The 16 members of the SLFP who voted in favour of the No Confidence Motion (NCM) against the Prime Minister have firmly resolved that the SLFP should quit the Unity Government.
They said since 122 members of the Parliament have reposed their confidence in the Premier the UNP should be allowed to run their own Government. A resolution to quit the Unity Government was put to the SLFP Central Committee by MP Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and was readily seconded by S. B. Dissanayake. Addressing a media briefing at the SLFP headquarters on Thursday, April 12, former Social Empowerment and Welfare Minister S.B. Dissanayake said that the SLFP group which voted for the NCM proposed to the SLFP Central Committee meeting that the SLFP should quit the National Government.
He said that it was hoped that the party hierarchy would endorse the proposal. “We will continue to engage in our political activities with the Party Leader President Maithripala Sirisena.”
Former Skills Development and Vocational Training Minister Chandima Weerakkody said the final decision whether the SLFP should quit the National Government will be taken when the President returns to the country from the UK concluding the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
“We would, of course, extend our support to the UNP to continue the Government by fulfilling the legitimate role of the Opposition,” he said.
Former Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala said, in the true democratic sense, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe should be allowed to run a UNP Government. We are at the firm stance that the SLFP should quit the National Government and sit with the Opposition to play our role.
Former Minister S.B. Dissanayake said by being in the Opposition, they would try their level best to form a broad political alliance to strengthen the SLFP and the UPFA.
He said, all those who are in the Joint Opposition (JO) are also their ‘blood relations’. When the SLFP Central Committee takes a unanimous decision to quit the National Government, the rest of the SLFP members who held portfolios will have to give them up.
Former State Minister of Highways, Dilan Perera said, if the SLFP quits the National Unity Government, a new Cabinet of Ministers will have to be appointed and the number of Cabinet Ministers should come down to 30. We hope even the Opposition Leader’s post will have to be changed if the SLFP is no longer there in the National Unity Government. Therefore, this decision to be taken at the SLFP Central Committee would pave the way to effect a series of political changes in the country. Perera said ,the National Government was formed for a period of two years through the consensus reached between the SLFP and the UNP. It is obvious that this experiment has failed. Even the people and we as the stakeholders in the Government have also felt this.
We hope even the President has realized the failure of the National Government.
Former State Minister Perera said when the SLFP Parliamentary Group met at the UPFA General Secretary Minister Mahinda Amaraweera’s residence on April 4, the majority of the SLFP members decided that they should vote for the NCM.
Three days prior to the NCM, all 41 SLFP members in the Government said the Prime Minister should quit his portfolio.
“We have to seriously consider to how they changed their position after three days. It is obvious, something peculiar has happened. But we decided to vote for the NCM because we act according to our conscience.”
Former Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said the majority of 26 SLFP members in the Government who abstained from voting for the NCM are fully with them. Of them, only a few members have issues so that we call upon them to stand with the UNP without further ruining the SLFP.
S. B. Dissanayake, Dayasiri Jayasekara, W. D. J Senevirathne, Sudarshani Fernandopulle, Susil Premjayanth, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Chandima Weerakkody, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane, Dilan Perera, Anuradha Jayarathne, Sumeda G. Jayasena, T. B Ekanayake, Lakshman Wasantha Perara, Susantha Punchinilame, Tharanath Basnayake and Thilanga Sumathipala decided to vacate from their ministerial posts and leave the government on Wednesday, April 11.