Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella has today presented a motion to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya seeking to form a national government aiming to increase the number of Cabinet portfolios to 48.
Informed political sources said the UNP intended to form a national government with the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) which has only one seat in the House. Other MPs of the SLMC are representing Parliament as members of the United National Front.
The SLFP, the JVP and the TNA have already decided that they will not join forces with the UNP to form a national government. Therefore, the only option for the UNP is to form a national government with one of its own allies, the SLMC, and secure more Cabinet positions for its MPs.
The move comes amidst increasing pressure from UNP MPs demanding Cabinet, state and deputy ministerial positions. A group of UNP backbenchers have already threatened to function independently in Parliament if they are not given deputy ministerial positions.
“The motion to form a national government had to be fast-tracked as the government has to prepare for the budget vote. The Budget will be presented to Parliament in April and we want to ensure that all UNF MPs vote for the budget. We cannot take a risk at this juncture,” a senior UNP spokesman explained the reasons for presenting a motion.
However, JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, addressing a meeting in Maharagama last month, said his party would take every possible step to defeat the UNP’s attempts to form a national government with its own allies and use “constitutional loopholes” to increase the number of Cabinet portfolios.