Colombo, June 10 (DailyMirror) – SLPP Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa will resign from his parliamentary seat today and will likely pave way for business tycoon Dhammika Perera or Colombo District SLPP Organiser Renuka Perera to be appointed through his national list seat, the Daily Mirror learns.
Basil Rajapaksa who was the former finance minister and a citizen of the USA, had for weeks been attempting to save his political career by preventing the 21st amendment from being presented to the cabinet as it includes a clause stating no dual citizenship holder can hold a parliamentary seat or contest a future election.
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Basil’s party, the SLPP had in fact been split in batting for him, with one group saying he must go after the 21st amendment is passed, while the other stating that the 21st amendment would be supported only if this clause is removed.
But as all other parties have agreed that the clause will remain, and they will support the new amendment, Basil has finally conceded defeat and will resign as an MP today.
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Party seniors, however, said that he will continue to be active in party politics and will now begin a campaign to gain back the lost popularity for the SLPP in the districts. “He will continue his politics outside Parliament,” party loyalists said.
He has called for a media briefing this morning and will formally announce his resignation. But his party loyalists will not stop with Basil’s resignation.
The Daily Mirror learns that his party MPS will now campaign for a new clause. If the dual citizenship clause is being included, they will now call for PR holders of any other country also to step down from their parliamentary seat. They will now insist for this clause to be added in the 21st amendment as well and if it comes into effect, will see a number of MPS having to resign.
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At last Monday’s cabinet meeting, SLPP Ministers present also got into a verbal spat with the Prime Minister and NON-SLPP ministers. They were insisting that in the 21st amendment, the President must continue to hold the power to sack his Prime Minister and appoint any other MP and the President must also hold the power to appoint the cabinet of ministers. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe however had said these powers should now be with Parliament and the reason for the 21st amendment was to reduce the powers of the executive.
The NON-SLPP ministers had also supported this. Meanwhile, with Basil’s resignation today either business tycoon Dhammika Perera or SLPP member Renuka Perera is likely to be sworn in within this week, to fill the vacant national list seat. (Jamila Husain)
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