Ranil Wickremesinghe (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe-led government Friday sought the consent of the Speaker of Sri Lanka’s Parliament to form a ‘national government’,  a move seen as a step to get a majority in the 225-member House.

Leader of the House, Lakshman Kiriella handed over a proposal to form a national government to the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya’s office.

Wickremesinghe was sacked by President Maithripala Sirisena in October last year and strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa was appointed the prime minister. The President also removed the members of his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) from the national unity government.

Sirisena was forced to reappoint Wickremesinghe as the prime minister after Rajapaksa failed to prove his majority twice in Parliament.

Since his reappointment in December last, the Wickremesinghe-led government has been functioning without the required majority of 113 in the 225-member House.

Sirisena’s move to dissolve Parliament to hold a snap parliamentary polls on January 5 was turned down by the Supreme Court.

“The proposal (to form a national government) was handed over this morning to the office of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya,” Kiriella said.

The Wickremesinghe-led United National Party (UNP) is also in talks with the Sirisena-led SLFP to join the national government claiming that a number party members were willing to become part of it.

A national government would enable Wickremesinghe to appoint ministers from Sirisena’s party.

“We have been talking to the SLFP members on the need to expand the government,” said Minister Mano Ganesan.

The UNP, with 106 seats, had joined hands with the Sirisena’s SLFP in 2015 to form a unity government.

The Rajapaksa-led opposition has been demanding holding of fresh elections ahead of its schedule in August 2020.

(PTI)