Sri Lanka's Opposition, backing ex- president Mahinda Rajapaksa, today vowed "non-cooperation" with the government as their attempt to bring no-confidence motions against the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister in the parliament was disallowed. "We will practice the policy of non-cooperation," Dinesh Gunawardena, a Rajapaksa supporter and leader of Mahajana Eksath Peramuna told reporters. Gunawardena said Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella did not consent to two no-confidence motions against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake to be taken up during the third week of this month. "Party leaders met today to discuss business for the third week. We asked the two motions be debated.
The government refused," he said. "They said a date can be given only in July," he said. The Rajapaksa supporters charge that Wickremesinghe and Karunanayake mismanaged the economy, causing massive losses, over the Central Bank's sovereign bond issue in late February. The bond scandal involved the firm of Central Bank chief's son-in-law. It was alleged that the company had benefited from inside information on the bank's decision to sell 10 billion rupees (USD 76 million) worth of bonds. The two motions also deals with other matters surrounding Wickremesinghe, and accuses him and his United National Party (UNP) of political high-handedness. Although the official Opposition Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is headed by President Maithripala Sirisena, a majority of them have joined the Rajapaksa camp. They want Sirisena to sack Wickremesinghe, who is a minority Prime Minister. Wickremesinghe's UNP wants Sirisena to dissolve the parliament and call for fresh parliamentary polls as promised in his manifesto during the January presidential polls. Sirisena hasn't fulfilled his pledge to dissolve parliament by April 23, insisting that first constitutional and electoral reforms must be implemented.