"PA can still form the Govt." D.M. Jayaratne

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 10 July 2001, 17:49 GMT]
"As the single largest party in Parliament, the People's Alliance (PA) can be invited to form the Government again even if it is defeated in the no-confidence motion," said D.M. Jayaratne, the General Secretary of the PA.

Mr.Jayaratne, who is also a minister in the PA Government., added that the President is not in favour of the UNP and the PA joining to form a national government to the exclusion of parties representing minorities.

Although seven of the eleven MPs of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) are in the opposition benches, according to the minister, legally they are still in the ruling party alliance since the SLMC contested the last general election under the PA symbol (Chair).

"The Commissioner of Elections had recognised the SLMC as a constituent party of the PA. The SLMC will be invited to a meeting of the leaders of PA's constituent parties, scheduled to be held on Tuesday," Mr.Jayaratne said.

Mr.Jayaratne's assertions have fuelled speculation that the PA high command is considering disciplinary steps to expel the rebel MPs of the SLMC and to appoint new MPs to succeed them, political sources said.

The ruling PA came to power by cobbling together a shaky coalition of 116 MPs in Parliament, which has 225 seats. Eleven of the 116 MPs are from the SLMC.

The composition of the opposition in Parliament is as follows: the UNP (including the speaker) - 89 seats, JVP -10, Tamil United Liberation Front -5, Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation - 3, All Ceylon Tamil Congress- 1, and Sihala Urumaya-1.


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