SLFP ministers to boycott Cabinet meeting today

Stormy CC meeting: SLFP ministers to boycott Cabinet meeting today

* Amaraweera, Duminda, CBK want unity govt. to continue

* Those seeking end to joint administration in majority

* Some MPs demand ouster of UPFA, SLFP General Secretaries

By Rathindra Kuruwita

The SLFP Central Committee, following a stormy session last night, resolved that all SLFP ministers boycott today’s Cabinet meeting. It, however, didn’t take a final decision on whether to remain in the unity government or not.

President Maithripala chaired the meeting at the President’s House, Colombo 01.

Minister Anura Priyadashana Yapa proposed that the SLFP leave the government with Minister S. B. Dissanayake seconding his proposal. Ministers Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene and Chandima Weerakkody also spoke in favour of the proposal.

However, Minister and UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera and Minister and SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake vehemently opposed the proposed move. Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga also stressed that the SLFP should remain in the unity government. Others started shouting.

The SLFP will have another Central Committee meeting tomorrow to have further discussions on whether to leave the government or not.

Sources described yesterday’s meeting as extremely volatile.

Six more SLFP MPs had joined the dissident SLFP ministers who voted last week for the motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Now, the SLFP MPs demanding that the party break ranks with the government were in the majority, sources said, denying Minister Dissanayake’s claim that he commanded the support of the majority of the SLFP MPs.

The UNP parliamentary group has demanded that all SLFP ministers who voted against the PM be sacked forthwith. Sources said the UNP ministers had planned to take on their SLFP counterparts at today’s Cabinet meeting.

Amidst the din, there had been a suggestion that Amaraweera and Dissanayake be removed as the UPFA and SLFP general secretaries respectively, sources said.

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