Presidential election victors regroup for parliamentary polls

* UNP Convention endorses formation of United National Front for Good Governance
* Comprises section of SLFP, JHU, SLMC, left parties, civil society and clergy
* Gas price reduced, relief for three-wheeler drivers, FCIU to be strengthened

by Zacki Jabbar

A majority of the parties and organizations that propelled Maithripala Sirisena to the Presidency, have regrouped under a common banner to contest the August 17 general election.

The formation of an alliance named United National Front for Good Governance(UNFGG), which  comprises a section of the SLFP, the JHU, SLMC, some Tamil and left parties, civil society organizations and leading members of the clergy was approved by a special convention of the UNP held at Campbell Park, Borella yesterday.

Leader of the UNP and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing  the convention said that the UNFGG would contest under the Elephant symbol.

Formation of the UNFGG, he noted, would thwart attempts by corrupt and criminal elements who were rejected by the people on January 8 trying to reverse the path of good governance and rule of law which had been re-established by the current National Government.

Pledging to develop the country, eliminate corruption and provide more relief to the people once a UNFGG government was installed in power on August 17, which Wickremesinghe said was a foregone conclusion, he announced that the Financial Crimes Investigation Unit(FCIU) would be made law so that the ongoing investigations into the massive pilferage of state funds under the Rajapaksa regime could continue unhindered. 

"Our peoples program would include the creation of one million jobs, 48 economic zones and development of the health and education sectors. The University Grants Commission would be abolished and a University Development Board established. We will also provide one million rupees plus Rs.25,000 for funeral expenses to immediate family members  in case of the death of a  three wheel taxi driver, " the Prime Minister said.

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanyake revealed that the price of 12.5 kilogram domestic LP gas would be reduced by Rs 100 with effect from July 15.

From Wednesday Lak Sathosa outlets would also sell a kilogram of rice (white Nadu) at Rs.60 and Ponni Samba at Rs.69, he added.

The Finance Minister predicted that the UNFGG would not only win the Kurunegala District which former President Mahinda Rajapaksa  was supposed to contest, but also secure two thirds of the seat in the next Parliament.

Vice President of the SLFP and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne who was a confidante of President Srisena said that he along with many SLFPers who were disappointed by a UPFA announcement that Mahinda Rajapaksa who had been accused of corruption being granted nomination, had decided to contest the general election under the UNFGG banner.

Among the  former Ministers, MP’s and Provincial Councilors who would be joining him, Senaratne noted, were M.K.D.S. Gunawardana, Arjuna Ranatunga, Hirunika Premachandra and Sarath Amunugama, in addition to the JHU’s Champika Ranawaka and Ven. Athuraliye Rathana.

Other SLFP’ers who were likely to team up with the UNFGG were Neomal Perera, Hemal Gunasekera, Duminda Dissanayake, Sudarshani Fernandopulle, Wijaya Dahanayake and Earl Gunasekara.

Leader of the SLMC and Urban Development Minister Rauff Hakeem said on Friday said that  his party backed by an Eastern Province based organization campaigning for good governance had entered into an MoU with the UNP to contest the General Election. 


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