JO says fight for the post of Opposition Leader has just begun


By Saman Indrajith

Colombo District UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena, yesterday, said that the Joint Opposition (JO) would continue its struggle to secure the post of the Opposition Leader.

 Addressing the media at the parliamentary complex soon after the Speaker had announced that there would be no change in the post of the Opposition Leader, Gunawardena said: The struggle to get the opposition leader’s post is on. We saw the true colours of the Speaker today. This is an absurd Parliament. If a JO member had been the Opposition Leader, we would have been able to find all details pertaining to the proposed Free Trade Agreement with Singapore. The trade agreement would allow 4,000 consumer items into the country without tariff. The natural resources of this country will be made available to Singapore. There is a gazette notification on this agreement, but we have not been given it. We would go before the Supreme Court against this agreement. The joint opposition group comprises 70 MPs but we are not allowed to make inquiries. We do not have an office in the parliamentary complex. The office we should have been using is now placed under TNA MP R Sampanthan and JVP’s Anura Kumara Dissanayake.

 Galle District UPFA MP Chandima Weerakkody: Two general secretaries of the UNP and SLFP signed an agreement for a national government of two years. The SLFP is not a party in parliament. We have been elected on the UPFA ticket. But without consulting us the then Secretary Wiswa Warnapala issued a letter consenting to the formation of a national government. At the end of the two years, the Speaker obtained a letter from the general secretaries without consulting our opinion. That letter was obtained while the joint opposition had already asked for the post of opposition leader for that group. However, the Speaker has held that the TNA should continue to hold the post of the Opposition Leader though that party has only 16 MPs.  The MP who had the support and trust of the highest number of MPs could become the Prime Minister. Now Ranil Wickremesinghe is the prime minister and says he has the trust of highest number of MPs. He shows that he had 122 MPs’ trust as that number of MPs voted for him at the no-confidence motion against him. That number 122 also has TNA’s 16 MPs. None of the 96 UPFA MPs voted for PM Wickremesinghe while 70 of them voted against him.

MPs Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Jayantha Samaraweera and Sisira Jayakody also addressed the media.

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