Three SLFP Dy. Ministers quit over President’s speech

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Three SFLP deputy ministers yesterday resigned from their ministerial posts in protest of President Maithripala Sirisena’s July 14 contradictory official statement.

Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Research Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle, Deputy Minister of Rural Economic Affairs Lasantha Alagiyawanna, and Deputy Minister of Ports and Shipping Eric Prasanna Weerawardena have decided to resign from their respective portfolios.

Addressing a media briefing at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo, Dr. Fernandolulle stressed that they had decided to resign from their ministerial posts as they couldn’t agree with the statement made by President Sirisena as the leader of SLFP.

The President had a responsibility to protect the SLFP-led UPFA and campaign for its victory as he was the leader of both entities, she said.

Dr. Fernandolulle said that she was now completely opposed to the President’s decision to stay neutral at the election as he couldn’t stay so as the leader of the SLFP.

Many SLFP members from top to bottom were criticising the President’s speech as it was a slap on the party, she said.

The former Gampaha District MP said President Sirisena had gravely harmed the election campaign of the SLFP-led UPFA.

"We accepted the ministerial posts in the National Government according to a decision taken by the SLFP Central Committee and we worked for the betterment of the party by joining the government," she said.

Meanwhile, Alagiyawanna said that a majority of other SLFP Ministers in the government had taken exception to the President’s speech.

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