All MPs representing the United National Front (UNF) yesterday signed a motion supportive of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The signatures for the document were collected during the Government Group Meeting held at a Committee Room in Parliament.
According to Parliamentary sources, over 80 MPs have signed the motion and it was to be handed over to Leader of the House and Minister Lakshman Kiriella.
Ministers Rauf Hakeem, Rishad Bathiudeen, P. Digambaram and Mano Ganesan have also signed the document expressing their support to the Prime Minister.
UNP MP Chaminda Wijesiri told the Daily News that a unanimous decision was taken at the meeting to defeat the No-Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Wickremesinghe. He said the UNF MPs who are currently overseas also expressed their support to the PM over the phone.
He said the plans to comfortably defeat the NCM were discussed at the meeting.
Asked as to whether SLFP MPs were present at the Government Group Meeting, the MP replied, “When the Group Meeting is convened by the PM, the SLFP members are in the habit of not attending it and it was the same today. They attend the Government group meetings only when such a meeting is called by the President”.
During a meeting with the Prime Minister, all members had expressed their confidence in defeating the No-Confidence Motion which is to be taken up for debate in Parliament on April 4.
Speaking to Daily News, UNP MP Mujibur Rahman said that it was decided at a meeting that whoever supports the motion would be sacked from the government regardless of their position.
“It doesn’t matter if they are a minister or deputy, the decision to defeat the no-confidence motion stands,” he said. It is also learnt that the party constituents have decided to expedite the reforms agenda given that the next round of elections were only months away.
“We will be meeting again before the 4th of April by when we would have decided on the new office bearers,” MP Mujibur Rahman said.
[NCM debate fixed for April 4]
Disna Mudalige and Camelia Nathaniel
The Party Leaders yesterday decided to take up the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for debate in Parliament on April 4.
The decision was arrived at a Party Leaders’ Meeting chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday morning.
JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the vote on the NCM would be taken on the same day following a full-day debate.
The number of questions at the commencement of sittings has been reduced from 15 to 8 to allow more time for the debate.
“The sittings will commence at 9.30 am and the debate may continue until about 9.30 pm.
The vote will be taken thereafter,” MP Dissanayake said.
He said the JVP would vote in favour of the NCM. TNA MPs said a decision on their vote is yet to be taken.
The Joint Opposition handed over the NCM containing 14 accusations against Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Wednesday with the signatures of 55 MPs.
Four SLFP members in the Government ranks also signed the motion.
This is the third NCM against a Prime Minster in the Sri Lankan Parliament history. Previously, two NCMs had been submitted and taken for vote against former PMs late S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike in 1957 and Sirimavo Bandaranaike in 1975.
Previously, there had been 23 NCMs against Governments, 13 against Ministers, six against Speakers and Deputy Speakers, one against an Opposition Leader and another one against a Chief Justice.