Group of 16 feels Mahinda must be made PM – Dayasiri

By Ashanthi Warunasuriya

The split from the Government by 16 Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) members, including some Ministers, created ripples in the political arena.

Now known as the ‘Group of 16’, the former Government members are determined to see the exit of Ranil Wickremesinghe from the Prime Minister’s seat.

Group of 16 member and former Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera told The Sunday Leader online the SLFP members who recently left the Government would like to see former President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed as Prime Minister.

Excerpts of the interview:

Is it true that the ‘Group of 16’ have proposed that Mahinda Rajapaksa be appointed Prime Minister?

Our position is that Ranil Wickremesinghe must be ousted. There are no two words about that. We also feel if Mahinda Rajapaksa is made Prime Minister now most issues will be resolved and the country can move ahead. We can later see about the Presidential candidate at the next Presidential elections.

Has there been a discussion on former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa?

As far as I know we have not had such a discussion.

Will you continue to deal with President Maithripala Sirisena?

Yes of course. He is still the leader of our political party

Do you see a chance of Maithripala Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa working together?

They must unite and work together. We do not see any other alternative. There is still a lack of confidence between the two. Our role now is to build that confidence between them

Why did you find it difficult to work with the UNP in the unity Government?

We were able to work with the UNP. The issue was we could not work with Ranil Wickremesinghe

Do you feel disappointed with the political decisions yo had to take in the recent past?

I do not feel disappointed. In politics we are compelled to take some decisions from time to time. I feel the decision I took was correct.

So what will happen or must happen over the next one and a half years?

What must happen is that there needs to be a new Prime Minister. If not this country will continue to suffer