Sirisena flays Wickremesinghe & hints at Rajapaksa exit

Sirisena flays Wickremesinghe & hints at Rajapaksa exit

Written by Staff Writer

25 Nov, 2018 | 6:34 pm

Colombo (News1st): President Maithripala Sirisena today vowed never to reappoint arch-rival Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister.

An AFP report notes that President Sirisena “ choked back tears” in a meeting with foreign correspondents as he accused Wickremesinghe, who he sacked on October 26, of being “highly corrupt”.

The report went on to note that President Sirisena fought back tears as he recalled how he asked Wickremesinghe to step down in February when their respective parties were beaten in local council elections.

“I told him that we lost the election because his economic policies had failed. I told Ranil in this very room to step down, but he refused,” is what President Sirisena said according to the report.

He added that there had been “over 100 instances” of open clashes between the two and that their power struggle had become an open secret in the cabinet.

Sri Lanka’s Parliament meets on November 27 and 29 to discuss a motion by the UNP to cut off government spending.

Government finances will stall on January 1 unless a 2019 budget is passed.

In a key development, President Sirisena told the Foreign Correspondents that If the UNP shows a majority, he believed that Mahinda Rajapakse would do the right thing (and stand down),” although he reiterated that he would still not reappoint Wickremesinghe.

When asked if he could constitutionally ignore the leader of the largest single party in parliament, President Sirisena said he would rely on tradition.

President Sirisena had noted that there is a tradition that the person appointed PM should be able to work with the president. And that he could not work with Ranil Wickramasinghe.

He had added, that The UNP will have to bring somebody else as Prime Ministerial option.

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