I reappointed Ranil as PM because I respect Parliamentary traditions- Prez

Published : 9:10 am  December 17, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 

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Impulse-1-1President Maithripala Sirisena, in his address after swearing in Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe as the new premier, said that he had decided to reappoint UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister only because he respected parliamentary traditions. 

 

 Otherwise, he said he still remained firm in his stance that Mr. Wickremesinghe should not be given the premiership again even if all 225 MPs voted in favour of him.  
“Yet, I respect parliamentary traditions. I see this as upholding the moral character of a democracy,” he said.   


“One could question as to why I reappointed him as the Prime Minister despite my pronouncement that he would not be given back the post come what may. I will be slandered in the social media. Yet, it is my firm political conviction that compelled me to say that I would not reappoint him even if 225 MPs wanted this to happen. In Parliament, 117 MPs voted for a motion calling for his reappointment. There is no such provision in the Constitution to call for the President to do so. Nobody can dictate to the President to appoint anyone as the Prime Minister. Even the judiciary cannot do it. It is at the sole discretion of the Executive President.”  
In reference to threats by some that he would be dragged like Mohammed Gaddafi of Libya and killed, the President said he survived five assassination attempts on him. “Anybody can drag me like Gaddafi and kill me. I don’t mind it. I don’t order the Army or the Special Task Force to shoot such persons. Let them lay siege to my home! I will throw open the gate for them. I will ask the military and the STF people to leave. Then, I will ask them to come and kill me. That is what I have to tell all these NGO men and the MPs who made such threats,” he said.   


He said the MPs and the NGO representatives made such threats because he was quiet all this time. He said no other President had received such threats in the past.   


Referring to the gazette notification on dissolution of Parliament, he said he had signed it after consulting legal luminaries with pure intentions. Otherwise, he said he never intended to violate the Constitution.   
“There was a serious crisis in the country. The best option is to go for a general election. Only 122 MPs signed against it. Yet, there are 1.5 million people. I want them to decide on the situation. More than these 112 MPs, I believe sovereignty lies with 1.5 million voters of this country. The truth will prevail. Though the judiciary gave a ruling, I knew what my intention was. I don’t mind being subjected to any punishment,” he said.  


He said he, as the President, was opposed to harassment meted out to the Buddhist clergy during the last four years over allegations of keeping elephants to be used for religious activities such as Peraheras.  
“Bhikkhus were jailed. As a result, we lost the support of the entire Maha Sangha,” he said.   

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