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Chief minister of Sri Lankan province resigns

A provincial chief minister of the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance has resigned.

Gulf News

A provincial chief minister of the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance has resigned.

This marked the first major setback for the government after the coalition partners withdrew their support last week.

Chief Minister of the Western Province Reginald Cooray tendered his resignation ahead of a proposed no-confidence motion by the main opposition United National Party (UNP) due to be backed by the Marxists JVP People's Liberation Front. The motion was set to be debated yesterday.

The proposed no-confidence motion was initiated before the crisis in the UPFA, but the UNP had not changed its position of taking it up for debate yesterday, despite its party offering support not to defeat the ruling party in parliament.

The JVP had vowed to back the no-confidence motion which would have forced Cooray to step down.

The chief minister who stepped down had been accused of corruption and abuse of power.

The decision by the JVP to support the no-confidence motion taken two months back was seen as the first signal that the UPFA coalition was heading to a crisis.

The JVP on June 16 withdrew its support from the government, both at parliament level and at provincial level.

In parliament, the main opposition United National Party (UNP) has indicated that it would not act to overthrow the UPFA government, but at provincial level the ruling party was in a shaky position after losing its majority in the councils.

All seven provincial councils are currently controlled by the UPFA, despite not having a clear majority to control the administration. The pullout of the JVP has made the UPFA a minority in all the councils.

The UPFA administration in the councils could collapse in the event of a no-confidence motion by the UNP or the JVP and it gains the votes of the opposition parties.

The provincial councils are considered the stepping stone to parliament and plays a significant role administrating the provinces. Many of the currently serving parliamentarians have been earlier serving as provincial council members.