Two nominations for Opposition Leader | Sunday Observer

Two nominations for Opposition Leader

24 November, 2019

The appointment of the Opposition Leader is not governed by the Constitution or Standing Orders in Parliament, former Minister and UNP parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratna said.

“Therefore, it will be done based on tradition and precedent, in accordance with internationally accepted principles,” he added.

The UNP leadership crisis has widened with the election defeat and two separate nominations for the position of Opposition Leader had reached Speaker Karu Jayasuriya last week. He had reportedly said the rift within the party must be settled internally. The UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam has nominated Ranil Wickremesinghe for the post while a letter signed by 40 UNP MPs urged the Speaker to appoint Sajith Premadasa as the Opposition Leader. The seat fell vacant with the swearing-in of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister.

Wickremaratne said, “The largest party represented in Parliament which is the UNP has the right to nominate the Leader of the Opposition.”

He said, the internationally accepted norm would be for the Speaker to ensure the nominated individual has the support of the opposition group but no one can dictate to the Speaker how it should be done, it will be his prerogative.

In an instance of a division the Speaker might ask the group to call for a vote within the group and resolve the matter.

“I have full confidence that the Speaker will make the right decision after considering all these factors including, some of the precedents both in the Sri Lankan Parliament, as well as other democratic parliaments,” he said.