Ranil Wickremesinghe to support no-confidence motion against PM: Sirisena

Vastavam web: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s party today formally informed embattled Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that it will support a no-confidence motion backed by the Joint Opposition against him.Wickremesinghe, 68, leads a national unity government in alliance with Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). He faces the no-confidence motion in Parliament tomorrow.Senior SLFP leader and Minister of Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva conveyed the party’s decision to Wickremesinghe this morning, political sources said.

The motion scheduled for tomorrow was handed over to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya by the Joint Opposition last month against Wickremesinghe, accusing him of financial mismanagement and failing to tackle anti-Muslim riots last month in the central Kandy district.”We will defeat the motion tomorrow,” said Harsha de Silva, a UNP frontliner and a minister of state.

Wickremesinghe had resisted a call from Sirisena to resign following a crushing defeat to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s new party Sri Lanka People’s Front in the February 10 local election.It is no secret that Sirisena wants Wickremesinghe’s ouster so that he could replace him with his own choice.Wickremesinghe’s broader front, UNFGG has 106 seats in the 225 member assembly while the SLFP and the JO combine of Sirisena and Rajapaksa represents only 96.

However, some of Wickremesinghe’s allies – Sri Lanka Muslim Congress – have expressed dissatisfaction with the UNP.Sirisena is said to believe that at least 12 Muslim MPs in Wickremesinghe’s front may decide to vote against the premier.Sirisena in 2015 quit the Rajapaksa government to join hands with Wickremesinghe, the then main opposition leader, to defeat Rajapaksa in the presidential election ending his 10-year rule.