By Our Political Correspondent
July 31 (NIA) – Sri Lanka’s ‘Joint Opposition’, who are staunch supporters of former President Mahinda Rajapakse, on Sunday said it would topple President Maithripala Sirisena’s government in the coming months and form a new regime under the former president.
Joint Opposition parliamentarian Udaya Gammanpila told NewsIn.Asia that a procession by the Joint Opposition which had begun from Kandy, in Sri Lanka’s Central District on July 28 had received ‘tremendous support’ from the public and thousands had already joined the procession which will conclude in capital Colombo this week.
“We are overwhelmed by the support we have received from the public. Despite the many hindrances caused by the government to stop this procession, we are going to go ahead and make sure we gain a majority in parliament soon,” Gammanpila said.
The parliamentarian further said that certain members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) who are part of the existing coalition government had also shown their support to the Joint Opposition and had informed their supporters to join the procession.
“These members are ministers in the present government. They had informed Mahinda Rajapakse that they too would join the procession from the Peliyagoda Bridge but he has advised them not to do so and show their support during the budget so that the government can be defeated.”
However despite the Opposition’s confidence in toppling the government, President Sirisena, on Saturday also expressed confidence in continuing his coalition government for the coming five years.
In a statement, Sirisena said that the two main political parties, the United National Party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party had in a meeting two weeks ago, decided to work together for the coming five years reversing an earlier decision of working together only for two years.
He further said that any street processions could not shake or topple the government and his regime was committed in fulfilling the mandate given to the people.
Mahinda Rajapakse was defeated by Maithripala Sirisena, who is now the SLFP leader, in a presidential election in January last year, ending his 10 year term in power.
Rajapakse then contested a parliamentary election in August, in an aim to become the country’s new Prime Minister but was defeated by the United National Party which is headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Rajapakse now sits in the opposition benches in parliament.
Sirisena and Wickremesinghe created a new political culture in the island country last year by forming a national government by merging the SLFP and UNP and vowing to work together with an aim to develop the country into a transitional hub in the Indian Ocean region.