Responding to a statement made by President Maithripala Sirisena that he will not appoint him as the Prime Minister again; UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said the President has to offer the post to anyone chosen by Parliament.
Mr. Wickremesinghe expressed this sentiment at a public rally in Kalutara last evening.
“Gone are the days when President was able to hand pick a Prime Minister. It is Parliament which has the power to appoint a Prime Minister under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.
“We have been following the British tradition since 1948 and had appointed the person who commands a majority in the House as the Prime Minister,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.
“Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga told me that she will appoint me as Prime Minister in 2001 even though she does not want to do it. This, she said, she will do as I had a majority,” he added.
He said President Sirisena should have informed him in 2015 itself if he did not want to work with him. “President could even have told Minister Rajitha Senaratne if he was not willing to work with me then. He should have at least mentioned it to members of his own party at that time,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.
Mr. Wickremesinghe recalled that when President Sirisena asked him whether he was ready to resign after the local government election earlier this year he had told the President that both he and the President should take equal responsibility for the polls defeat and not him alone. The UNP Leader further said he never said he did not want to work with the SLFP after several of them voted in favour of the no-confidence motion against him.
UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa said he is willing to lay down his life for the sake of democracy just like the Speaker who stands up fearlessly for justice. (Yohan Perera)