President took constitutional safeguards due to waning popularity: Tissa


By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London

UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, who was in London last week to admit his daughter to a University here, said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa took constitutional safeguards to go in for a third term in office because he knew his waning popularity will make mustering a two-thirds majority difficult in time to come.

"He (the President) has not even completed his first term but has paved the way to contest again for the presidency because he knows only too well that he cannot do it later", the UNP parliamentarian said.

He said the President held talks with the UNP to abolish the Executive Presidency and revive the Independent Commissions but suddenly changed his mind.

Attanayake said disciplinary action will be initiated against said the six UNP MPs who crossed over to the government.

"They were ‘looked after’ by the government to cross over and vote for the 18th Amendment", he claimed.

Asked about UNP MP Manusha Nanayakkara’s comments that Karu Jayasuriya should be disciplined before the six UNP MPs, Attanayake said the Galle district parliamentarian was merely mouthing what the government wanted him to say. "I don’t want to talk about individuals as I will be in charge of handling the disciplinary procedures".

 Questioned about reports that 28 UNP parliamentrians were contemplating sitting Independent MPs if the party leader does not quit, Attanayake said that he is unable to comment on this development as he is away from Sri Lanka.

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