Tamil parties sign no confidence motion
[TamilNet, Thursday, 21 June 2001, 13:28 GMT]
Three Tamil parties in Sri Lanka’s Parliament signed the no confidence motion against the ruling People’s Alliance government in Sri Lanka Thursday. The Tamil United Liberation Front, the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation and the All Ceylon Tamil Congress which together have nine seats in the legislature. However, a spokesman for the radical Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna which has ten seats, and hence holds the key to the numbers manoeuvring in the Sri Lankan Parliament, said Thursday that it would announce its decision on Saturday.
Meanwhile, three MPs of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress attended the Parliamentary group meeting of the People’s Alliance, chaired by President Chandrika Kumaratunga Thursday afternoon. But even with the three SLMC MPs and the lone MP of the Sihala Urumaya, the Sinhala extremist party, who is expected to support the government to spite the Muslims, may not be enough for the PA to tilt the balance in the legislature in its favour if it does not secure the firm support of the JVP.
The leader of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), Mr. Selvam Adaikalanathan said that his party is supporting the no confidence motion on condition that the proscription of the Liberation Tigers should be lifted and peace talks with the LTTE should commence soon.
The TULF MP for Batticaloa Mr. Pon Selvarajah who was away in Batticaloa sent his signature on the no confidence motion by fax today party sources said.
The TELO has three MPs, the TULF five and the All Ceylon Tamil Congress one.
Government sources said that the co-leader of the SLMC Ms. Ferial Ashraff who resigned her portfolio Wednesday, might still be wooed back into the PA fold as the President did not accept her resignation.
An SLMC spokesman in Kalmunai charged that the three MPs who went for the PA Parliamentary group meeting today have been bribed by the government.
If the JVP does not unconditionally support the PA, the government would be short of the basic majority of 113 seats to survive the no confidence motion. A decision by the JVP to remain neutral would help the UNP push through the motion with a slim majority. The Sri Lankan Parliament has 225 seats.
Even if Ms. Ferial Ashraff decides to back the government along with the three SLMC MPs, the PA would still have only 111 seats, provided the Sinhala extremists throw their ‘weight’ behind President.