Fearing an unfavorable ruling by the Supreme Court on the gazette dissolving Parliament, President Maithripala Sirisena has informed UNP party leaders last night that he was willing to withdraw the gazette dissolving Parliament.
Sources close to Sirisena said he was likely to withdraw the gazette on Monday, before the Supreme Court begins the hearing of the petitions against the dissolution of Parliament. Chief Justice Nalin Perera has appointed a seven bench judge to hear the case which will be taken up next week.
“At the meeting last night, the President also said he would not dissolve or prologue Parliament, “Tamil Progressive Alliance leader Mano Ganesan, who represented the UNF at the meeting, said.
UNP Chairman Kabir Hashim, Lakshman Kiriella, General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Rajitha Senaratne, Mano Ganesan, Rishad Bathiudeen and Rauff Hakeem attended the meeting representing the United National Front. Ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe did not attend the meeting.
Ganesan, commenting on the discussion with the President last night, also added that Sirisena “informally” admitted that his chosen Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa did not have a majority in Parliament. “He also admitted that the UNF commanded the support of a majority in Parliament.”
In another key development, Sirisena had been critical of the behavior of UPFA and SLPP MPs in Parliament, saying he had “nothing to do” with them.
Speaking to a group of journalists after the meeting, UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said the meeting was positive.
He added that both parties discuss their concerns and attempted to arrive at a solution. All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader Rishad Bathiudeen also confirmed that the meeting ended without a final decision, but added that they would meet Sirisena again over the weekend.
Sirisena, however, has reiterated that he will not reappoint UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister. He said he was willing to appoint any other MP of the UNP in the position. “The discussion virtually came to a halt when the President made that remark,” Ganesan explained.
However, it is learnt that the UNP MPs will meet Sirisena again, on Monday, with a fresh set of proposals of resolving the crisis.