That (Con)fidence vote | Daily News

That (Con)fidence vote

Plans are afoot by the UNP to pass a Confidence Motion on behalf of deposed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament on Wednesday. According to reports, the motion has already been submitted to the Secretary General of Parliament with Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa reportedly in the forefront of sponsoring the motion. It is not clear what is intended by the Greens in bringing a Confidence Motion except to express solidarity with him. Because that is not going to change the prevailing status quo nor will this automatically make Wickremesinghe the Prime Minister. Come to that, it is doubtful if the former Prime Minister can muster the support of 113 Members in Parliament for the motion. This is because the JVP is already on record having stated that at no point will it support any move to make Ranil the Prime Minister (It (JVP) has already found fault with Wickremensinghe for occupying Temple Trees). The stand of the rathu sahodarayas has been that the ouster of Wickremesinghe was unconstitutional and it is towards this end that it was supporting moves in Parliament to redress the alleged wrong. Rishad Bathiudeen who has six Members in Parliament who are part of the 106 UNF component has also unequivocally stated that his party was in no way supportive of Ranil Wickremesinghe individually and all their efforts have been to promote democracy and protect the Constitution. There is no ‘relationship’ between the ACMC and the UNP either, he clarified in a statement.

It is difficult to assess the stand of the TNA on this score given that in their several meetings with President Maithripala Sirisena they had insisted on reverting to the pre-October 26 position. However some of its MPs have openly criticized the leadership for seeing to be promoting the cause of the UNP and its leader which they claim was bound to incur the wrath of the public in the North who does not want any truck with political parties in the South. If they (TNA) vote for the Confidence Vote expressing solidarity with Wickremesinghe this is bound to cost the party dearly politically, what with former Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran already gaining ascendancy in the Northern political landscape (in fact Viggy was one of those who opposed TNA's dalliance with the UNP following the outbreak of the crisis). Whether the TNA will take this risk and vote for Wickremesinghe will be known on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the nation will be heartened at the news that President Sirisena will stick to his pledge to end the political impasse within this week. Speaking at the SLFP convention last Tuesday the President promised that he would resolve the crisis within the next seven days without keeping the public in suspense. According to our weekly publication the Sunday Observer, in spite of the possible Supreme Court decision on the dissolution Gazette, the President will make a decision this week to end the current political gridlock in the country. The Supreme Court on Friday put off judgement indefinitely, placing the public in further suspense. However, given the welter of arguments placed before it by all contending parties the court no doubt will have to take its time to unravel all the knotty submissions before arriving at a clear verdict.

The report further stated that if the Supreme Court determines the Gazette issued by the President is valid, a temporary caretaker Government led by MP Mahinda Rajapaksa would be formed until the next General Election. However if the SC decides to the contrary, the report quoting sources said that the possibility of forming a multi-party Government aimed at ruling for another one and half years (the remaining duration of the present Parliament) is being widely discussed by the relevant parties.

It is not clear what form the proposed multi-party Government would take in the event of an adverse Supreme Court ruling. If it will be a combine of all the warring parties, this would be something that would be welcomed by the entire nation who, no doubt, has had enough of the violent politics that were on display in the recent days. Even if it is for a brief period, this is bound to bring a breath of fresh air to an otherwise malodorous political culture that has been the nation's lot to endure for a long period of time. Perhaps it is towards this end that the President had, in recent days, been having discussions with all parties. Crucial discussions were held with Mahinda Rajapaksa and Government stalwarts as well as the UNP and Opposition parties in Parliament. For his part, Rajapaksa too had been holding discussions with a number of Opposition party representatives during the last few days.

In case we are to see a multi-party Government, will the JVP consent to being a partner in such an arrangement? One should not forget that the rathu sahodarayas have been in Government for brief periods, first under the parivasa aanduwa (probationary Government) of CBK and later as fully fledged members of the Chandrika Government, sharing Cabinet portfolios. It will also be the first time since 1965 that a Northern political party will be in Government, if the TNA too opts in.


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