In Digamadulla
UNP says not agreed to no-contest pact with SLMC

The SLFP and the JVP are now in the process of finalizing their nomination lists in the backdrop of speculation that the UNP is declining to contest Digamadulla district (Ampara) under the SLMC ‘Tree’ symbol, though talks between the two parties for a no- contest pact were continuing, political sources said.

However, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, MP, refuted the claims that the UNP had agreed to a no-contest pact to allow the SLMC to contest the Digamadulla District under the ‘Tree’ symbol.

He said that the UNP was agreeable for an Alliance with the SLMC to contest all three districts only under the ‘Elephant’ symbol and that matters would be sorted out once UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe returned from a private visit to India tomorrow.

The General secretary of the United Peoples Freedom alliance (UPFA), Minister Susil Premajayantha said that the nomination committee of the SLFP met last Thursday night to finalize the nomination list, whilst the constituent parties of the Alliance Government -- the MEP, CP, LSSP, JHU, NUA etc. were also adding to finishing touches to their lists.

The UPFA nomination committee comprising of SLFP General Secretary and Minister Maithripala Sirisena, Leader of House Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, senior advisor to the President (MP) Basil Rajapaksa will sit today to finalize the list of 44 candidates .

The Administrative Secretary of the SLFP S. H. Ariyasena said the party nomination committee chaired by senior vice President and minister John Seneviratne and comprising senior vice President and Governor Alavi Mowlana, Assistant General secretary and Minister C. B. Ratnayake,Chief Minister of the Central Province Sarath Ekanayake and Deputy Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage finalised the list late on Thursday night.

The leader of the Peoples Liberation Front (JVP) Somawansa Amerasinghe said that the party would submit a list comprising of candidates from the three main ethnicities in the East, namely Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese .

The nomination lists are being finalized by a committee chaired by Amerasinghe and comprise General secretary Tilvin Silva and senior politburo members Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Vijitha Herath, Lal Kantha and G.Kularatne .

Amerasinghe said that the party has launched its election campaign in the three districts of the Eastern Province under the slogan ‘Vote for the JVP to defeat separatism and halt foreign interference’.

He said that electoral committees had been formed at village-level and pocket meetings would be held at local and district level.

UNP sources said that until party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who chairs the UNP Nomination Board returns, the committee members comprising chairman Rukman Senanayake, General secretary Tissa Attanayake, chief opposition whip Joseph Michel Perera, Deputy Chairman (Legal) Daya Pelpola, vice Chairman Shibly Aziz, PC. will sit to short-list the 44 candidates by April 1.

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