Uproar over call to name MR UPFA’s PM candidate


By Shamindra Ferdinando

The SLFP is heading for a major crisis with some UPFA constituents demanding that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa be named their prime ministerial candidate immediately.

A spokesperson for Western Provincial Councillor Udaya Gammanpila’s Pivithuru Hela Urumaya yesterday said that UPFA constituents, namely MP Dinesh Gunawardena’s MEP, MP Wimal Weerawansa’s National Freedom Front (NFF) and Vasudeva Nanayakkara’s Democratic Left Front (DLF) would push for Mahinda Rajapaksa’s return.

The spokesman said that the grouping would brief the media today (Feb.9) at the National Library and Documentation Services Board regarding their plans.

Gunawardena, Weerawansa and Nanayakkara refrained from voting for the UNP-led government’s mini-budget on Saturday.

Authoritative SLFP sources told The Island that they were in touch with the UPFA constituents. Responding to a query, sources said that the vast majority of SLFP parliamentary group was opposed to any course of action that would jeopardise its forthcoming parliamentary polls campaign.

A UPFA MP told The Island that move was inimical to the SLFP’s interests. It could split the party, the MP said, while expressing confidence that the majority was ready to work with President Maithripala Sirisena.

LSSP General Secretary Prof. Tissa Vitharana told The Island that his outfit was committed to an alliance under the new SLFP leadership. Prof. Vitharana strongly opposed moves to form a new alliance under the former president’s leadership to contest the forthcoming parliamentary poll.

Premier Wickremesinghe recently declared that the general election would be held in June this year after having dissolved parliament soon after April 23.

Political sources said that Vasudeva’s move appeared to have caused a split in the Socialist Alliance (SA) comprising the CP, LSSP and DLF.


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