Rajapaksa became Prime Minister at Sirisena’s request, sources say
Posted on October 27th, 2018

Colombo, October 27 (newsin.asia): It was at the request of President Maithripala  Sirisena, that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa took up the Premiership of  Sri Lanka on Friday, sources close to Rajapaksa said.

The Rajapaksa group decided to accept the offer when it found that the President was very keen, the sources, which did not want to be identified, said.

Rajapaksa became Prime Minister at Sirisena’s request, sources say

Till a few days ago, Sirisena had been wavering.  On the one hand, he was wanting to align with Rajapaksa to set up an United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government without any links with the United National Party (UNP) headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

But on the other hand, he was reluctant to accommodate Rajapaksa, his rival since 2015, when he had ditched Rajapaksa to become the candidate of the Wickremesinghe-led opposition in the Presidential election.

The choice for Sirisena thus between a rock and a hard place or the devil and the deep sea. He had serious issues with both.

One the one hand, he knew that Rajapaksa was bent on finishing his political career .But on the other hand, he was finding it impossible to work with Wickremesinghe because of differences in ideology, temperament and style of functioning.

Pressure form 16 MPs

While Sirisena was on the horns of a dilemma, the 16 MPs of the UPFA who had switched over to the opposition to work in unison with Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and  the Joint Opposition group, were pushing hard for leaving the UPFA-UNP coalition government; sacking Wickremesinghe; and installing  Rajapaksa as Prime Minister.

Sirisena’s contradiction with Wickremesinghe grew to dangerous proportions  over the alleged plot to assassinate him with the alleged backing of the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Sirisena openly accused Wickremasinghe of being indifferent to the threat to his life from a foreign intelligence agency.

Sirisena decided to take the drastic step of pulling out of the coalition, sacking Wickramasinghe and appointing Rajapaksa as Prime Minister.

It is alleged that Rajapaksa had prepared the ground for this by playing up the issue of RAW’s alleged involvement in the alleged assasination attempt, to make Sirisena insecure vis-à-vis India.

As if the information already with Siriseana about the alleged assassination plot was not enough, Rajapaksa’s henchman, Wimal Weerawansa, called a press conference to say that the suspected RAW agent had met him, and had given him his identity number also. Weerawansa gave the man’s name and ID number fto the media.

With this incident bringing India and Wickremesinghe together, Sirisena’s alienation from Wickremesinghe and India was complete.

He had no option to accept the advice of the 16 dissident MPs and make a daring move to link up with Rajapaksa.

Discarding the practice of talking through intermediaries, Sirisena decided to talk to Rajapaksa one to one. It was at the one to one dialogue that the offer of Premiership was made to Rajapaksa by Sirisena. Rajapaksa accepted it with alacrity.

It was decided to keep it a top secret. No others, including influential foreign powers, got a clue about it. This was an entirely home made brew with no foreign ingredient in it, neither Indian nor Chinese, the sources remarked.

Asked how the Sirisena-Rajapaksa combine is hoping to get 18 MPs to secure a minimum of 113 supporters in a parliament of 225 members, the sources said that power by itself will attract MPs to the side of the President and Prime Minister.

When Rajapaksa became President in 2005, the UPFA’s strength in parliament was only 88 but in no time he secured the support of 163. Likewise. Wickremesinghe had only 41 MPs when he was appointed Prime Minister in January 2015. But soon he got enough support to be in power, it was  pointed out.

Prorogation of Parliament

On the idea behind the prorogation of parliament from October 27 to November 15, the source said that it was done to help the new government work on a  new annual budget which would be different from Wickremesinghe’s budget.

Wickremesinghe’s budget was to be presented on November 5.

Expected to be a populist,  the budget will be designed to help the Sirisena-Rajapaksa combine’s campaign in the coming elections to provincial councils.

Relations with China and India

Asked about the new dispensation’s relations with India and China, sources said that friendly relations will be maintained with both countries.

China is a long standing friend of Sri Lanka’s but India is Sri Lanka’s relation, the sources said.

Both countries had made mistakes in the past and have since learnt lessons from them. India got angry when a Chinese nuclear submarine berthed in Hambantota port without its knowledge. It then helped Sirisena and Wickremesinghe come to power but only to discover that they had sold the Hambantota harbor itself to the Chinese!

Likewise, Rajapaksa also learned  that he should not pamper China to the point of annoying India. Relations with  India and China will be balanced, the source affirmed.

China is  pleased with Rajapaksa’s coming back to power. The  Chinese Ambassador was the first foreign envoy to meet Rajapaksa and congratulate him.

Asked if  Rajapaksa will be perturbed with Wickremesinghe’s meeting foreign diplomats, the sources said that he would have no issue with it.

