With the Opposition Leader saying he is open for discussions with the government on national issues, President Irfaan Ali believes the Opposition needs to first recognise the government and the President as legitimate before any such discussions could begin.
“You have to be able to accept that I am the person you want to work with, so there are a number of things going on and if you look at some of the statements that the opposition is making. And the Opposition Leader is saying he doesn’t recognise the government, well you can’t speak to someone you don’t recognise”, the President said during an interview at his office.
During a recent press conference, Opposition Leader Joe Harmon said he remains open to discussions with the new government and the fact that the coalition sees the government as illegitimate should not stand in the way of discussions on national and other important issues.
But according to President Ali, while he remains open to meeting and having discussions with anyone, the Opposition must get it right when it comes to the legality of the Government and his Presidency.
“If you are coming to talk to me and you are telling me that you don’t recognise me then what are you coming to tell me? That you don’t recognise me? You can’t have serious discussion with me if you don’t recognise me because you are speaking to someone you don’t recognise. So he has to get it right and I hope he gets it right soon”, the President said.
The President’s position mirror the position of his Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo who also said recently that the Opposition cannot want discussions with a government it sees as illegal.
The Opposition has reminded that just after the 2015 elections, although the PPP did not see the coalition government as legal, the then President still had almost regular discussions with the Opposition Leader at the time on many national issues.
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