Mahinda bows out, Maithri takes over as SLFP Leader

Saturday, 17 January 2015 03:18 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

President Maithripala Sirisena was appointed Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party yesterday, after his predecessor dropped his claim to party leadership one week after losing the presidential election. President Sirisena who attended the SLFP Executive Committee meeting at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute yesterday, was unanimously appointed Party Leader. In a letter announcing his resignation, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he disliked seeing the SLFP face the “danger of division.” “With effect from today I will be handing over the leadership of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to President Maithripala Sirisena,” the defeated President Rajapaksa said in his letter of resignation.                                                 It was the responsibility of all those who love the SLFP to ensure Party unity, the former Head of State said. President Rajapaka indicated he would be watching developments closely, emphasising that he would “strongly represent the wishes and aspirations” of more than 5.7 million people who voted for him at last week’s election. The former President who was expected to attend the SLFP Ex-Co meeting was a no-show. However, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and Hambantota District MP Namal Rajapaksa did attend the meeting. The Executive Committee decided to appoint both former President Rajapaksa and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga as patrons of the SLFP. (DB)
 All set for Parliament next week Nimal Siripala De Silva named Leader of the Opposition Lakshman Kiriella named Leader of the House In preparation for the new session of Parliament that will get underway on Tuesday, the ruling coalition under President Maithripala Sirisena and the UPFA which will now function as the Opposition, made key appointments to run affairs in the House yesterday. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Central Committee which met yesterday, appointed senior party MP and former Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva as Opposition Leader. De Silva formerly served as Leader of the House. Former Minister John Seneviratne was appointed as Chief Opposition Whip by the SLFP Central Committee. Meanwhile, the ruling ‘rainbow’ coalition, named Lakshman Kiriella Leader of the House. Gayantha Karunathilake, the new Media Minister, will function as Chief Government Whip. The new Government is unlikely to face a numbers problem in the House, sources say, with several members from the previous ruling coalition pledging support. The SLFP has also pledged to support President Sirisena’s 100-day program for constitutional reform and good governance. (DB)