"First priority is to obtain majority in parliament"- PM

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 06 April 2004, 10:40 GMT]
"My first priority is to secure a majority for my government in the parliament," said Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse soon after he assumed office as Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Tuesday morning. When he met the press after swearing in, he declined to reveal the details of which minority parties he is likely to woo to join the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) to obtain a majority in the parliament.

The United Peoples Freedom Alliance, which obtained 105 seats in the Friday poll, needs another eight seats to ensure a simple majority in the 225 member-parliament.

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) has nine seats but its leader has said that it would not support any major party to form a government.

JHU also said it would not accept the post of speaker, sources said.

Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse was to meet the Mahanayake Theras of Malwatte Chapter and Asgiriya Chapter later Tuesday to obtain their blessing for his government.

Sources close to Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse said that the new Prime Minister would use his influence when he meets Buddhist prelates in Kandy to obtain the support of the JHU to his government. The Maha Sangha considers Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse as a trusted political leader. All the nine parliamentarians of the JHU are Buddhist monks, sources said.

If the JHU decided to support the UPFA the problem of securing a simple majority for the UPFA government would be resolved. This was also one of the reasons for the President to reverse her earlier decision to appoint Mr.Lakshman Kadirgamar as the Prime Minister, political sources said

 

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