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Lanka parliament Speaker rejects plea to recognise Rajapaksa-backed group as main Opposition

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

today rejected a plea by the loyalists of former Rajapaksa to recognise their group as the main Opposition, replacing the (TNA) led by

In a written request to the Speaker, eight members of parliament of the Rajapaksha-backed "Joint Opposition" sought recognition of their group as the largest single opposition in parliament and appoint as the of the Opposition.

The Rajapaksa loyalists argued that they have the support of 70 MPs as opposed to TNA, which has only 16 legislators.

However, the countered the argument saying that Rajapaksa and his group had been elected to parliament as members of the (UPFA). The UPFA, whose is Maithripala Sirisena, also acts as part of the unity government in the island nation.

I have to inform the House that in terms of the constitution and standing orders I have no power to change the of the opposition, Jayasuriya said.

He further said there was no ground for the Joint Opposition to claim the leader of the opposition position while remaining in a party that was a constituent on the government.

The Rajapaksa group charged that Jayasuriya was denying their group the due democratic recognition.

The 2015 saw undergo a split with loyalists of the Sirisena faction, Freedom Party (SLFP), forming a coalition government with the

The coalition led to a great degree of discontent amongst many members who went on to form the Joint Opposition alongside other parties from the

The Rajapaksa group has now formed their own party, (SLPP), which won the February's local election. Since the election victory, more members of the have joined them bolstering their number.

Sirisena's faction is now left with just 26 members.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, August 10 2018. 13:35 IST