President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday reignited the power struggle that has crippled Sri Lanka's government for more than a month, vowing never to reappoint arch-rival Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister.
Wickremesinghe's party has a majority in parliament and Sirisena's bid to bring back the country's former strongman Mahinda Rajapakse has already failed.
But Sirisena choked back tears in a meeting with foreign correspondents as he accused Wickremesinghe, who he sacked on Oct 26, of being "highly corrupt".
"Even if the UNP has the majority I told them not to bring Ranil Wickremesinghe before me, I will not make him prime minister," he said, referring to Wickremesinghe's United National Party.
"Not in my lifetime," he added.
Sirisena dismissed Wickremesinghe following a host of personality and political clashes since they formed a coalition in 2015. He named Rajapakse as new premier and tried to dissolve parliament but the Supreme Court and legislators blocked the president's moves.
Wickremesinghe, who occupies the prime minister's residence, and Rajapakse, who has the premier's official offices, have both refused to back down.
But the country officially has no prime minister, heightening international fears about Sri Lanka's stability and looming foreign debt repayments.
Sirisena told foreign correspondents at his official residence that he will appoint a commission to investigate corruption under Wickremesinghe since January 2015.
"He is corrupt. His economic policies are not good for local industries. He pursed an extremely liberal form of government that is not compatible with our culture."
Sirisena fought back tears as he recalled how he asked Wickremesinghe to step down in February when their respective parties were beaten in local council elections.
"I told him that we lost the election because his economic policies had failed. I told Ranil in this very room to step down, but he refused," Sirisena said.
He added that there had been "over 100 instances" of open clashes between the two and that their power struggle had become an open secret in the cabinet.
Sri Lanka's parliament meets on Nov 27 and 29 to discuss a motion by the UNP to cut off government spending.
Government finances will stall on Jan 1 unless a 2019 budget is passed.
If the UNP wins the vote, it could force Rajapakse to withdraw his claim to the leadership, and make Sirisena to name a prime minister from the party.
"If the UNP shows a majority, I believe Mahinda will do the right thing (and stand down)," said Sirisena, although he reiterated that he would still not reappoint Wickremesinghe.
Sirisena insisted that it was not a personality clash but a "disagreement over policy".
Asked if he could constitutionally ignore the leader of the largest single party in parliament, Sirisena said he would rely on tradition.
"There is a tradition that the person appointed PM should be able to work with the president. I cannot work with Ranil. The UNP will have to bring somebody else."
How about changing the President to solve the stalemate
TJ Sunday, 25 November 2018 05:47 PM
So the country has become his private property
Johan Sunday, 25 November 2018 06:24 PM
Correct he will appointOnly rejected ones by the people
sach Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:19 PM
He is the executive president
rew Monday, 26 November 2018 08:22 AM
Executive President acting like a Grama Sevaka.
Perumal Monday, 26 November 2018 08:33 AM
Ok, let's agree for a moment Ranil was corrupt (although it has not yet been proven). Then has he been replaced with an uncorrupt one?
Muwa Monday, 26 November 2018 09:19 AM
Sorry Dear! This is what our JR did to our country, not only this even the disastrous preferential candidate issue.
Mathalan Monday, 26 November 2018 12:26 PM
Perumal, was that proven either?
Anton Sunday, 25 November 2018 06:24 PM
The ROOT CAUSE is SIRISENA himself and definitely NOT either RW and/or MR and/or Karu J. MS knew that he wouldn't get even 10% at the Presidential Elections as UNF will field 1, Pohottuwa 1 and between them, it could be 75% and JVP 12% and Tamil, Muslim and other minor parties could get about 5% and the remaining 8% to MS. This was the only reason and not any other bullshit for MS to appoint MR as he could enter into a pact with Pohottuwa to be either the Presidential/PM Candidate and MR/GR/CR the other. This backfired as Pohottuwa couldn't entice the UNF MPs even with huge bribes of over 100 million rupees which itself is a case to the bribery commission. This is the crust of the entire episode where our beloved country has lost billions of the taxpayers' monies for MS's power struggle not to mention the loss in tourism and also the very adverse reputation our beautiful country has now internationally.
Perumal Sunday, 25 November 2018 06:27 PM
We the voters are proud of our unreasonable, incorrigible and thick-headed President, the first and the only surviving in the whole world. Don't laugh we must cry.
