Minister of Justice and Prison Reforms, Thalatha Atukorale claimed that in the event United National Party (UNP) Deputy Leader and Minister Sajith Premadasa gets nominated to contest as the Party’s Presidential candidate and gets elected as the President, he has assured that this will not affect Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s position as the Party Leader, unless the latter decides to step down himself.
She said that the majority of the Party Members are in favour of nominating Premadasa as the Party Presidential candidate.
Addressing a media briefing in Colombo yesterday (30), she also claimed that the majority of Cabinet Ministers are against the abolition of the Executive Presidency and has questioned such a need after the dates for the Presidential Election has already been gazetted.
She claimed that there were discussions against the abolition at the pre-Cabinet meeting following which Ministers Patali Champika Ranawaka, Mano Ganesan and Palani Digambaram opposed during the emergency Cabinet meeting stating that if such a decision was crucial, it should have been made prior to gazetting the dates for the Presidential Election.
Addressing a Media briefing held yesterday (20), she claimed that upon questioning President Maithripala Sirisena as to the need to discuss the abolition, he had stated that he did so upon a request of a particular politician. “Majority of the UNP has also opposed such an act and due to the harmony within the Party, we don’t look forward to stating which politician made such a suggestion to the President,” he added.
Minister, Ranjith Maddumabandara said that the Cabinet is not vested with the power to make such decision without a two-thirds Parliamentary majority and the vote of the people at a referendum and that such decision to hold a Cabinet meeting upon the request of a particular politician has not happened in the past.
(Source: Ceylon Today – By Faadhila Thassim)