Hold general election under caretaker govt., Opposition demands

by Saman Indrajith

Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva demanded in Parliament on Tuesday that the next general election be held under a caretaker government and people given freedom to elect a government they had their faith in.

Speaking during the time allocated for party leaders to welcome the new government, the Opposition Leader said: "We hope to extend our fullest support for the government’s 100-day programme. If the government wants our presence in Parliament to speed up the process of bringing about legislation for the benefit of the people, we are willing to participate in every sitting and extend our cooperation for that period. But, thereafter a general election should be held under a caretaker government and people should be allowed to choose for themselves."

Leader of the Mahajana Eksath Party and former Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardena said that the government in power was not an elected one. "A prime minister has been appointed without an election. This is a quixotic government and nowhere else in the world have we seen such a government. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has entered into a ‘weird marriage’ with several parties to form a strange government. This situation is unprecedented. We are keeping an eye on how this marriage is going to work out."

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said it was wrong to say that there had been no precedent for the incumbent government as there had been a similar form of government in England in the past. "For your information, after 1916 in England Lloyd George became the Prime Minister. He was from the Liberal Party and had the support of conservatives after the fall of government of Herbert Henry Asquith, who continued to remain party leader.

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