MS meets rejected  UPFA candidates

JVP, too, in crisis over NL


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Amidst on-going talks among warring SLFP factions to resolve contentious issues, particularly the dispute over the filling of National List slots, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday met a group of unsuccessful UPFA candidates at his official residence at Paget Road, Colombo 5.

Well informed sources told The Island that among the issues discussed had been the possibility of accommodating some of them through the National List. Among those who had been involved in the discussions were defeated candidates, S. B. Dissanayake (Kandy), Lakshman Seneviratne (Badulla), Nandimithra Ekanayake (Matale) and Vijith Vijithamuni Zoysa (Moneragala) Piyasena Gamage (Galle), Mahinda Samarasinghe (Kalutara), Thilanga Sumathipala(Colombo) and Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena (Matara).

The SLFP-led UPFA secured 12 NL slots, whereas the UNP obtained 13. The ITAK and JVP shared the remaining four slots, two each.

Asked whether SLFP seniors could reach an understanding regarding the filling of NL slots, sources said that President Maithripala Sirisena had asserted in no uncertain terms that he intended to use the NL to ‘stabilise’ the party.

Sources said that both the UPFA and UNP were contemplating accommodating some of the defeated candidates through their respective National Lists.

Among the UNPers failed to regain their seats were one-time Speaker Joseph Michael Perera (Gampaha District) and former State Minister of Child Development Rosy Senanayake (Colombo).

Well informed sources told The Island that trouble was brewing in the JVP over filling of NL slots. Sources said that an influential section of the party had pointed out that it would be serious mistake on the part of the leadership to appoint outsiders to Parliament through the NL. Sources said that though appointment of eminent persons on the NL had great propaganda value, they couldn’t be expected to further the party’s interests. They asserted that the two JVP NL slots should be filled by defeated candidates. The proposal had caused concerns among the leadership with some of those high on the JVP NL bitterly complaining.

Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that there was provision for the appointment of defeated candidates through the NL.

Political sources said warring factions had been under heavy pressure to resolve differences and workout a cohesive strategy to deal with the UNP led government. Sources said that the President was seeking to consolidate his position ahead of the first session of Parliament on Sept. 1.

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