Clergy slam Ranil’s appointment

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The clergy vehemently opposed Ranil Wickremesinghe’s appointment as Premier of the Interim Government yesterday (12), claiming that it was another of the President’s autocratic decisions.

Speaking to the Media at Archbishop’s House, Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said Wickremesinghe’s appointment as Prime Minister was unacceptable and urged the President to reconsider. He said Wickremesinghe lacked a majority in Parliament as a sole MP. “He simply lacks a majority in Parliament, and his appointment is unconstitutional, and this is not the solution that the people desire at this time,” he added.

Cardinal Ranjith said the people want someone with integrity, not someone who has been defeated in politics and rejected by the people. They want someone who can gain their trust.

“The Mahanayake Theras suggested a non-partisan individual. It is anyone’s guess what happened to that suggestion. We would like to emphasise that in order to move forward from the current crisis with confidence into the future, we need a complete overhaul of this system. And that cannot happen through the leaders of the current parties in Parliament,” he said. He added that it can only happen with someone who is not partisan and who can gain the trust of all citizens in this country. “The Mahanayake Theras made that request to the President, and we expect the President to honour that request, as well as the voice of the clergy,” he said.

Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera said Wickremesinghe’s appointment as Premier was unconstitutional and unethical. Wickremesinghe, according to Sobhitha Thera, is unfit for the post of Prime Minister.

“The people ask for one thing, but are given something completely different. The Mahanayakes have issued clear instructions regarding the formation of a new administrative body. The appointment of Wickremesinghe would be viewed as a flagrant violation of the directive. The country is aware that Ranil Wickremesinghe is not a leader who has won the hearts of the people,” the Venerable Thera observed.

“He is a National List Parliamentarian and is not a leader who can realise the aspirations of the people,” the Ven. Thera said. Wickremesinghe is being appointed for personal reasons, and not because the people want him as their Premier, the Ven. Thera continued.

“This decision has been taken for the protection of the Rajapaksas,” he alleged, adding that persons would be given money to buy their allegiance to the Rajapaksas.

Condemning such actions, he urged the President to reverse his decision without taking temporary measures to overcome the problem.

“Appoint Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa as the Premier. He has already written to you in this regard,” Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera urged, calling for the President to abide by the Constitution.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne