By Nuwan Senarathna
The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) yesterday backtracked on previous demands to contest the forthcoming General Election as the Sri Lanka Nidahas Podujana Sandanaya (SLNPS) and said it would contest under any party name or symbol with an assurance that its identity would be protected.
SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam confirmed to the EC that the party would contest under the name of the SLPP and flower bud symbol. However, the SLFP and Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) earlier submitted an application to the Election Commission (EC) registering the SLNPS.
Speaking to the media at the SLFP head office, Spokesman Weerakumara Dissanayake said the party would only focus on contesting the General Election while protecting the identity of the SLFP. The party or the symbol that they contest under will not be taken into serious consideration. “There is no issue with us contesting the General Election under the flower bud symbol or the SLPP. Assurances were given to us that the SLFP’s identity will be protected. Therefore, there is no reason for us to oppose contesting under the SLPP and its symbol,” Dissanayake said.
He pointed out that the SLFP would mainly focus on forming a Government with a two-thirds majority which would enable it to change the 19th Amendment. The SLFP aims to fulfil its promise to help President Gotabaya Rajapaksa implement his election manifesto, he explained.
“Helping the President implement his election manifesto is the most important task at the moment. Therefore, the SLFP is committed to helping the President fulfil his promises and other matters will not be taken into consideration at the moment,” he explained.
Responding to a question about the differences of opinion between former President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa during the last few days, Dissanayake stressed that the SLFP would not focus on individual opinions. The SLFP would focus on assisting the President’s development projects.
Dissanayake also said that it would continue investigations into the Central Bank bond scam and take necessary action against those responsible.
“If law enforcement authorities find former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe guilty, we will not hesitate to see him jailed,” he said.