Party leaders meeting, convened by President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat, ended in conclusively with Sirisena continuously refusing the UNP’s offer to show its Parliamentary majority.
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also attended the meeting along with other political party members in Parliament. The JVP boycotted the meeting expressing doubts over the President’s will to resolve the political crisis.
The UNP, at the discussion, said the party had a clear majority in Parliament and said they were in a position to bring 113 MPs to the Presidential Secretariat with signed affidavits. The party maintained that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa should be subjected to a floor vote in Parliament as soon as possible.
Responding to the UPFA’s allegations over the Speaker’s conduct, the UNP representatives said the UPFA could present a motion in Parliament against the Speaker. The UPFA, however, did not respond to this proposal, as the alliance, which claims to be the ruling party, clearly lacks the numbers to form a Parliamentary majority.
The UNF representatives had also informed the President that the latter could not dictate terms to the UNP over its leadership or the Prime Ministerial candidate. The party had also pointed out, according to Article 48(2) of the Constitution, that there was no government in the country after the no confidence motions were adopted in Parliament.
Meanwhile, President Sirisena, taking another U-turn, said he could not accept the results of a voice vote on a no confidence motion although it calls within the Parliamentary procedure and Standing Orders.
Sirisena had a vote by name or a vote via electronic system should be conducted on the no confidence motion presented against Rajapaksa. However, Sirisena failed to take any meaningful step to prevent the UPFA MPs from disrupting Parliamentary proceedings.
Previously, Sirisena said he would accept the no confidence motion against Rajapaksa if the legislature adopted it minus the first clause which challenged the gazette notifications issued by the President.