Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R Sampanthan, was today named as the new opposition leader in Parliament by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.
Jayasuriya said that the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) had given him a letter saying it will not be nominating anyone as opposition leader.
As a result he said that Illangai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) leader and TNA leader R. Sampanthan will be the new opposition leader.
However UPFA member and National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa said that the UPFA had given UPFA chairman and President Maithripala Sirisena a letter proposing UPFA member Kumara Welgama as the opposition leader.
This led to a heated argument with UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella saying the Speaker had already made his decision and it should not be challenged.
Weerawansa said that he was not challenging the appointment of Sampanthan but was questioning the statement made by the Speaker that the UPFA had not proposed anyone for the post of Speaker.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe then spoke saying the UPFA must raise its concerns over the letter sent to the Speaker with the President and not in Parliament.
Some members of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) yesterday raised concerns over attempts to make TNA the main opposition in Parliament.
Fourteen UPFA members including former President Mahinda Rajapakse now sit in the opposition benches opposing the National Government while the TNA has 16 seats.
The TNA this week claimed that R. Sampanthan must be recognized as the leader of the opposition in accordance with parliamentary practice and convention as they have now emerged as the largest political party in the opposition in Parliament, after the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and United National Party (UNP) decided to work together in the new parliament. (Colombo Gazette)