By Chathuri Dissanayake
Amidst mounting public pressure, Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake is set to resign from his ministerial portfolio in the coming days. Following representations made to both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesighe by both United National Party (UNP) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) members, the leaders are said to have advised former Finance Minister Karunanayake to tender his resignation before the No Confidence Motion is taken up in Parliament.
Sources said that the President and the Prime Minister discussed the matter during a dinner held to celebrate the latter’s 40th year in politics.
Members of the Joint Opposition (JO) on Thursday handed over the No Confidence Motion against Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake after details of the nature of his relationship with owner of primary dealer company Perpetual Treasuries Arjun Aloysius was revealed at the hearing of evidence last week.
Sources close to the President said that SLFP members in the Coalition Government had informed him that they will be voting against Karunanayake whose credibility has come into question since the hearings of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on the bond issue.
“All SLFP members in the Government spoke to the President and said that the Minister has to resign. We have told him that, if he doesn’t resign, we will vote against him in the No Confidence Motion,” a senior SLFP Minister told Daily FT.
A number of UNP members are said to have made representations to the Prime Minister on the matter.
“Several Senior Members have spoken to the Prime Minister. The minister has to go now. Enough damage has been done to the party,” a member of the UNP told Daily FT.
Some members of the UNP have reportedly decided to support the JO No Confidence Motion, if the Minister fails to resign prior to the matter being taken up in Parliament.
Both sides expect the Minister to make an announcement within the next few days.