Speaker Karu Jayasuriya is to make an announcement in Parliament on the post of the Opposition Leader this week following receipt of UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera’s official reply.
The Speaker’s Media Secretary Chaminda Gamage told the Daily News that the Speaker’s Office was expecting the reply letter of the UPFA General Secretary yesterday.
The Speaker, following the receipt of a letter signed by eight Joint Opposition (JO) members asking to grant the Opposition Leader post to JO Parliamentary Group Leader Dinesh Gunwardena, wrote to the UPFA General Secretary on August 2 inquiring the official stance of the party with regard to the request.
Following the formation of the Unity Government by the UNP and the UPFA, the Opposition Leader post went to the TNA as it held the next highest number of MPs (16).
TNA Leader R. Sampanthan holds the mantle of Opposition Leader of the Eighth Parliament. The JO group which submitted the letter argued that they have the support of 70 MPs and therefore the mantle of Opposition Leader should be given to their nominee. However, JO sources said the name of MP Kumara Welgama has also been proposed by some JO members and they are divided over their nominee.
In the meantime, Minister Mano Ganesan pointed out that the JO cannot claim the Opposition Leader post as it is not a recognised party in Parliament.
“There are only six recognised political parties in Parliament and no such party called the JO exists in Parliament,” he told the media.
All UPFA party representatives were called for a special meeting last evening to take a final decision on the matter. Amaraweera said the UPFA’s take on the Opposition Leader post was to be presented to the Speaker last evening.