Tuesday, 19 November 2019 06:30

New PM, Cabinet likely after tomorrow

The appointment of a new Prime Minister and Cabinet is likely to be delayed till tomorrow pending a top level meeting between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa tomorrow.

The probable way forward came under discussion at the UNP parliamentary group meeting yesterday whilst there were mixed views on whether to extend support to the UPFA for an immediate dissolution of Parliament or remain in Opposition till end February next year.

New PM...

While Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has said he is willing to step down anytime to allow a successor and Cabinet to be appointed, there were divergent views on whether to support a snap General Election or sit in Opposition till end of February by when the President is constitutionally empowered to dissolve Parliament.

Other sources said that it was likely that the Parliament will be dissolved in first week of December leading to an appointment of a caretaker Cabinet under Election Laws till the run-up to the Parliamentary Poll. Such a caretaker Cabinet will be headed by Mahinda Rajapaksa as interim Prime Minister.

Already nine ministers, most loyal to former UNP Deputy Leader and National Democratic Front (NDF) presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa have resigned since their defeat at the Presidential Election but many of those loyal to Wickremesinghe remain in office.

UNP sources said that all holding ministerial posts have agreed to resign by tomorrow to make way for a new Prime Minister and Cabinet of Ministers.

Wickremesinghe will hold another meeting with the UNF constituent party leaders tomorrow to make a final decision on this matter, sources said.

Under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, the term of Parliament was reduced from six to five years and the powers given to the President to dissolve Parliament to the end of one year was increased to four-and-a-half years.

This Parliament first met on 1 September 2015 and hence the President can dissolve it by the end of February when it completes four-and-a-half years of its term. Early dissolution will require a motion to be passed in Parliament with a two-third majority.

(FT)

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