The rebel faction within the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) with the backing of 56 members in parliament is planning to defy the appointment of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan as the opposition leader.
Prasanna Ranatunga, former Chief Minister of Western Province, now an MP says that the UPFA dissident faction will make submissions to the Speaker on 22nd September voicing their opposition to the appointment of R. Sampanthan as the opposition leader in parliament.
Ranatunga a staunch loyalist of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says the appointment of Sampanthan amounts to a violation of the constitution as the UPFA dissident faction has 56 members which the TNA (16) and the JVP (6) put together cannot match.
According to Ranatunga who is under the microscope of the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) for embezzling money during his tenure as the chief minister says the UPFA dissident group had not made any submissions to the speaker on the matter as they had already made their stance clear to the President requesting him to appoint Kalutara district parliamentarian Kumara Welgama as the opposition leader.
According to Ranatunga the 56-member UPFA group had not made any submissions to the speaker as they had already done so to the head of the SLFP and UPFA President Sirisena who was vested with the powers of selecting the opposition leader by the SLFP CC.
Ranatunga was of the view that the President who is also the head of the UPFA and the SLFP had betrayed the party members in parliament as well as voters.
To the contrary Ranatunga said that Rajapaksa had never betrayed the party.
He said the UPFA did not have a mandate to form a national government as the party had not informed about such intentions to the voters at the last parliamentary polls.