Sri Lankan PM vows to continue unity government

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Colombo, Feb 16 (IANS) Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday said that the unity government between the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) would continue even after its defeat in the local body elections.

Wickremesinghe, who is also the leader of the UNP, said he would continue as Prime Minister, and he saw no reason why the unity government, between the UNP and President Maithripala Sirisena’s SLFP should break up, Xinhua news agency reported.

“As far as I am concerned, I am continuing as the Prime Minister. Under the Sri Lankan Constitution, I see no reason why I should not. These are all coalition politics. Working together is not very easy. Let’s see what happens,” he said.

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Wickremesinghe said despite suffering a defeat at the recently-concluded local government elections, he would accept the results as a “warning from the voters” and would take steps to immediately rectify the government’s course and learn from the mistakes.

He also dismissed reports that there were increasing calls from his own party to tender his resignation, although he said some party members felt a new UNP government should be formed along with its alliance partners.

The Prime Minister also ensured that a corruption probe against the former regime would continue and new courts would be established to expedite these cases, and admitted that a delay in taking action against those involved in corruption had refrained voters from voting for the UNP.

He said his own party, the UNP would undergo a major restructuring process and a new party leader would soon be elected.

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Sri Lanka has been facing days of political unrest following the government’s defeat in last week’s local government elections.

–IANS

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