The Joint Opposition (JO) is planning to give up the fight for the post of Opposition Leader. Speaking to media after an event held in Negombo on 15 August, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said even if the JO becomes independent in the parliament, it will not get the post of Opposition Leader.
“I am confident that even if we become an independent party, they will not accept it since we were elected to the parliament in the first place through another party. Therefore we will not be able to get it. At the request of our fellow parliamentarians, we appointed a committee to get a report on this. We do not have high hopes. Even if we become independent, we will not succeed.”
Since the former President has an in-depth understanding of the parliament’s culture and standing orders, he is well aware of the fact that the JO will not get the post of Opposition Leader. In a context where becoming independent may cost the JO members their MP posts, the JO is planning to gradually give up the dialogue about the post of Opposition Leader. In order to create a suitable environment for that, Mahinda Rajapksa has openly expressed his position.
Meanwhile, General Secretary of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Mahinda Amaraweera asks the members of the JO to make individual requests, should they wish to become independent. He further said that their requests can be considered if they make individual requests.
Recently the General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Rohana Lakshman Piayadasa stressed that the JO must send their requests to the Speaker of Parliament if they wish to become independent in the parliament.
He went on to state that the members of the JO, including Mahinda Rajapaksa, cannot arbitrarily become independent since they have been elected to the parliament through the UPFA, and if they attempt to become independent, the SLFP working committee will appoint new councillors without disciplinary actions.
They now have decided to give up the fight over the post of Opposition Leader. Their fight was nothing more than a drama orchestrated to conceal internal conflicts of the JO and scam and corruption allegations against Rajapaksas.