BY Ruwani Fonseka and Dinitha Rathnayake
Despite intense speculation and statements that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa would be resigning from his post today (4) after making a special statement in Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office maintains that Rajapaksa will not be stepping down today, and that the special statement will be about the current situation of the country.
Media Secretary to the Prime Minister Rohan Weliwita and Co-ordinating Secretary to the Prime Minister G. Cassilingham have both confirmed that the Prime Minister will not be stepping down, and that any information or reports to the contrary are “false”.
Speaking to The Morning yesterday, Weliwita said that the planned statement in Parliament is not about his resignation.
“Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will not be resigning or stepping down for any reason whatsoever. He has no reason to step down, and he will never do that as well. Certain media outlets are talking about it and circulating false information about the Prime Minister stepping down, but I can assure that he has no intention of stepping down and he will continue to be the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka,” said Welivita.
Cassilingham also said on Twitter on Monday (2) night that any reports of his resignation are merely unverified rumours.
“In recent days there have been reports circulating that PM @PresRajapaksa is resigning from the premiership. The latest is that he will resign after making a special statement when Parliament convenes next. This is FALSE. To those who spread such rumours, pls verify the news first (sic).”
However, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Dr. Rajitha Senaratne claimed that the group that had recently left the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP)-led Government and declared themselves independent in Parliament had said that Mahinda Rajapaksa would be resigning as PM today.
As suggested by the Parliamentary group of Government “independents”, the Prime Minister of the interim Government and the Cabinet are to be nominated by the national assembly comprising the party leaders of the interim Government. The President will then appoint the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.
SLPP Government MP presently sitting independent in Parliament Dilan Perera has opined that “independent” SLPP MP Dullas Alahapperuma is the most suitable candidate for the post of Prime Minister. It is also said that Minister of Education and Plantation Industries Dr. Ramesh Pathirana, “independent” SLPP MP Nimal Siripala de Silva, and Minister of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils, and Local Government Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardena have also been suggested for the post of the Prime Minister, in the event Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns.
However, when inquired if the Prime Minister intends on leading the interim Government as well, PM’s Media Secretary Welivita told The Morning that there will be no interim government.
“How can there be an interim government when none of the parties are willing to accept positions and accept roles within the interim government? There is no interim government; the same government will continue and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will continue as he is now,” he said.
During a meeting held with the independent MPs on Monday night, Former Finance Minister and SLPP MP Basil Rajapaksa had said that even if Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns, the SLPP will not nominate anyone else except Mahinda Rajapaksa to reclaim premiership, as he had received the mandate at the previous election.
He had said that while the Prime Minister may decide to step down from his position in consideration of the request made by the Chief Prelates of the three chapters, when a committee of party leaders calls for nominations for the position, SLPP would nominate Mahinda Rajapaksa again.
Courtesy: The Morning