Committed to original principle that coalition government should remain, says Sumanthiran

The Opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA), an amalgam of parties representing Sri Lanka’s northern Tamils, has expressed disappointment at the recent turn of events, terming it an “attack on the idea of a national government”.

Speaking to The Hindu on Saturday, TNA spokesman and Jaffna district parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran said: “The TNA’s position has always been that the coalition should remain for its full term and perhaps even beyond.”

His comment came a day after President Maithripala Sirisena withdrew his party’s support from government, and appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister, in place of Ranil Wickremesinghe. However, Mr. Wickremesinghe has claimed he has the majority in Parliament.

Asked how the TNA — which has 16 MPs — might vote in a likely a floor test in the 225-member House, Mr. Sumanthiran said, “We will act based on our principle that both parties should remain together, in order to solve the national issue. There is no change in that outlook.” Observing that a national [unity] government must continue for Sri Lanka’s 70-year-old “national question” to be settled, he said, “That is why we gave this coalition our support, even from the Opposition.”