Dhammika Sunday, 25 November 2018 06:30 PM
People will VOW NEVER to elect you MS as the President again , NEVER AGAIN as well .
CITIZEN Monday, 26 November 2018 11:58 AM
Not even to the Co-operative Society!
Samboo Sunday, 25 November 2018 06:34 PM
You are not the king of this Country. If Ranil proves his majority you have no Choice
Citizen Perera Sunday, 25 November 2018 06:37 PM
We are a independent nation since 1948... what we have achieved since then ....? other than political mishaps...
Rohan Sunday, 25 November 2018 06:39 PM
What bull shit. No where in the constitution it says President has to like the prime minister . He thinks Sri Lanka is his private property. Shows his ignorance and his stupidity.
Raven Sunday, 25 November 2018 06:43 PM
For fear of death?
Nimal Sunday, 25 November 2018 06:52 PM
PM is the choice of people not president. President’s arguments are too childish.
Sach Monday, 26 November 2018 08:21 AM
Who is selected in an Island wide referendum?
Wise Donkey Sunday, 25 November 2018 06:53 PM
Also the 6.2 million voted for you during the last presidential election vow not to vote for you by any chance if you stand for reelection.
GH Sunday, 25 November 2018 06:54 PM
Thank you and we trust your statement sir.
Politic Drama Monday, 26 November 2018 02:19 PM
Thank for being Frog in the well.
fred Sunday, 25 November 2018 06:55 PM
Well said, TJ. The fellow is behaving as if the country is his to do with it what he will, and damned the Constitution and who actually enjoys the confidence of Parliament. The man has gone mad, drunk with power and cannot think clearly. The decent thing for him to do is to step down and go with what little credibility he still has.
rohan Sunday, 25 November 2018 06:56 PM
i agree with president unp has to change the leadership and nominate another name as prime minister.
sandy123 Sunday, 25 November 2018 06:59 PM
Bull shit. See his igo. How can he tell that he can't reappoint RW as PM again when there is a pure majority. What has happened is, he can't take his word again that he will step down as president if RW is PM again and nothing else. We have take this mad fellow out of the politics as he is not a good person to keep in politics.
Mathalan Monday, 26 November 2018 12:30 PM
Pure majority? Where? NCM is not to say RW should be PM
rohan Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:00 PM
mr.president dont just keep appointing presidential commisions to investigate frauds of each person.first what you have done for previous commision report to find out corruption from 2010 to 2015.i read the report and found mr has lot of cases to punish.
Ratnam Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:03 PM
If you cant you Quit. You prove by you ignorant you are not fit for that post.
vithura Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:04 PM
Contradictory statement by MS. He says RW is corrupt, cannot work with him and therefore will not be appointed PM, but then he goes on to say it is not a personality clash but disagreement over policies, which one is it.
Thimothy Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:04 PM
Who is this pissa to tell who should be appointed as premier.
AR Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:04 PM
Why should RW resign? MS should resign if he can not work with RW because RW has the majority.
Moiez Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:05 PM
You are the most corrupted politician who earned money by selling your MPs to the other side and you also got the share and you are behind every scene. So just shut up and mind your own business, people don't trust you anymore now. Get lost shameful President shame to say you as President.
Hiran Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:17 PM
The calls to scarp the Presidential system, becomes even more persuasive. Power should never be concentrated in a single person, especially a madman.
Real peace Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:17 PM
Where in the constitution it says the president should fancy the face of the PM...!!! Another big blunder of MY3
raj Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:19 PM
if that so you should resign immediately and have presidential election since you received Ranil's support during the last election for president. Because of Ranil's support, you won the election. You are not good as MR or Ranil in election campaign.
sach Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:20 PM
For UNP cry babies. SL has an executive presidential system and people select the president in an islandwide referendum. He is accountable towards the people and responsible for the actions of the government. So he cannot allow a PM who came to power thanks to him enjoy destroying the country.
raj Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:23 PM
Mr.President, people have rejected you in the last election while MR and Ranil won elections. If you respect people, you should resign and have a new election for president.
Mandayan Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:24 PM
Said the same on MR. Joker!!