Even as an ex-President and as an ordinary MP, Rajapaksa has been meeting foreign diplomats in the last three and half years. As an ex-Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has the right to meet foreign diplomats.”

(The featured image at the top shows Mithripala Sirisena greeting Mahinda Rajapaksa)   

2 Responses to “Rajapaksa became Prime Minister at Sirisena’s request, sources say”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    A news article prejuduced against MR, but with a little more FACTUAL information on moves by President Sirisena to cope with the intransigence of Ranil-Baba and his 40 Thieves.

    NEVER FEAR, Ranil-Baba and his 40-Thieves will GO VOLUNTARILY or be UNCEREMONIOUSLY PUSHED OUT.

    The VAST MAJORITY of Sri Lankans are with Ex-President, now Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa!

    Sri Lanka President dissolves cabinet, prorogues parliament deepening the crisis

    Oct 27, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena has dissolved the cabinet of ministers and suspended the parliament after ousting the Prime Minister of his good governance government Ranil Wickremesinghe and replacing him with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

    The Director General of Government Information in a press release issued today informed that the Cabinet of Ministers is dissolved.

    The Presidential Secretariat today notified all the Heads of the Government Departments, chairmen of the state corporations, statutory Boards and state Banks that in view of the appointment of a new Prime Minister with effect from 26tn of October 2018 under the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the tenure of the existing Cabinet of Ministers shall stand dissolved.

    Deepening the constitutional crisis, the President suspended the parliament until November 16 as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe refused to accept his unconstitutional removal and called for an immediate parliamentary session to prove that he retains the majority of parliament.

    “I have the majority in the parliament, convene the parliament to resolve this,” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said at a press conference in Colombo on Saturday after meeting with the leaders of all the coalition parties of the United National Front.

    Wickremesinghe in a statement yesterday insisted that he still holds the Prime Minister’s office and cited Article 46 (2) of the Sri Lankan Constitution which states that Prime Minister shall continue to hold the office unless he resigns or ceases to be a Member of Parliament. Since neither of the two has happened, he cannot be removed abruptly, he said.

    The President has taken immediate measures to take control in dissemination of information and has appointed an Acting Director General of the Government Information Department.

    Senior officer of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS) and an Acting Additional Secretary to the President, Nalaka Kaluwewa has been appointed as the Acting Director General of the Government Information Department on the orders of President Maithripala Sirisena, the President’s Media Division said.

    President Sirisena’s surprise move has plunged the country into a political crisis with people who supported the election of Sirisena to the presidency and the minority Tamils and Muslims fearing the dark ages under the Rajapaksa regime will return.

    Countries across the globe expressed concern over the startling developments in the South Asian nation which regained its lost democracy and international recognition after the Good Governance government came to power in 2015.

    The United States, UK, European Union, as well as India and China said they are closely following the developments in Sri Lanka and urged all parties to respect the Constitution and follow the due process.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Getting signatures of UNP MPs to an IMPEACHMENT MOTION against the President is not for that STATED PURPOSE but to IDENTIFY the UNP MPs who are ready to JOIN MR!

    This DOES NOT GUARANTEE that those MPs will support Ranil-Baba on a NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION against the NEW PM Mahinda Rajapaksa when the Parliament resumes on Nov 16.

    There is also a RUMOR that the Parliament may be PROROGUED for 3 months, and that a GAZETTE NOTIFICATION to that effect is pending!

    Sri Lanka: UNP plans to move impeachment motion against President Sirisena

    Oct 27 (ANI) As many as 113 members of United National Party (UNP) are in the process of signing an impeachment motion against President Maithripala Sirisena, which is expected to be submitted to the Speaker of Sri Lankan Parliament by Sunday evening.

    As per the process, the UNP would need two-third of the majority which would be 160 votes to remove the President from office.

    In addition, the lawyers of the now-ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe are also exploring the possibility of moving Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, sources in UNP told ANI over call from Colombo.

    “We had planned to move a Vote of Confidence in the Parliament of Monday. But the President has prorogued the Parliament.

    The suspension of Parliament shows that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) lacks numbers,” a UNP leader said.

    This comes after President Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe on Friday night replacing him with former Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa following the collapse of the governing coalition between SLFP and UNP.

    Hours after Wickremesinghe was sacked, he urged the Speaker to convene an emergency Parliament session on Monday so that he could prove his majority.

    However, amid the Constitutional turmoil, President Sirisena has suspended the Parliament till November 16.

    Wickremesinghe in a statement insisted that he still holds the Prime Minister’s office and cited Article 46 (2) of the Sri Lankan Constitution which states that Prime Minister shall continue to hold the office unless he resigns or ceases to be a Member of Parliament. Wickremesinghe has said that neither of the two has happened, hence, he cannot be dismissed abruptly.

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