"Coup Document", UNP fabrication - President’s office

by Zacki Jabbar

The President’s Office said yesterday that a "coup document" in circulation which speaks of prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and some cabinet ministers being sacked could be a UNP fabrication.

Presidential spokesman Harim Peiris told "The Island" that the document in question in circulation among certain parliamentarians is unsigned and undated, so it could be a UNP fabrication.

"The UNP is famous for conspiracy theories beginning with the Naxalite fabrication in the early 1980’s".

However Peiris observed that the "document’’ essentially contains a cross - over of some UNP parliamentarians to the People’s Alliance for " political reasons and not for money".

"It is not a conspiracy for parliamentarians to cross from one party to another.If the prime minister loses his majority in parliament he has the option of either resigning or being removed".

Asked if he thinks the prime minister has lost his parliamentary majority Peiris said "there is absolutely no reason for the prime minister to be removed nor does the president want to dissolve parliament now or in December.She has no intention whatsoever of calling a fresh election".

Commenting on the three demands put forward by the government on Sunday seeking the president’s consent for legislative measures aimed at facilitating the cohabitation agreement between the government and the executive, Peiris said there was a legal process to be followed in such matters.

"If the government want’s do away with the president’s power to dissolve parliament one year after a parliamentary election,introduce a conscience vote or Executive Committee system there is a legislative procedure to be followed.These are decisions that cannot be taken at midnight in Temple Trees".

Peiris said that if the government wishes to cohabitate with the president, the People’s Alliance was more than willing and was prepared to discuss any doubts that the government may have.

"If there are any issues which the government feels are obstructing the implementation of its programme of work it can be sorted out.But self-imposed demands are not the way matters of state are run"

Peiris observed that there are more pressing issues in the country such as the peace process and developing the economy rather than curbing the powers of an elected president.

"If absolute power rather than the country’s needs are what motivates the government then their real priorities are revealed", he added.