Aug 05, Colombo: General Secretary to the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Minister Mahinda Amaraweera says, the request made by some party members to appoint UPFA parliamentarian Dinesh Gunawardena as the Opposition Leader of the Sri Lanka parliament will be discussed with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the main party of UPFA.
He said the Opposition Leader's post will be discussed with the SLFP and the Speaker will be notified of the decision tomorrow.
A letter signed by eight UPFA Members of Parliament requesting the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament post to be given to UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena has been submitted to the Speaker on 30th July.
The letter claims that 70 members in parliament are representing the UPFA and therefore the Opposition Leader should be given to the UPFA parliamentarian.
Since all those signed the request are UPFA members, the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has decided to seek the opinion of the UPFA.
UPFA General Secretary however said he has not received any request from any party requesting the post of Opposition Leader.
Meanwhile, the Leader of the House, Minister Lakshman Kiriella says that according to parliamentary tradition the post of opposition leader can never be given to the joint opposition since the joint opposition is not a recognized political party represented in parliament, but a political faction.
The Minister pointed out that five political parties which contested the general election are represented in the parliament and joint opposition does not belong to those five political parties. Joint Opposition members have contested under the UPFA at the General election.
Minister Kiriella said that demand of Opposition Leader post by the joint opposition which works as a clique of the UPFA leaders is against the parliamentary traditions and cannot be justified.
According to the Constitution, the Leader of the Opposition should be given to the party with the highest number of seats and not part of the government.
Since the UNP and UPFA both are part of the government, the party with the third highest number of seats in parliament is the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), leader of which R. Sampanthan is currently holding the post.