A request signed by eight MPs of the JO had been handed over to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya who in return had sought the opinion of UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera.
SLFP ministers' decision
The Speaker was informed on this regard after several senior SLFP MPs representing the government held a discussion on this regard last evening (06).
Accordingly, minister Amaraweera had formally stated that no change should be made to the position of opposition leader.
The Speaker is to inform parliament today (07) on the final decision of the UPFA.
Speaking at a media briefing yesterday, member of the JO - Udaya Gammanpila said, " the position of opposition leader is refused to Dinesh Gunawardena citing that 20 MPs of the UPFA are aligning themselves with the government. However, from 2015 Jan. 09, it was Nimal Siripala de Silva who functioned as the opposition leader until a General election was held that year. So how is something that was fine for Nimal Siripala de Soyza be wrong for Dinesh Gunawardena?".
However, when 'Sri Lanka Mirror' inquired on this regard from a SLFP minister, we were told that Nimal Siripala de Silva was appointed opposition before the 19th Amendment came in.
The minister added, "The 2015 General Election as held only after the 19th Amendment was passed. On the very first day parliament convened after the General election, a proposal to function as a coalition government as per the legal provisions of the 19th Amendment was passed. Accordingly, the UNP and the UPFA are both in the government. The JO MPs too, was elected to parliament after contesting under the Betel leaf sign of the UPFA. If a portion of the UPFA sits in the government while another of the UPFA holds the position of opposition leader, the parliament will be a distorted one."