Top Nidahas Janatha Sandha-naya spokesman Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday (17) said that having put off the Local Government polls indefinitely, the government was trying to divert public attention by planting stories about an early presidential elections.
Addressing the media at Nawala, the former External Affairs Minister stressed that in terms of the Constitution Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had been elected by Parliament to complete the remainder of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s five-year term, couldn’t call early presidential poll.
Therefore the next presidential election would have to be conducted between Sept. 18 and Oct 18, 2024, the academic said, adding that nominations would have to be called in August next year.Instead of propagating lies, the government should reach a consensus with the Election regarding twice postponed Local Government polls, SLPP National List MP Prof. Peiris said, urging the government to face the Opposition challenge.
In case the incumbent President wanted to go for early election before completing his predecessor’s term, he would have to introduce an amendment to the Constitution and have it passed with a 2/3 majority. A referendum was not required, the former minister said.
Commenting on the government’s call for a vote on Sri Lanka’s agreement with the IMF, Prof. Peiris said that the group of MPs representing Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya wouldn’t back the IMF bailout package.
That agreement was not acceptable to them therefore the government should not expect their support, Prof. Peiris said.
Prof. Peiris reiterated their concerns pertaining to the restructuring of the domestic debt in line with the IMF agreement, the failure on the part of the government to have in place what he called a social security safety net and the move to privatize profit-making state-run enterprises in the guise of public sector reforms.The former Minister accused the President of pursuing an agenda that suited him but at the expense of the country. (SF)
Courtesy The Island
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