S.L govt. faces collapse as more desert

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 10 October 2001, 06:19 GMT]
The Peopleís Alliance regime was plunged into crisis as eight government MPs crossed over to the opposition in the Sri Lankan parliament Wednesday morning. The government may not have the required number of votes to defeat the no confidence motion against it by the opposition Thursday, sources said. The government members who crossed over today are: former cabinet ministers Prof. G.L Pieris, Mr. Mahinda Wijesekera and S. B Dissanayaka and Wijepala Mendis, Ananda Munasingha, Ediriweera Premaratna, Jeyasundara Wijekon and Bandula Nanayakkara. The desertion has reduced the PA-JVP alliance to 111 in the 225 member Parliament. A ruling party MP crossed over Tuesday.

The PA dissidents held a press conference Wednesday morning to announce the cross over in the Parliament complex.

Meanwhile President Chandrika Kumaratunge Tuesday evening met parliamentarian Bandula Gunawardene who crossed over to the opposition, and asked him to abstain from voting on the no-confidence motion, ruling party sources said. The meeting took place amidst assurance by the Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake to government parliamentarians Tuesday night that all steps have been taken to defeat the motion on Thursday.

Mr.Bandula Gunawardene said, after the meeting with the President, that he would continue to be in the opposition and would decide whether to vote for or against the no-confidence motion when it is put to vote.

PA's parliamentary group met Tuesday night at President's Residence and discussed in detail several measures to be taken to prevent more cross overs to opposition during no-confidence motion debate, ruling party sources said.

Mr.Alavi Moulana, Deputy Minister for Media said, "the government would defeat the no-confidence motion even if some ruling party MPs crossed over to the opposition. The ruling alliance has some alternative plans to thwart UNP's attempt to overthrow the government".

 

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