by Shamindra Ferdinando
The JVP has opposed special provision for a 45-member cabinet and 55 deputy ministers/state ministers following the next general election to facilitate the formation of a national government.
JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, MP, yesterday said that his party was agreeable to formation of a national government though it wouldn’t be party to such an arrangement under any circumstances. The JVP, however wouldn’t endorse what he called an unjustifiable push for special arrangements as regards the Cabinet and deputy ministers/state ministers, MP Dissanayake told The Island.
Responding to a query, MP Dissanayake warned that such selfish proposals would jeopardise their primary objective of bringing in far reaching constitutional reforms.
The JVPer said that those who had proposed a 45-member Cabinet and 55 deputy ministers/state ministers in case the UNP and the SLFP could agree to a national government following the next parliamentary election, were also seeking constitutional means to restrict the number of Cabinet ministers to 30 and 45 deputy ministers/state ministers as a second option which was to come into operation if the UNP and the SLFP couldn’t agree on a national government, MP Dissanayake said.
When The Island pointed out that the even the second option was contrary to the pledges made by those who had backed Maithripala Sirisena’s candidature at the presidential poll, MP Dissanayake said that the JVP had opposed increasing the number of ministers and deputies.
MP Dissanayake said: “We are calling for a 30-member Cabinet and an equal number of deputy ministers. There shouldn’t be State Ministers. It’s a ruse to accommodate more members and provide them with various perks and privileges. The formation of a national government to serve the best interests of the country should not be an excuse for granting privileges to more politicians.”
MP Dissanayake said that President Maithripala Sirisena and the minority UNP government should not work towards a national government at the expense of their solemn pledge. The JVPer said that those who had voted for Maithripala Sirisena expected him to dissolve parliament by April 23 as promised to pave the way for the parliamentary election.
The JVP leader emphasized that the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s defeat at the Jan. 8 poll meant the rejection of the SLFP-led UPFA. Therefore, the UNP after having helped Maithripala Sirisena to secure presidency couldn’t contemplate forming a national government with the SLFP. Neither President Sirisena nor Premier Wickremesinghe had received a mandate to go for a national government, MP Dissanayake said. The electorate had endorsed their 100-day project to bring in specific constitutional and electoral reforms as well as some relief to those struggling to make ends meet, the MP said. Therefore, the next step should be dissolution of parliament next month as envisaged, he added.
On the other hand, the UNP hadn’t received a mandate at the last general election to rule the country, MP Dissanayake said, adding that the present arrangement didn’t reflect the outcome of the April 2010 general election.
President Sirisena and Premier Wickremesinghe couldn’t deviate from the original agenda that brought an end to the authoritarian rule of the Rajapaksas.
Commenting on the on-going bring-back-Mahinda campaign, MP Dissanayake said that none of those spearheading the campaign had the strength to contest on their own at a general election. The JVP chief alleged that the MEP (Dinesh Gunawatdena), National Freedom Front (Wimal Weerawansa), Democratic Left Front (Vasudeva Nanayakkara) and Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (Udaya Gammanpila) had been exploiting the situation to their advantage.