President to take on Premier - report

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 17 July 2002, 10:43 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s President Chandrika Kumaratunga has decided to take the battle to the administration of Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe before it moves to present an impeachment motion against her in Parliament next month, the Daily Mirror reported Wednesday, quoting sources close to the President. The government, meanwhile, is this week expected to publish a report into alleged financial malpractices by the President, weekend press reports said.

“The President has planned out her strategy to take the government head-on. She has got several measures cut and dry to hit back at the government,” the Daily Mirror quoted a source close to the President as saying.

The President has reportedly told the General Secretary of her People’s Alliance (PA) party, D. M. Jayaratne, and Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapakse to brief MPs on the developing crisis and tell them not to leave the country for the possible showdown in parliament next month.

Some opposition MPs now abroad are being told to return immediately while those planning to go abroad are under orders to cancel their visits, the Daily Mirror said.

Kumaratunga’s PA was swept from power by the United National Front (UNF) last December. Kumaratunga can however remain in office until 2005 despite the PA’s defeat as she was elected separately in 1999 to a six-year term.

The President is empowered to dismiss Parliamentary and call fresh election one year after the government assumes duties. The rivalry between Kumaratunga and Wickremesinghe heightened this month amid newspaper reports the UNF was planning to impeach the President.

The cabinet sub committee report on the Rs. 2.4 billion luxury vehicle purchase by President Kumaratunga is expected this week, The Sunday Leader reported.

“Evidence available so far implicates both President Kumaratunga and former treasury secretary P. B. Jayasundera of violating government regulations in making the luxury purchases,” the paper, considered close to the UNF administration, said.

According to information obtained by the PA the impeachment motion and some 30 other bills which the government hoped to present next month were now being finecombed by the Attorney General's department and there were some delays due to legal snags, the Daily Mirror reported.

The PA leadership had decided to amend its no-confidence motions against UNF ministers John Amaratunga and Ravi Karunanayake, the paper said. The draft motions which had run into several pages would be reduced to half page on the advice of Mr. Rajapakse.

 

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