COLOMBO: With former president Mahinda Raja­pak­­sa who won the Feb 10 local government election managing to get the SLFP members to issue an 11th hour notice that they will quit the government if the coalition with the United National Party (UNP) continues, Sri Lan­kan President Maithripala Sirisena has requested the opinion of legal experts to replace Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The decision to replace the prime minister was taken after Sirisena called off a press conference scheduled to be held on Friday morning to announce the continuation of the coalition, after former president Rajapaksa and his opposition members agreed to support and SLFP-UPFA alliance government.

Rajapaksa had said that none of the members of his new party, the SLPP, would hold any ministerial positions but will support the SLFP government from outside.

According to reports, there had been pressure on Sirisena from his SLFP members throughout the week to appoint Rajapaksa as prime minister but sources said he had on principle declined, after his initial calls for a snap parliamentary elections was rejected.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2018