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SLFP and SLPP kick off talks to form alliance


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 SLPP National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa gestures at the media briefing yesterday - Pic By Lahiru Harshana 

 

  • Both parties to approach discussions with no conditions but SLPP says Presidential candidate will be decided by MR

 

By Nuwan Senarathna

The first round of talks between the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) will commence today, with both sides saying they will take a no-strings-attached approach to discussions.  

The main focus of the talks will be to discuss the possibilities of forming a broader political alliance to contest upcoming elections, with a long-term intention to lay the foundation to find a suitable candidate for the Presidential Election, which is likely to be held at the end of this year.

Representing the SLPP camp, Chairman Professor G.L. Peiris, Senior Lecturer Jagath Wellawatte, and Joint Opposition (JO) National Organiser MP Dullas Alahapperuma will attend the meeting. Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa, MP Thilanga Sumathipala, and SLFP General Secretary MP Dayasiri Jayasekara will represent the SLFP camp. The discussion is scheduled to be held at the Opposition Leader›s office at 10 a.m. Addressing a news briefing held at the Party Head Office on Wednesday, SLPP National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa said their party would enter the discussion with a positive mind-set over the possibility of forming a broader political alliance to contest the upcoming election.

He noted the discussion would open new possibilities to form a new Government of progressive forces that put the nation first. “At the moment, we cannot tell when we will be able to come to an agreement over forming the alliance,” he added.

One-time SLFP General Secretary Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa told Daily FT that the SLFP would be focused on building an understanding between the two parties for further discussions. “The aim of these talks is to form common policies so that both parties can negotiate for their futures,” he added. He noted that laying down a strong foundation for further discussion would be the key to form a broader alliance so that both parties can work on common ground. MP Thilanga Sumathipala, who is a member of the breakaway SLFP faction, also said the discussions would pave the way to a stronger alliance to contest upcoming elections against the Government forces.

“Possibilities to form a strong political alliance will be discussed deeply, with the intention of contesting upcoming elections as the alliance of progressive forces of the nation,” he added. He said the end result of this alliance would be naming a suitable Presidential candidate, and insisted said candidate should be selected based on the ability to lead the country for a better future. SLFP General Secretary MP Dayasiri Jayasekara also said the primary goal of today’s discussion would be to looking at possibilities of an alliance, but that naming a Presidential candidate would not be discussed during the meeting.

However, in the wake of the first round of the SLFP and SLPP talks on forming a political alliance to contest upcoming elections, key figures of both sides expressed contradictory views on the Presidential candidate.

Basil Rajapaksa said that SLPP de facto leader Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa would decide the Presidential candidate of the SLPP. He noted such a decision would be made due to the legal boundaries that prevent Rajapaksa contesting for President for a fourth time.

SLFP General Secretary MP Dayasiri Jayasekara said on Sunday that the SLFP Presidential candidate should be President Maithripala Sirisena. However, he claimed that both SLFP and SLPP should form an alliance to win a Presidential Election.


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