat Unity Govt in crisis situ

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By 2018-02-14

By Ceylon Today Staff

The crisis situation in the Unity Government, in the aftermath of Local Government elections, continues to deepen with both parties engaging in a tug-of-war on who should govern the country.

According to reliable sources, President Maithripala Sirisena, following demands by SLFP Ministers in the Government, had asked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to step-down.

While, both parties have failed to reach an agreement on the matter, at the bilateral meeting held on Monday night, President Sirisena had allegedly warned Wickremesinghe that he will not give ministerial portfolios to any SLFPer who would join the UNP in forming a Government.

The President's warning comes as UNP backbenchers are pushing the Prime Minister to form a UNF Government without SLFP Ministers.

Several rounds of discussions were held yesterday in this regard within the UNP and SLFP separately, as well as between the President and several groups representing UNP, sources claimed. These groups have gone to President Sirisena suggesting various UNP stalwarts' names for the post of Prime Minister.

However, another meeting, which would be a crucial one, had been scheduled for 8 p.m. last night between the President and another delegation comprising UNP backbenchers and the Prime Minister. According to UNP backbenchers, they were planning to discuss forming a UNP Government under PM Wickremesinghe.

The possibility of reducing the number of Cabinet Ministers to 30 is being considered in political circles, particularly within the United National Party (UNP), following the results of the Local Government Elections.

If the UNP forms a UNP-led Government, there is a possibility of decreasing the number of Cabinet Ministers to 30, Parliamentarian Harshana Rajakaruna said.

Meanwhile, UNP Parliamentarians, who met Prime Minister Wickremesinghe at the Temple Trees last morning, demanded that he should give up the Party leadership and give the reins to someone else.

It is not only the UNP that is contemplating party reforms but the SLFP too are looking at replacing its General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake. According to SLFP sources, Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara's name has been suggested for the post.

Meanwhile, a decisive discussion, between President Maithripala Sirisena and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Ministers, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers, is set to take place at 3 p.m. tomorrow (15) at the President's House.

An SLFP Minister said that the talks will be held on topics such as the current unstable political scenario in the country, besides a lengthy analysis of how the Party had fared at the just concluded 2018 Local Government polls.

He said that a group of SLFP Ministers had proposed that the President sack Wickremesinghe from his position as Prime Minister in the aftermath of the Election defeat. He added that the President had already conveyed this to the Premier.

The SLFP Minister noted that if the United National Party does not agree to the proposal, then a majority of the SLFP Ministers would leave the Unity Government and cross over to the Opposition.

He added that the President had convened this meeting to discuss these latest political developments.
Additional reporting by Kalana Krishantha & W.K. Prasad Manju.

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