Sri Lankan Tamil Party: President Sirisena has no choice in appointing Ranil Prime Minister

COLOMBO (The Island/ANN) - The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) believes that President Maithripala Sirisena would eventually  recognise Ranil Wickremesinghe as the legitimate Prime Minister.

Following talks between President Sirisena and the United National Party (UNP) led United National Front (UNF) recently, Chairman of the UNP Kabir Hashim wrote to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) - which has agreed to  back Ranil  Wickremesinghe, stating that Wickremesinghe was its nominee for Prime Minister. A certified copy of the letter was sent to the President.

The TNA’s National List MP M. A. Sumanthiran said that in response to President Sirisena informing the TNA delegation  headed  by its leader R.Sampanthan, during their meeting in Colombo last week, that he had offered the premiership to Speaker  Karu Jayasuriya and UNP Deputy Leader  Sajith Premadasa, prior to appointing  Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister, they had told the President, "You could have avoided the chaos in Parliament and  in the  government sector, if only you had found out in advance, if the majority of the people’s representatives in the National Legislature would  accept  Rajapaksa as Premier and  recognise his government. If you had consulted us, as the  the main Opposition party, we would have made it clear to you that a change in the status quo that prevailed prior to October 26, would not be acceptable to  Parliament."

Asked what the President’s response had been, Sumanthiran said that he had accepted his mistake in not obtaining  the views of all parties.

Sumanthiran noted that even though Sirisena had reiterated he would not recognise Wickremesinghe as the legitimate Prime Minister, as demanded by the UNP led UNF, he believed that Sirisena would backtrack, since he had no choice, considering the support Wickremesinghe had in Parliament and also due to the legal implications of his actions, which they had explained to him in detail.

"As a first step to rectifying the mistakes that have been committed, it was good to hear the President acknowledge that Rajapaksa does not  command the confidence of Parliament and suggest that a motion be passed in the House, calling for the appointment of a new Prime  Minister this week."

Sumanthiran said that when Sirisena had  reiterated his position on not re-appointing Wickremesinghe as Premier, Sampanthan queried how he could take such a strong stand when he had been elected President, mainly on UNP votes, to which Sirisena remained silent.

The TNA leader had also pointed out to the President, that installing Wickremesnghe as Prime Minister and reducing his (President’s) powers, were pledges on  which he campaigned for the presidency and it was not correct both constitutionally and morally, to violate the trust the majority of voters had placed in him, Sumanthiran revealed.

Wickremesinghe, who maintains that he is the legitimate Prime  Minister, said that all issues which had cropped up since October 26 , could  be resolved by Parliament since it exercised people’s sovereignty on their behalf."The Chief Executive is bound to implement decisions taken by the National  Legislature, as stipulated in the 19th Amendment to the Constitution."