Decision on Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Karunanayake now rests with President Sirisena

Decision on Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Karunanayake now rests with President Sirisena

Colombo, August 9 ( It is now Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena who will decide whether his Foreign Minister, Ravi Karunanayake, should quit or not, over allegations of involvement in the 2015 Central Bank bond scam.

Karunanayake, who is being pressed to resign by front line leaders of both the major parties in the Sri Lankan coalition government, is to discuss the issue with  President Sirisena sometime on Wednesday.

Both Prime Minister and United National Party (UNP) chief, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and President Sirisena, who head the Sri Lanka Freedom Party-Sirisena (SLFP-S), want Karunanayake to quit before the No-Confidence Motion submitted by the Joint Opposition Group is taken up in parliament.

Sirisena had left the matter to Wickremesinghe to decide. He felt that the Prime Minister should take the lead in this matter because  Karunanayake is a UNP member’; the Prime Minister is the leader of the UNP; and finance and economy are handled by the UNP under the division of labor in the coalition government.

But the Prime Minister has been reticent.

However, Sirisena has told his party men that if the Prime Minister fails to take action, he would do so, using his executive powers.

Till the time of writing on Wednesday, the Prime Minister had not spoken to Karunanayake on the issue.

Presumably, it is in this context, that the meeting between the President and Karunanayake is scheduled for Wednesday.

The timing is crucial because all the parliamentary parties are to meet on Thursday to fix a date for a debate on the No Confidence Motion.

However  there are telltale signs of Karunanayake quitting soon. He did not attend the cabinet meeting held on Wednesday morning, and is not be going to Nepal for the BIMSTEC ministerial meeting scheduled to be held in Kathmandu on Thursday.

Meanwhile,  parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has sent the No Confidence Motion to the Attorney General for an opinion on its legality, and the Secretary General of parliament has said that it will take at least eight days for the debate on the motion to take place.

(The featured image at the top shows Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena)