Minister Rajitha Senaratne

Parliament will not be dissolved until the 20th Amendment to the Constitution is passed, the government insisted today.

Speaking at the weekly Cabinet press briefing, Cabinet Spokesman, Minister Rajitha Senaratne emphasized this fact and also said neither the No-Confidence motion against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake nor the one against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will be taken up in Parliament before the 20th Amendment as the No-Confidence motions were not on Parliament’s Order Paper.

He also noted that the final draft of the 20th Amendment has not been finalized as of yet and it will be further discussed at a special Cabinet meeting due to be held on Friday (12) evening.

Senaratne claimed the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) was not interested in bringing in No-Confidence motions before the 20th Amendment and that it was some other Opposition parties that were trying to push the motions through. “People like Lasantha Alagiyawanna have publicly threatened to withdraw their signatures from the No-Confidence motion (against the Prime Minister). This was because they had been promised that the motion would not be brought in before the 20th Amendment.”

The minister also said all SLFP MPs who could be classed as being part of the pro-Mahinda Rajapaksa faction and who had earlier threatened to contest the next general election separately, had submitted applications to contest from the SLFP, including Hambantota District MP Namal Rajapaksa. However, he was unable to say whether Mahinda Rajapaksa has applied for nomination.

Senaratne further claimed President Sirisena was not opposed to giving nominations for the former president to contest, but only to making him the party’s prime ministerial candidate.