Willing to work with the President – Ranil
Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he is willing to work with President Maithripala Sirisena, who abruptly sacked him on October 26, if given a chance to prove his majority in Parliament.
Caught in an unprecedented power struggle, Mr. Wickremesinghe is trying to claim legitimacy as the country’s premier, after Mr. Sirisena appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place and subsequently prorogued Parliament until November 16.
The bitter relationship between Mr. Sirisena and Mr. Wickremesinghe appears to have further deteriorated this week, with the President resorting to personal attacks on him at a recent public meeting.
On whether he could still work with the President, Mr. Wickremesinghe said: “I’ll have no problem working with him, that’s a question you must ask him. The Constitution doesn’t make provision for personal prejudices,” he said on Tuesday, in an interview to The Hindu at Temple Trees, the official residence of the Prime Minister.
Deposed over 10 days ago, Mr. Wickremesinghe has steadfastly remained here, despite open threats from Mr. Rajapaksa’s supporters demanding he vacate and a sharp reduction of his security detail. On Tuesday evening, the premises was teeming with people, mostly supporters of Mr. Wickremesinghe. They waited around different entry points to the iconic Colonial-era building to catch a glimpse of their 69-year-old leader, who has been in Parliament for over four decades. Constant chants of the ‘pirith’, which Buddhists believe will keep evil and misfortune away, filled the air. They emanated from a white pandal erected right outside the main entrance. Two monks in saffron robes were seated inside and chanting into a microphone. “We have had this chant non-stop for 10 days now,” a security staff said.
Amid the persisting political crisis Mr. Wickremesinghe is optimistic about an early recall of Parliament. “The Parliament’s power is supreme and that is what the Speaker has upheld,” he said, referring to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya’s statement on Monday, noting that Mr. Rajapaksa will not be recognised as PM until he wins a floor test. “I am confident of having the numbers,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said, adding: “The fact that they are delaying the recall is because they don’t have the numbers.” President Sirisena, who earlier suspended Parliament until November 16, has recalled the House for November 14. “The delay worries me because it makes the country more unstable,” the ousted PM said.
As of Wednesday evening, the Wikremesinghe-led front had 99 MPs, while the Sirisena-Rajapaksa combine had 104, short of nine lawmakers to prove majority in the 225-member House. However, Mr. Wickremesinghe has the implicit support of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), with 15 and 6 lawmakers respectively. In Opposition currently, both have deemed Mr. Rajapaksa’s appointment “unconstitutional” and are expected to vote against him in order to “protect democracy.”
Mr. Wikremesinghe, who has pegged his chances entirely to a floor test, has ruled out a court appeal on the matter, citing the Parliament’s “supreme judicial powers.” Reiterating the position, he said: “Even if you go to court they will send you back to parliament on this matter. We are different from yours [Indian context].”
On his strategy to stabilise to the country, should he prove his majority, Mr. Wickremesinghe said the cabinet might have to be reconstituted because some had left it, and joined the “new cabinet” that Mr. Sirisena has sworn in. “But the Speaker has very well said the status quo of [last] Friday stands. Unless they prove a majority that stands.”
Asked what if Mr. Rajapaksa won the floor test Mr. Wickremesinghe, even before the question was completed, said: “He won’t be able to prove a majority.” Pressed again for a response to such a hypothetical scenario, he said: “I don’t know about hypothesis, I am talking about the actual situation. He does not have the numbers.”
(Source: The Hindu)
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Yes, there are more work to be done. New Constitution has to be approved. Compensations for terror group members has to be done. More officers in the SL Security forces have to be poisoned. Better to join with Hon Prez again RW. Country need you.
Yes he is needed to rob another bank. Could be his next profession.
Why this kolaveri?
I think RW has to play a gentlemen game rather than becoming a leech.
He became PM via MY3 without any majority nor election. So he has to obey with the same rule.
Is he scared of ripping off his party leadership as well along with PM post?
Otherwise we don’t see any issue here.
So sad to see such a person became a beggar at this age.
Amarakoon, You forgot one.
Giving a base to India in Colombo port.
Ranil stick to what you do best. Offering jasmine flowers and creeping to Buddhist priest. You are a pure power hungry basted no matter what happen to the country or the Sinhalese people. You broke the moral the our brave arm forces to such a low level to get the support of other forcing leaders who were influenced by tamil terrorist. You ate selfish basted and i hope you suffer with a decease like cancer and die.
I concur with the comments made, although I would not have used the same language as Ranjith ! One must learn to be civil and polite in language, particularly when you put pen to paper !! The Prime Minister RW and the leader of the Opposition RS were NOT ELECTED – they were appointed by the President but these appointments were blatantly UNCONSTITUTIONAL RW therefore has NO MORAL RIGHT to complain when he was sacked ! I do hope Mr President has realised his mistakes. RW’s actions were detrimental to the country and he deserved to be sacked !! RW now says he is willing to work with the President as he knows that now the game is up !! Mr President, I admire his guts, will be foolish indeed to acquiesce particularly after investigation of allegation of assassinations
Ranil with several decades of political experience failed to rationalsie as to what determines political power. It is the people and ranil dared to challenge the will of the people and the party that he led never had the support of the people. He advocated the suppression of any opposition. further the biggest mistake that he made was to challenge the buddhis clergy and incRATE MONKS ON FICTITIOUS CHARGES WHEREAS THOSE MASQURADING AS MONKS WERE SET FREE TO SCANDALISE BUDHISM AND THE BHIKKUS. RANIL OUGHT TO REALISE THAT he has lost the confidence of the people and come next election unp will not be able to muster enough representation to put up a viable opposition
Mr Michael Fernando. The country is in a mess. This mess was created by senile Ranil and Sirisena for their personal gains. They did not know why they came. what were they doing and where they were going. I don’t think you know the damage these two done to this country. I am not a fan of Mahinda. But he defeated the ruthless Tamil terrorist. By doing this he brought back the dignity of Sinhalese people. When questioned Ranil crack a joke and get away like a school boy. He sold parts of country, default the bank and stock paddy in the newly built airport. I am angry with this man.