MR named opposition leader, Kiriella leader of the house

Dec 18, 2018 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Speaker of parliament Karu Jayasuriya named Mahinda Rajapaksa the Leader of the Opposition, Tuesday when the house convened.

The Speaker said the United People’s Freedom Alliance was now the largest opposition party as it was no longer in the ruling coalition.

Lakshman Kiriella was appointed as the leader of the house while Gayantha Karunathilaka was named as the Chief Government Whip with Mahinda Amraweera appointed as the Chief Opposition Whip.

TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, however raised objections on Rajapaksa being appointed to the post of  Opposition leader citing a number of reasons.

Kiriella and SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem also opposed the appointment on grounds of the validity of parliamentary seats of MPs who joined the SLPP.

UPFA Members Chandima Weerakody, Susil Premajayantha, Udaya Gammanpila, and Dinesh Gunawardene made arguments opposing these views.

Meanwhile, MPs Lakshman Seneviratne, Indika Bandaranayake, Wijith Wijayamuni Zoysa, and Piyasena Gamage crossed over and assumed seats on the Government side.

Udaya Gammanpila said there were precedents with Chandrika Kumaratunga and on two other occasions the leader of the opposition being from the President’s party.

Kiriella responded and said President Kumaratunga did not hold a cabinet portfolio.