Former Justice Minister says no side should take their support for granted

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Former Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, MP, yesterday said that his support for the No Confidence Motion (NCM) against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would entirely depend on the JO’s proposed successor as the PM and specific plans put forward by the UNP to address contentious issues.

Rajapakse was responding to a query by The Island yesterday. The President’s Counsel said that he represented a group of members elected on the UNP ticket. "We are still open for discussions," Rajapakse said, adding that those promoting the NCM and the UNP should not take their support for granted under any circumstances.

Parliament will debate and vote on the NCM next Wednesday (April 4). The outcome will be decided by the majority present in the House at the time.

Rajapakse said that the JO shouldn’t expect their support without seeking a consensus with them regarding their nominee for the post of premier.

The current dispensation had caused so much damage therefore a super human effort was required to revive the national economy as well as to correct the betrayal of the country at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council.

Rajapakse is among 107 elected and appointed on the UNP ticket at Aug 2015 parliamentary polls. In addition to Rajapakse, JHU member Ven. Atureliye Rathana thera accommodated on the UNP National List, too, currently functions as an independent member.

Responding to another query, Rajapakse said that he had discussed the entire gamut of developments with both sides and was awaiting their response.

Commenting on Thursday’s decision making Working Group meeting at Sirikotha, Rajapakse said that the top leadership should explain its position to the country without further delay or face the consequences. Rajapakse dismissed the UNP assurance that tangible measures would be taken immediately after the vote on NCM and before Sinhala and Tamil New year to revamp the party. "We need an assurance and a specific plan now, certainly not after the vote on NCM," Rajapakse said, warning that the usual tactics adopted by the top leadership in the face of dissension within would fail at the present juncture.

Rajapakse said that both sides hadn’t been able to explain their post April 4 strategy with the warring SLFP still struggling to speak in one voice on this crucial matter.

Chairman of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Prof. G.L. Peiris, in response to a query by The Island at a media briefing held at Nelum Mawatha office of former President Rajapakse said that the issue of premiership would be addressed later and current efforts were to muster the required support for the NCM.

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