"Economy in shambles, law and order breakdown"- opposition

[TamilNet, Thursday, 16 August 2001, 19:58 GMT]
"The economy is in shambles. There is no law and order. The government has no majority in parliament. The government is not in a position to present the budget," said Dr.Karunasena Kodituwakku, Media Spokesman and parliamentarian of the United National Party (UNP), addressing opposition demonstrators at Kolonnawa, an outer suburb of Colombo, Thursday. The Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) demonstrated against President Kumaratunga's government Thursday in front of the island's central railway station in downtown Colombo, despite reports that the party might help her stay in power.

Meanwhile, opposition parties charged that Kumaratunga obtained undated resignations letters from the majority of Deputy Ministers to pre-empt desertion from the ranks of the ruling People's Alliance regime.

"Likewise, cabinet ministers and other ruling party parliamentarians are also getting ready to submit their undated resignation letters to President", the State radio reported in its Thursday night news bulletin, quoting political sources.

"The government is panicking now. Things are getting out of control. That is why they have to get undated letters of resignation from all their members in the government to pre-empt a total political collapse", said a UNP spokesman.

"We have submitted our undated resignation letters to President Chandrika to express our confidence on her," the state radio said, quoting unnamed ministers. "The Deputy Ministers Thursday evening met and expressed their wholehearted support to President's action to defeat the reactionary forces," the state run Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation added.

Amid speculation that the radical Marxists may help the PA keep its hold on power, Mr.Tilvin Silva, General Secretary of the JVP addressing demonstrators in downtown Colombo today said, "The government should take immediate steps to reconvene parliament and cancel the postponed referendum."

Meanwhile, the leader of the main opposition United National Party Thursday said that only two options are available for the People's Alliance government to solve the present political crisis. "One is to hand over the responsibility of governing the country to the opposition. The second is to resign and go," said Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, leader of the UNP said at the parliamentary group meeting Thursday held at parliamentary complex.

He warned UNP parliamentarians that President Chandrika could prorogue the parliament for another two months. "It would be illegal to postpone parliament after September 7", he said.

Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe challenged the government to re-summon parliament and to prove its majority by defeating the no-confidence motion.


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