Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has formally resigned from his disputed Prime Minister post.
United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Parliamentarian Shehan Semasinghe said that Rajapaksa had informed the UPFA he had resigned from the post.
He later signed the resignation letter in front of some UPFA members.
Rajapaksa said that after the February 10 local government election, the aim of his party was to have a General Election.
However, he said that he has no intention of remaining as Prime Minister without a general election being held, and in order to not hamper the President in any way, he will resign from the position of Prime Minister and make way for the President to form a new Government.
“The Supreme Court has delivered a judgement against the holding of the general election that had already been declared. Since that judgement is a long and complicated document, I will study it carefully and in due course express my views on the constitutional impact it will have on the functioning of the parliamentary system of government in this country,” Rajapaksa said after signing his resignation letter.
Rajapaksa said that the UNP-UPFA coalition that had been formed under Articles 46(4) and 46(5) of the Constitution relating to ‘national governments’, fell apart when the UPFA left the coalition on October 26.
Thereafter, he said a number of UNP parliamentarians joined the UPFA and the UPFA became the largest group in Parliament.
“After the general elections of 1994, 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2015, it was always the largest group in Parliament that was invited to form the government as no party obtained a clear majority. In all those instances, the government was formed first, and the working majorities were obtained later. After we formed a government on 26 October, the President declared a general election. When I was sworn in as Prime Minister on 26 October, that was to form an interim government that would last only for about two months until the conclusion of the general election which was scheduled for the 5th January 2019,” he said.
Rajapaksa said that since a general election can no longer be held, the UPFA cannot implement any of the measures they had planned to take to prevent the country from becoming another Greece.
“The change of government that the people expected has now had to be put off. But the people will definitely get the change they desire. No one can prevent that,” he said.
Rajapaksa said that the coming together of the Joint Opposition and the SLFP group that was in the Government has now created a power block that commands around 54% of the vote base.
“To this will have to be added the votes of our allied political parties in the Northand East and the hill country. What is now gathering against the enemies of the country is a country wide politicalforce that no one can stop. Our main aim in the immediate future will be to hold the provincial council elections which have already been delayed by more than one year and three months. The main challenge facing us in the interval between now and the formation of a people’s Government will be to minimise the damage that can be done by the destructive forces that are now seeking restoration to their former positions,” he said.
Rajapaksa said that there is no doubt at all that the people who stood by him since 2015, will continue to support him in the future as well. (Colombo Gazette)