PM focus on development agenda

A jubilant Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing UNP Parliamentarians and party men at Sirikotha said that it was an opportune time to refocus on the country’s development agenda whilst restructuring the UNP so that it would be a formidable party ahead of the next elections.“I am grateful to everyone who has shown so much support,” he told reporters at a celebratory breakfast at the UNP Headquarters.“It is now time for us to put the country first and accelerate the development work.”

He also spoke on the UNP’s reforms adding that restructuring the party would give it a strategic advantage ahead of the 2020 elections. In a rare show of appreciation, the Prime Minister personally spoke to patrons and sincerely thanked them for their unstinted support to defeat the no-confidence motion.The Premier on Wednesday survived a No Confidence vote in Parliament after a majority of legislators numbering 122 voted to support his coalition government.

The trust vote was sponsored by the joint opposition over the premier’s failure to thwart the alleged bond issue and arrest anti-muslim riots which took place last month in Digana and Teldeniya. The Prime Minister comfortably secured the support of 122 members of the 225-member Parliament, with only 76 voting against him. His supporters included the minority parties, the Tamil National Alliance and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress.

Meanwhile, President Maithripala Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) was split over the vote, with nearly 26 legislators, many from the SLFP, absent at the eleventh hour.