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Feb 18, 2018

Premiership crisis deepens

Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe & Speaker Karu Jayasuriya had gone to the President's official residence a short while ago.

Although an agreement with minister Malik Samarawickrama was reached on Friday night (16) to retain Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime minister, changes made to that agreement in the last 24 hours had led to the meeting, reports say.

Today's discussion has been initiated while signatures are being obtained from United National Party (UNP) MPs, pledging their support for Mr. Wickremesinghe to remain as PM.

17 MPs to back Nimal

Meanwhile, a powerful MP of the Joint Opposition (JO) said that 102 signatures have been obtained from MPs of the JO and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to appoint senior SLFP leader - Nimal Siripala de Silva as the Premier.

It is said that the list also includes the names of UNP MPs - Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Chathura Senaratne.

The JP MP further said that the president had promised them to give the backing of 17 MPs for this cause.

Won't join MR

Meanwhile in a Facebook post, UNP state minister Palitha Range Bandara has said that he will never join former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and not to fall for false rumours.

Palitha fb 600

20 to crossover

Meanwhile, it is reported that a group of 20 MPs led by minister Susil Premajayantha are to crossover to the JO tomorrow (19).

Political sources further say that it was planned to issue a sudden gazette notification.

After inquiring from the government press, we learnt that although there was initially a plan to do so, the measure was later suspended by the Presidential Secretariat.

Who wants to remove Ranil

Upon questioning a JO MP on the true reason behind the attempt to remove Mr. Wickremesinghe, he said all this was being done due to the 2020 Presidential election.

As Mahinda Rajapaksa is unable to contest again for a presidential election, according to the constitution, Mr. Wickremesinghe remains the only prominent political figure wielding at least 30% of the public mandate, he added.

Elaborating, he said that the president wished to eliminate Mr. Wickremesinghe from the 2020 Presidential election altogether and the JO will support this move as it is also advantageous to them.

Eliminating Mr. Wickremesinghe now would mean the JO would be able to field a candidate who can defeat president Maithripala Sirisena despite not being that politically mature, he further clarified.

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