Talks between President Maithripala Sirisena and United National Front leaders last night remained at a stalemate, with the latter losing confidence in discussions.
“We are not going to see him again,” Senior United National Party Member Lakshman Kiriella told Daily FT, terming the meeting “unsuccessful”.
“There is no point in discussing with him,” a frustrated Kiriella said, as the latest round of discussions failed to make any headway, with Sirisena refusing to reappoint Ranil Wickremesinghe to the post of Prime Minister.
The President met the UNF party leaders yesterday after Speaker Karu Jayasuriya reopened dialogue, following an appeal made by Rajapaksa camp Parliamentarian Wijedasa Rajapakse.
“He downright refused to appoint Ranil Wickremesinghe again,” All Ceylon Makkal Congress Party Leader Rishad Bathiudeen told Daily FT.
The President was quoted saying that he wanted to appoint someone he ‘liked’ and someone who ‘he can work with.’
“I told him that he cannot do this as none of those is in the Constitution as criteria in selecting a Prime Minister,” Kiriella said. “Despite us telling him that he cannot do as he liked, and that Ranil Wickremesinghe has the majority, he refused to accept it. He was willing to restore the pre-October 26 Government but not appoint Ranil Wickremesinghe again,” he said.
The President has maintained that he will refer to the interim order given by the Court of Appeal yesterday, once the official determination is delivered to him.
“He was not willing to acknowledge the Court decision either. He insisted that the decision has not been delivered to him, and he will consider it only when he receives it,” Bathiudeen said.
The UNF members read President’s stance an attempt to drag on the current stalemate.
“He is looking at a long drawn-out situation, waiting for all the cases to finish,” Kiriella commented.
According to Kiriella, the President is likely to not act upon the interim orders, as Sirisena has maintained that the interim decisions can be changed after the full hearing.