Namal Rajapaksa slams Cabinet reshuffle, says President should understand coalition politics

Namal Rajapaksa

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa has voiced his displeasure over the recent Cabinet reshuffle that took place, deeming it a mere ‘change of posts’, as opposed to an effective solution to the issues Sri Lanka is currently facing.

Responding to questions from the media, Namal Rajapaksa emphasised that when running a coalition government such as the incumbent administration, it is the state’s responsibility to ensure that a mechanism in place which would allow for discussions to be held with all political parties involved in the decision-making process.

Commenting further on the matter, MP Rajapaksa revealed that since of late, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna’s (SLPP) stance was not considered when making certain decisions.

He assured, however, that despite this, there is no feud between the SLPP and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), albeit recent speculation in this regard, adding that, “Ultimately, we all believe that a system that would give the people of this country a certain extent of relief is what needs to be implemented”.

The SLPP MP thus opined that the “changing of portfolios and positions” does not allow for such a system to be implemented, nor does it resolve any of the country’s issues.

While acknowledging the Head of State’s right to make decisions such as the recent Cabinet reshuffle, the SLPP MP emphasised the President’s responsibility is to create a system beneficial to the country’s citizens, and thereby highlighted the due responsibility to consult all political parties affiliated with the coalition government when making such decisions.

“Electricity bills have increased, water bills too, are expected to increase and there is also talk of new taxes being introduced. The President openly admitted to increasing electricity tariffs following discussion with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). If they are going to take political decisions based on discussions with the IMF, instead of with the related political parties, then that is their way of governance. But the end result is the fact that people of this country are the ones who are left affected. If they think that such discussions and measures would resolve the country’s health crisis, or help drag Sri Lanka and its citizens out of this economic crisis that they have been forced to face; they are wrong”, the SLPP MP stated, highlighting that no proper measures are being taken to maintaining living expenses at affordable rates.

Commenting on President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s decision-making, the SLPP MP stated that while the political party is grateful for the fact that he accepted the presidency when invited to do so at a time where the country was in turmoil, and other potential candidates backed out, it is imperative that the President, in his capacity as a seasoned politician, understands coalition politics and the need for discussions with all political parties, or at least the patty leaders, prior to making certain decisions.

Thus, Rajapaksa stated that with the upcoming discussions for the Appropriation Bill (The Budget) for the fiscal year 2024, he hoped that the President would implement a mechanism that would bring relief to the people.

(Ada Derana)