Sri Lanka’s main party in the ruling unity government United National Party today unanimously decided to back its leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the no-confidence motion submitted against him by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa-backed Joint Opposition.
The motion scheduled for April 4 was handed over to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya by the Joint Opposition (JO) last week against Wickremesinghe, accusing him of financial mismanagement and failing to tackle anti-Muslim riots early this month in the central Kandy district.
“At the policy making working committee meeting this morning, it was unanimously decided to back the Prime Minister in the no-confidence motion,” Education Minister Akila Viraj said.
He said the party will meet for three days to deliberate on the reforms needed to implement them within two months.
Wickremesinghe, 68, had resisted a call from President Maithripala Sirisena to resign following a crushing defeat to Rajapaksa’s new party Sri Lanka People’s Front in the February 10 local election.
According to analysts, the no-confidence motion against Wickremesinghe is being secretly backed by Sirisena against the man who sponsored him to be the President after Rajapaksa’s defeat in 2015.
The motion calls for the removal of Wickremesinghe for appointing a non Sri Lankan as the governor of the Central Bank, allegedly protecting those responsible for the bank Bond issues scam and failing in his duty as the law and order minister to tackle anti-Muslim riots early this month.
Wickremesinghe was recently replaced as law and order minister after clashes erupted in the central Kandy district.
Anti-Muslim violence in Kandy and Ampara districts left three people dead.
Sirisena last night removed key institutions from the control of Wickremesinghe, including the Central Bank.
He had appointed a committee to probe the bank’s bond issues scam under Wickremesinghe’s friend and former Governor Arjuna Mahendran.