(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Ending the week long tense political standoff following the Local Government elections, the Unity Government of the UNP and SLFP combine decided to continue with their agreement to govern in unison, yesterday.
The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Parliamentary Group which met President Maithripala Sirisena last afternoon decided to go ahead with the Unity Government. Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara speaking to the Daily News yesterday said the UPFA had initially asked to withdraw from the coalition, but during the meeting with the President, they had decided to continue with the alliance and work for reforms from within.
Meanwhile, following the meeting, Minister S. B. Dissanayake told reporters outside the Presidential Secretariat that the SLFP will not leave the government but will work for changes. “We will remain in government to strengthen President Maithripala Sirisena,” Dissanayake said. The President at yesterday’s meeting had reportedly stressed on the importance of continuing with the Unity Government while introducing necessary reforms. Meanwhile, at a discussion at the President’s residence in Colombo on Sunday night, President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe are said to have agreed to complete reforms in the government within a short period of time.
Informed political sources said Speaker Karu Jayasuriya who too was present during Sunday’s meeting was instrumental in ironing out differences between the President and the Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, last Friday Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told journalists that his party’s position was that the Unity Government should go on.
The Premier said that coalition politics was complex and differences may arise from time to time but the important thing was to forge ahead while finding viable solutions to such issues.
Over the past week, a political crisis had been brewing within the government as the two main parties were undecided whether to work together or go it alone.
The crisis eventually spilled into Parliament where the Speaker granted a three hour debate yesterday to resolve the issue.