National Government continues as 15 stranded SLFP Ministers retreat

by Zacki Jabbar

With the 15 SLFP Cabinet, State and Deputy Ministers who voted for the recently  failed No Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament  agreeing to resign their positions under heavy pressure from the UNP, the  National  Government  would continue under a new  Cabinet, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne  said on Thursday.

 Senaratne, considered to be a confidante of President Maithripala Sirisena, revealed that the dissident SLFP Ministers would have been removed if they had not resigned.

He explained  that President Srisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe were committed to the mandate received at the last Presidential Election to form a UNP-SLFP led National Unity Administration.

 "Since this is the first experiment of its kind, there are bound to be issues, but that does not mean the concept will be abandoned until the people,  if they wished to, express a different view in the future", Senaratne said.  "We are working on the principle of one government and collective responsibility. So there cannot be room for baseless No Confidence Motions (NCM).The 15 rebel SLFP Ministers spoke and behaved as if the SLFP had taken an official decision to back the NCM against the Prime Minister when it was just their personal agenda."

The SLFP Ministers who submitted their resignations to President Sirisena last week were Susil Premajayanth, Dayasiri Jayasekara, Dilan Perera, John Seneviratne, Lakshman Wasantha Perera, Sudarshani Fernandopulle, Tharanath Basnayake, Susantha Punchinilame, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, S B Dissanayake, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Sumedha Jayasena, Chandima Weerakkody, Anuradha Jayaratne and T. B. Ekanayake.

Senaratne said that the new Cabinet of Ministers had been planned scientifically, eliminating duplication of functions to a large extent.

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