SLPP, SLFP reach consensus on key posts, symbol at general election


by Shamindra Ferdinando

Joint Opposition MP, Mahinda Aluthgamage, yesterday, said that the SLPP was ready to contest the forthcoming parliamentary election under a symbol other than ‘pohottuwa’.

The Parliamentary polls are expected to follow the presidential election.

Aluthgamage said that the SLPP and the SLFP had reached agreement in that regard, recently. He explained how the SLPP had addressed the SLFP’s concerns even at the expense of the party’s interests. The JO member indicated that the SLPP expected the SLFP’s support at the presidential poll in return for benefits assured at the parliamentary election.

Aluthgamage said so at a media briefing at the Opposition Leader’s Office.

He said that they had also reached an agreement on allocating what he called a major position for the SLFP.

MP Susil Premjayantha, while referring to the squabbling in the UNP over its presidential candidate, questioned as to how such an undisciplined party could govern the country.

Underscoring the fact that SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa stood for a disciplined society, MP Premjayantha said that simmering turmoil in the UNP indicated that the party couldn’t be expected to ensure the wellbeing of the people.

The lawmaker said that the UNP-led coalition had ruined the country over the past four and a half years. Having come to power in January 2015 promising one million jobs, the UNP had worked overtime to destabilise the country in peacetime.

Former Southern Province Governor and ex- MP Hemakumara Nanayakkara explained as to how wartime Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had emerged as the leading candidate at the 2019 presidential election.

President Sirisena’s recent decision to bring state-owned Rupavahini under the Defence Ministry reflected the crisis the current dispensation was in. President Sirisena had been left with no alternative but to intervene to bring the situation under control, Nanayakkara said.

Contrary to claims by certain sections of the media, Nanayakkara said that Tamil speaking people appreciated the services rendered by Gotabaya by bringing the war to a successful conclusion, in May 2009.

Premjayantha pointed out that having ridiculed the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Easter Sunday attacks, President Sirisena was now ready to appear before it. The MP said that President appearing before PSC named by the UNP government and the Prime Minister having to appear before the Presidential Commission inquiring into corruption over renting a building at a monthly rent of Rs 24 mn reflected the pathetic situation.

Premjayantha said that the government had abolished the Consultative Committee system to pave the way for Oversight Committee at the commencement of the yahapalana administration. However, Oversight Committees were never moved to the rented building, MP Premjayantha alleged, adding that the whole project was nothing but a ruse to get a private building paying a colossal rent at the taxpayers’ expense.

MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage alleged that the government was in the process of recruiting workers to state banks and various other institutions as part of its overall efforts to dupe the electorate.

Aluthgamage urged the Election Commission to call for nominations for 2019 presidential election as soon as possible to prevent illegal appointments. The MP explained that the government wouldn’t be able to proceed with the controversial scheme once nominations were called.

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