Shas Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:27 PM
Ok then people will make you step down soon
will Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:28 PM
You swear same with,MR,even in more stronger language,but at the end you appoint him as the PM, its fact after another couple of months ,he definitely going to be PM, so you mild hearted person, if its only policy difference,don't take it as a issue, but if the case is 'highly corrupted ' then expose, take legal action otherwise it will boomerang you
Palugaswewa Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:30 PM
It seems Sirisena has a strong personal grudge, enmity and jealousy against Ranil over some reason unknown to us. For him it is not the 'country first' but it is 'revenge first even risking the country'. It looks he feeds MR with hatred towards Ranil and defends MR and Pohottu Party in all the wrongdoings.
Diogenes Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:31 PM
This wretched lunatic seems to be thinking that he is the sole owner of the country. O.K. We`ll wait and see! Hope he`ll get well soon.
Redflame Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:38 PM
Can UNP-TNA-JVP-SLMC come up with another candidate for premiership and end this deadlock sake of the country.
meth Monday, 26 November 2018 09:59 AM
The intention is to split UNP. No UNP can never agree to this on principle
Jaba Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:43 PM
You can dictate terms ,not on parliament dear president, you are confused .
JK Sunday, 25 November 2018 07:45 PM
if you can't work with Ranil, perhaps you should be the one to leave. Clearly, Ranil has the majority support in parliament. Whose support do you have?
Sach Monday, 26 November 2018 08:25 AM
Maithree gave the most accurate character certificate for Ranil Wickramsinghe
dulan Monday, 26 November 2018 08:29 AM
More people prefer Ranil as PM or President than yourself and this includes Pohuttuwa people
TONY Monday, 26 November 2018 08:58 AM
THEN GO HOME AND WRITE BOOKS AFTER BOOKS
Neil Monday, 26 November 2018 09:00 AM
Impeach this guy in Parliament and take legal action to put him behind the bars...
rajitha7 Monday, 26 November 2018 09:06 AM
There are 2 problems here. The UNP leadership is 24 years old and stale. The Prez is also a criminal for not following the law. He can appoint a PM but not fire him afterwards.
Ashok Monday, 26 November 2018 09:15 AM
Do Not Worry, We Will Send You Home Once And For All.
Ronnie Bugger Monday, 26 November 2018 09:17 AM
What a Hypocrite you are, Mr. President. You uttered this same sentiment about Rajapaksha in 2015 but you did a turn around in 2018. Your credibility s now questionable.
Daham Monday, 26 November 2018 09:34 AM
It seems Shiral lakthilaka sitting in the back must be checking whether his instructions are strictly followed by the president .
nsimon52 Monday, 26 November 2018 09:35 AM
All the party;s joined together and Impeach President. President can be impeached.
Andrew Monday, 26 November 2018 09:36 AM
Mr. Sirisena is using Sri Lanka like his wife's powder puff.He will wash the powder away every evening like his unstable utterances and apply a nather coating next morning. He is treating Sri Lankans like rubbish.
Gratiaen. Monday, 26 November 2018 09:45 AM
What about the act of acquiring a luxury car on that permit being the Prez.I think he is also in the list of gentlemen who disposed of such D/F vehicles for millions,filed in SC by Mr.Nagananda Kodituwakku.Shame is not the word.
Joseph Monday, 26 November 2018 09:46 AM
So you are not going to appoint RW during your lifetime. You have two option Resign or play your remaining trump cared" suicide" to save SL. You will be remembered as a president who laid his life for the sake of the Country
Lal Fonseka Monday, 26 November 2018 09:47 AM
Forget politics, forget his personal behaviour, forget who he is, but remember you have become president , just because of RW
Mathalan Monday, 26 November 2018 12:37 PM
And you forget that RW got premiership thanks to MS. Otherwise where would he be today?
Lanka Shantha Monday, 26 November 2018 09:52 AM
"He is corrupt. His economic policies are not good for local industries. He pursed an extremely liberal form of government that is not compatible with our culture."Oh- we understand that your Brothers and relatives are not given priority. Now you are singing a new song. Forgot the murder plot?
Rasheed Monday, 26 November 2018 02:57 PM
Murder plot planned by himself.
Samson Monday, 26 November 2018 09:52 AM
People are interested in democracy and the constitution. Please act according to the constitution.
Chris Monday, 26 November 2018 10:35 AM
What local industry ia he talking about? We had a beaitiful tourist industry about to take off and he just blew it. Maybe thinking about sand mining or the cashew industry. Please go home. I am sure people will pay you to just step down..
kumar Monday, 26 November 2018 10:43 AM
His mandate was to abolish Presidency, but he is attempting to destroy legislature. There is no greater fraud or corruption committed on the people.
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