Maithripala Sirisena says Gotabya agreed to interim setup with new Prime Minister and Cabinet but President’s office says no such undertaking was given and that Mahinda still has majority support in Parliament

Confusion reigned yesterday disappointing many as political leaders failed to deliver and be sincere to a protesting nation.

A meeting between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and a group of dissident SLPP MPs ended yesterday with plans to nominate five representatives from the group to devise the modalities of setting up an all-party Government but all main Opposition parties have rejected any power sharing while the President remains in office.

The President told the group led by former President Maithripala Sirisena that he would agree to the interim administration mooted by the group if all political parties supported it.

However, there were conflicting claims on whether Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Cabinet would be asked to step down ahead of the setting up of an interim Government.

After the meeting, Sirisena told reporters that the President had said the interim Government would be headed by a new Prime Minister but this was promptly denied by his office.

“The President has maintained that whoever has the support of the majority in Parliament will be the PM and at the moment it is Mahinda Rajapaksa who has the support of the majority,” a source privy to the details of the meeting said.

The President’s office issued a statement last evening to give details of the meeting held last morning but it also made no reference to replacing the Prime Minister.

Instead, the President invited parties represented in Parliament to accept the all-party Government proposal.

“Attention was drawn to the need to form a National Consensus Government to continue the activities of the Government and to appoint a National Council with the participation of the leaders of the political parties represented in Parliament as its initial step,” the President’s office said.
It was also decided to nominate five representatives from among those who took part in the discussion, to take forward the mechanism of forming an all-party Government.

Meanwhile Sirisena said the President had agreed to establish a National Council on a proposal by the SLFP that will decide on appointing the Prime Minister, Cabinet of Ministers, Inspector General of Police, and Attorney General.

Among those attended yesterday’s meeting were MPs Nimal Siripala de Silva, Susil Premajayantha, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Wimal Weerawansa, Udaya Gammanpila, Mahinda Amaraweera, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Tissa Vitarana, W.D.J. Seneviratne, Dayasiri Jayasekara, Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Nimal Lanza, Jayantha Samaraweera, Jayarathna Herath, Tiran Alles, Jagath Pushpakumara, Nalin Fernando, M.M. Athaullah, Gevindu Kumaratunga, Weerasumana Weerasinghe and Asanka Navarathna.

Courtesy:Daily FT