Jubilant United National Party (UNP) members, led by MP Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday, called on President Maithripala Sirisena to respect the Supreme Court judgement and immediately establish a Government that has the support of Parliament.
UNP leader and MP Ranil Wickremesinghe, in a Twitter post minutes after the landmark judgement, said he hoped Sirisena will “promptly respect the judgement of the courts.” “The Legislature, Judiciary and the Executive are equally important pillars of a democracy and the checks and balances that they provide are crucial to ensuring sovereignty of its citizens,” Wickremesinghe tweeted.
Thanking supporters after the Supreme Court decision at the Temple Trees, Wickremesinghe pledged to continue to defend the sovereignty of the citizens of Sri Lanka. “The Constitution has proven that the sovereignty of the people is greater and what we have been telling was the truth. I thank all those who supported to defend the people’s mandate and democracy,” he added.
As the next step, said Wickremesinghe, with the majority having confidence in him, they hope to establish a Government with the backing of Parliament and continue development initiatives.
Noting that justice has been delivered, UNP Assistant Leader and MP Ravi Karunanayake called on President Maithripala Sirisena and ousted Prime Minister MP Ranil Wickremesinghe to work together and deliver what was expected by the people of the country. He also said that they expect to have discussions with President Sirisena in appointing a new Cabinet.
UNP Deputy Leader and MP Sajith Premadasa described the unanimous seven-judge bench verdict as the clearest definition of the Constitution, which is a clear symbol of justice that further strengthened the integrity of the Judiciary of the country.
“The Supreme Court verdict was one of the most historic judgements in post-independent Sri Lanka. The judgement said the Executive cannot dissolve Parliament before four-and-a-half years have passed since its election and his decision to call snap elections was illegal. This was a great victory for all Sri Lankans that appreciate justice and democracy,” he told media at the court premises.
Premadasa also pointed out that it was the responsibility of President Sirisena to appoint the lawful Prime Minister, UNP Leader and MP Ranil Wickremesinghe, and a Cabinet without further delay.
When asked if the President would appoint Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister, he said that anyone could have their personal opinion, but insisted that it was important to adhere to the people’s mandate.
“Everyone has their own opinion, but it is not the opinion of the majority. We hope that President will respect the Constitution and reappoint Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister,” Premadasa added.
He also said that it was important to restore the public sector services, which have been functioning without proper directions for months, and resume development work. “We must understand that we are public servants appointed by the people of this country for a tenure of five years, and we must aspire to deliver the best results for the betterment of our countrymen,” he pointed out.
Asked if he was ready to take up more responsibilities within the UNP, Premadasa expressed confidence that he was ready to accept any challenge or responsibility. He also said that it was more important to first be a good follower of its leader than to become one.
MP Ajith P. Perera said this historic verdict by the Supreme Court has once again proved that the judicial system and law and order of the country still exists and is independent. UNP Secretary and MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam commended the bravery of the seven-judge bench, which withstood many pressures to protect the rights of the people and the Constitution of this country.
“This was a people’s victory,” he said.
He also expressed gratitude to all the party members of the United National Front (UNF), civil societies, and professional associations who fought for democracy.
Kariyawasam said that it is now the responsibility of the President to appoint a new Cabinet within the next few hours.
MP Rajitha Senaratne asserted that the Supreme Court has given the most clear definition of the Constitution, and the verdict has proven that the Legislature is supreme over the Executive.
“It was proven by the verdict that only the people-appointed 2/3 majority can dissolve Parliament, and not the Executive. As a person who came with him to build the Coalition Government, I urge the President to respect the judgement given by the Supreme Court and learn to respect Parliament,” he stressed.