Senior members of the rainbow coalition government in Sri Lanka see the No Confidence Motion (NCM) against Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake submitted by the Joint Opposition led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as a clever ploy to break the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP-Sirisena) and the United National Party (UNP).
“The JO’s idea is not to fight corruption (as its members themselves stand accused of corruption), but to break the UNP and SLFP by forcing a vote on the NCM which is expected to get the support of many ruling coalition MPs,” said a Cabinet Minister who is close to both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Karunanayake’s weak and unconvincing answers to questions put to him by the Presidential Commission on the 2015 Central Bank bond scam have given the impression that when he was Finance minister in 2015 he had questionable financial dealings with Arjun Aloysius, the controversial stock broker and the central figure in the scam.
The widely publicized proceedings of the commission have embarrassed both the UNP and its ally SLFP-Sirisena; and lowered their prospects in the forthcoming local bodies and provincial council elections.
Since a defeat in the NCM will deeply hurt the political standing of the President and the Prime Minister as national and party leaders, are being made to postpone the debate on the NCM and take action against Karunanayake without going for a vote on the NCM.
“The need of the hour is executive action and not parliamentary action. The President is trying to get the Prime Minister to secure the resignation of Karunanayake. If the Prime Minister does not do it for some reason, the President himself will act using his executive powers,” the Minister quoted above added.
Parties and leaders who do not want Rajapaksa and his JO to gain from the issue and make a come back, are particularly keen that the issue is handled without going through the No Trust Vote.
These leaders will press for executive or Presidential action against Karunanayake in the party leaders’ meeting this week. The dates for debate and voting on the NCM will be formally announced by the Speaker. (newsin.asia)