|PA rebels re-thinking need for a new party
PA rebels who played a key role in the December 5 parliamentary election victory of the UNP led United National Front (UNF) are apparently having second thoughts in registering their group styled as Sri Lanka Nidahas Deshapremi Peramuna as a political party ahead of the forthcoming local government. Soon after they crossed over in October last year, they implied that they would be registering with the Elections Commissioner after the parliamentary elections.
"I dont think its really necessary to register our front as a political party," its National Organiser Mahinda Wijesekara said yesterday while expressing the belief they could operate within the UNP led United National Front [UNF] government without being a separate political party. Fisheries and Ocean Resources Minister Wijesekara who is also the Southern Regional Development deputy minister was optimistic that they would be able to continue as it is and contest the forthcoming local government elections and any future elections on the UNP ticket.
The rebels reached a MoU with the UNP before the elections. Of all the constituent parties, they have been given the best deal with four being appointed ministers and one entering parliament on the national list.
"We have excellent relations with the UNP leadership," Wijesekera said while expressing satisfaction they have been able to achieve a lot during a short period. The minister said that more PA members have indicated their desire to join them. "We are in the process of taking more PA supporters," he said while claiming that the PA would never be able to recover from their crushing December 5 loss.
Minister and government spokesman Prof. G.L.Peiris is the chairman of the rebels front while Minister S.B.Dissanayake is the general secretary. Minister Bandula Gunawardene is the Treasurer. MP Jayasundera Wijekoon is a senior vice president. Some of the front members include ex-minister Nandimitra Ekanayake and ex-deputy minister Ediriweera Premaratne who lost their seat on Dec. 5.
Wijesekera expressed confidence that all constituent parties of the UNF would contest the forthcoming local government elections on UNP ticket.
Responding to questions, UNP spokesman Karunasena Kodituwakku said that constituent parties would contest the elections on UNP ticket. The UNF comprises the SLMC, the CWC, the Upcountry Peoples Front and Sri Lanka Nidahas Deshapremi Peramuna.
Political sources said that the SLMC was likely to contest Ampara, Batticaloa and Jaffna districts on its own as they did at the last parliamentary elections.
Meanwhile, the TULF led Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is also likely to contest north-east districts and probably Colombo on the TULF ticket. At the parliamentary elections, they secured 15 seats in the north east.
Political sources said that there was no truth in speculation that the PA and the JVP were exploring the possibility of fielding candidates on common lists. The JVP will go it alone, senior party sources said.
Mrs. Ferial Ashraffs NUA too would continue to place their candidates on PA ticket, sources said. (SF)
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