In a strong response to President Maithripala Sirisena, ousted Prime Minister and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today rubbished Sirisena’s claims that convening Parliament on November 14 could have led to bloodshed in the House.
Issuing a statement this afternoon, Wickremesinghe said no one talked about bloodshed when party leaders and representatives met Speaker Karu Jayasuriya for a special meeting last week.
“If they saw the possibility of bloodshed, they should have raised the matter during the meeting with the Speaker,” Wickremesinghe said, raising strong questions about the credulity of Sirisena’s statement.
“It is the Speaker’s responsibility to adopt necessary measures if there is a possibility of bloodshed in the House. The President resorted to an arbitrary measure and dissolved Parliament, without following the due process,” he explained.
He also said it was Sirisena who knew about “trading” MPs in the House and their so-called price-tags. “It was him and his party that managed to get a few UNP MPs and a TNA MP to crossover and offered them ministerial positions. As a result of their conduct, the public lost faith in the legislature and the representatives they elected.”
Wickremesinghe said he acted with great patience and restraint over the past three and a half years, respecting the “mandate” the government received from the people. “I encountered insults, humiliations and vitriolic criticism. It was due to this patience and restraint that we were able to continue the government for three and a half years.”
Wickremesinghe also said his personal interests stood separately from his political interests. “On two occasions, I sacrificed my presidential candidacy. The LTTE approached me twice to strike deals during elections but I vehemently turned them down as I always put the country before my own ambitions,” he explained.
Wickremesinghe said the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya protected the parliamentary tradition by upholding the view of the majority. “That is how the parliamentary tradition continues to function across the globe. The Speaker informed them to show their majority when the House is convened. I was confident that I held the majority support in the House and I demonstrated that in the month of April during a no-confidence vote on me,” he added.