- SLFP cannot make decision as SLPP more popular and leads alliance
- Says issue of Presidential candidate manufactured to create tension between SLPP and SLFP
- Argues too early to name Presidential election candidate
By Nuwan Senarathna
Several Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Provincial Council members yesterday insisted any candidate for a Presidential election should be named by their party and that the decision could not be made by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) even though they were willing to campaign together.
Rejecting speculation that the SLFP may decide the next Presidential candidate, SLPP Provincial Council Forum President Kanchana Jayaratne noted that even though the SLPP was willing to work with the SLFP, it was still the prerogative of his party to decide who the Presidential candidate would be.
“Certain MPs of SLFP have stated that the Presidential candidate will be named by the SLFP. But despite all those statements, we will name the candidate from our own party,” he said.
“We are calling the SLFP to join with us for the upcoming Presidential election, because Local Government election results clearly showed we have the people’s trust more than the SLFP,” Jayaratne told reporters at party headquarters.
He said considering Local Government election results, SLPP should be given the lead to take crucial decisions with regards to elections. He noted SLFP would only win if they contested in an alliance, which is headed by SLPP.
Jayaratne said SLPP would only contest upcoming Provincial Council elections under the symbol of the flower bud with the support of a broader alliance of political parties that support Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa and his policies.
“At the moment, SLPP is the strongest political party in Sri Lanka. Therefore we will contest the upcoming Provincial Council elections with or without the support of any other party,” he added.
He said terms of six Provincial Councils had already elapsed and elections of certain Provincial Councils had been delayed for more than a year. Therefore issues pertaining to administration had been one of the biggest concerns for the public.
He charged the Government had been giving various excuses to delay Provincial Council elections.
“We are ready to fight for an election. We are also expecting to inform foreign diplomats regarding the current political situation in Sri Lanka.”
Speaking in his turn, Western Provincial Council member Rajitha Hapuarachchi charged thatthe United National Party (UNP) and certain SLFP members had been trying to spread rumours to create a clash between SLPP and SLFP over the Presidential candidate and derail attention from their growing popularity.
“It is too early to talk about the candidate for the Presidential election, we have more time to decide about the Presidential election candidate. Therefore we should focus on issues that matter most at the moment,” he said.