Fielding MR as PM candidate among five issues discussed

SLFP CC to make final decision


by Dasun Edirisinghe

A crucial discussion between former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and incumbent Mathripala Sirisena yesterday on five issues including fielding former as the SLFP Prime Ministerial candidate at the forthcoming general election ended with both sides agreeing to refer them to the SLFP Central Committee for approval.

The discussion held at the President’s office in the Parliamentary Complex with the participation of several SLFP MPs assisting both parties had taken up the issue of dissolving local government bodies prior to the general election, contesting the next general election under the UPFA banner, nomination of candidates at the general election and putting an immediate end to political interference with investigations conducted by the police Financial Crimes Investigation Division, SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said.

Former President’s team has requested the President not to dissolve local government bodies.

A final decision on the issues discussed at yesterday’s meeting would be referred to the SLFP Central Committee scheduled to meet shortly, Yapa said. President Sirisena had stressed that the CC decision would be final and everyone would have to abide by it.

Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Agriculture and Irrigation Minister Duminda Dissanayake, Lands Minister M. K. A. D. S. Gunawardena and MP Faizer Mustapha attended  the meeting along with President Sirisena while former President Rajapaksa’s side comprised MPs Prof. G. L. Peiris, Kumara Welgama, Dullas Alahapperuma, Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Bandula Guanwardena.

SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva also participated in the discussion.

Former President Rajapaksa was welcomed by Serjeant-at-Arms Anil Parakrama Samarasekera and accompanied him to the President’s office.

Cordial and friendly atmosphere had prevailed throughout the meeting, sources said, describing the meeting as highly productive though it had ended without complete agreement on the issues discussed.

The meeting was originally scheduled to take place on April 25, but it was cancelled as former President Rajapaksa refused to meet President Sirisena due to alleged harassment of his supporters and family members.

Asked whether ex-President Chandrika Kumaratunga would scuttle the talks between former President Rajapaksa and President Sirisena, SLFP National Organiser Susil Premajayantha told the weekly press briefing yesterday that President Sirisena had clearly said at his May Day rally speech that no one could control him other than the people.

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