Thursday, 24th June 2021

Ranil Wickremesinghe to form new alliance to face elections

Colombo (PTI): Sri Lanka’s ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced on Monday that he will forge a new political alliance to fight the January 5 general elections even as he dismissed President Maithripala Sirisena’s justification for dissolving Parliament.

Mr Sirisena dissolved Parliament on November 9 and announced snap polls to be held on January 5 next year after it became evident that he did not have enough support in the House to prove the premiership of 72-year-old Mahinda Rajapaksa, whom he appointed prime minister after abruptly sacking Mr Wickremesinghe on October 26.

The President said the decision to dissolve Parliament was taken to prevent clashes among rival lawmakers and blamed Speaker Karu Jayasuriya for not accepting his presidential powers.

Mr Wickremesinghe, the leader of the United National Party (UNP), said his party will form a new alliance with the other parties with a new face to pull the nation out of the present crisis, Daily Mirror reported.

He also responded to Mr Sirisena’s address in which he blamed Speaker Jayasuriya for creating a situation to force snap polls, saying no one had feared any bloodshed in Parliament or murder inside the chamber.

“If the President had any information, he should have informed the Speaker then it would be the Speaker’s duty to take necessary steps,” Mr Wickremesinghe said.

On Mr Sirisena’s charge that parliamentarians were being traded for large sums of money to extend support, Mr Wickremesinghe said: “it was the President who took some of our people to his side and gave them ministerial posts, so he should know about members of Parliament being traded for money”.

Recalling his uneasy three-year alliance with Mr Sirisena, the ousted premier said: “I faced various challenges, slander and heartburn. I tolerated them with patience because I wanted to uphold the mandate we received in 2015”.

“It is not possible to build up a nation through undemocratic and destructive means. We will not allow anyone to destroy this nation which we have managed to safeguard at the risk of our lives.

“I promise to pull this nation through the present curse by associating myself in a new and a broad alliance. Therefore I invite everyone to join this new political force,” Mr Wickremesinghe said.


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