Written by Ramesh Irugalbandara
27 Apr, 2018 | 11:26 am
Colombo (News1st) – The 16 SLFP MPs who voted against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe during the No Confidence motion have officially made a request to the General Secretary of Parliament to allocate seats for them in the Opposition.
Speaking to News1st MP Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said that the SLFP group had requested the Parliamentary General Secretary to allocate seats in the opposition with effect from the 8th of May, the day on which Parliament is set to convene. The MP noted that the General Secretary had accepted their request and that they hope to discharge their duties as members of the opposition from the 8th of May.
The 16 SLFP members who have chosen to sit in the opposition includes the likes of Susil Premajayantha, Dayasiri Jayasekara, Dilan Perera, Anura Yapa, S.B.Dissanayake, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Chandima Weerakkody, and Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala.
In the run up to the vote on the no-confidence motion (NCM) a group of SLFP members announced during a media briefing that they have no choice but to vote against the PM during the NCM vote. Following this announcement, numerous rounds of talks were held between members of the Parliamentary group and the President. Last ditch meetings were also held on the day of the NCM which caused a number of members of the SLFP to arrive late to Parliament.
When the time came to vote, 16 members of the SLFP stayed true to their word and voted against the PM while the rest of the SLFP members chose not to attend the vote. This resulted in conflict within the SLFP and the 16 members who voted against the PM wrote a letter to the President and announced that they were ready to resign from their positions in the Government.
During a subsequent SLFP central committee meeting, the President accepted this letter and allowed the members to resign from their posts in the Government. While the President was announcing replacements for the ministerial positions that were left vacant, the 16 SLFP MPs decided to cross over to the Opposition.
For now, the group has said that they do not hope to combine forces with the Joint Opposition group. However as the saying goes, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies in Politics.
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