Rajapaksa Speaks On Dispute Over Opposition Leader

The person who gains trust of the majority of the opposition must be appointed as the opposition leader, former president Mahinda Rajapaksa stated.

Answering a question raised by a journalist on Thursday, Rajapaksa stated that a person cannot be the opposition leader if members of the opposition were against him.

He added that Nimal Siripala de Silva also knows this as well.

The controversy started when some SLFP MPs were appointed as ministers and deputy ministers on March 22, creating a UNP-SLFP national government. However, Nimal Siripala de Silva, who was the opposition leader, remained in his position.

Opposition to this move came from other political parties in parliament, mainly the JVP and several smaller parties within UPFA.

Recently Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian R Sampanthan stressed that his party should be given the opposition leader’s position after SLFP accepted ministerial portfolios.

Meanwhile a letter was handed over to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa with the signatures of 60 UPFA MPs, urging that Dinesh Gunawardena be named as Opposition Leader on Tuesday (07). Many SLFP MPs also signed this document.

The Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa on Wednesday requested United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) General Secretary Susil Premajayantha to discuss with party members and decide on the dispute.

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