Friday, October 19, 2018 09:42:06 PM

A question of confidence in Yahapaalanaya – The unfinished mandate

By Harim Peiris - Fri Mar 30, 12:56 am

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Featured image courtesy VCG Photo

Hard on the heels of the local government elections, the Joint Opposition (JO) emboldened by the unexpectedly robust performance of their nascent political party, the Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP), popularly known as the “Pohottuwa” has sought to leverage that result into destabilising the ruling coalition at the center. The chosen battle ground has been Parliament and the modus operandi is a motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister. Now Parliament reflects the electoral verdict of August 2015 and especially the subsequent divergent views within the former ruling UPFA, with half its group making up the JO in opposition, while half are in the governing coalition. Accordingly, in Parliament, the JO has only about 55 members and hence has seemingly a tough challenge to get the required numbers for a simple majority of 113. The key parliamentary blocs to watch in the numbers game, would be of course the SLFP group in government, of which three members have already signed the no confidence motion, the sixteen-member TNA group and the six member JVP group. While some vocal members of the SLFP in Government, particularly Minister SB Dissanayake is on record stating that the SLFP has no reason to oppose the no confidence motion, whether the entire SLFP group in government would en-bloc oppose their coalition partner is doubtful given the consequences of such a course of action.

The TNA which generally distances itself from political intrigues and palace coups in the South needs only to abstain, for the no confidence motion to fail. The dark horse or unknown variable in the entire exercise is of course the UNP parliamentary group itself, with a few muted rumblings within its ranks, given voice from the rather unexpected quarter of Kurunegala District MP, Ranga Bandara, who claims that up to two dozen UNP MPs will desert their leader….

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