JVP to move trust vote against Sirisena, Ranil

‘We hold them responsible for attacks’

May 20, 2019 10:37 pm | Updated 10:59 pm IST - Colombo

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena.

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena.

Sri Lanka’s Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) will move a ‘no-confidence motion’ against President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Cabinet, according to the party’s legislators

The move, they said, was sparked by government’s “neglect” of prior warnings on the Easter attacks, and the “security lapse” that resulted in the loss of over 250 lives on April 21. The party’s parliamentary group will submit the motion to the Speaker on Tuesday.

“As per our parliamentary standing orders, we cannot move a no-confidence motion against the President. However, our trust vote will name him as the Minister of Defence, who is chiefly responsible for the country’s security. We are also holding the PM and the entire Cabinet responsible,” JVP’s Bimal Rathnayake told The Hindu .

The JVP has six MPs in the 225-member House. Though in Opposition, the party — along with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) — played a crucial role during the political crisis in late 2018, backing Mr. Wickremesinghe in Parliament, after Mr. Sirisena ousted him in a widely criticised move.

Alerts on Easter blasts

The JVP’s decision to challenge the government comes exactly a month after the Easter terror attacks. Both Mr. Sirisena and Mr. Wickremesinghe have said that they were not aware of the prior intelligence that the security establishment had received from sources, including India.

Political commentators have cited fissures within the government, especially between Mr. Sirisena and Mr. Wickremesinghe, as reason for the country’s failure to swiftly respond to prior warnings. The motion might be taken up for a vote in the House in about two weeks’ time, legislators said.

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