Duminda confirms National Government’s implementation

Friday, 28 August 2015 00:52 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Stresses no withdrawal of signed MoU 
  • Pledges not to betray identity of SLFP
  • Predicts SLFP will have major ministries
  • Says no interest in ministerial benefits
  • Defends party›s National List; says defeated candidates are ‹political heavyweights›



SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake (second from left) at yesterday’s media briefing. From left: UPFA National List nominees S.B. Dissanayake, Mahinda Samarasinghe and Thilanga Sumathipala – Pic by Lasantha Kumara



By Chamodi Gunawardana

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) yesterday confirmed that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the United National Party (UNP) to establish a National Government would stand as reports surfaced that the two parties could not get consensus on ministerial portfolios.

Addressing the first SLFP media briefing after the general election, the SLFP›s new General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake stressed that no political party had been able to obtain an outright mandate to govern on their own. 

“Neither the United People›s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) nor the UNP had the mandate to form a government alone. People expected to establish a National Government which could fulfil their aspirations without failures. That is why voters did not allow major political parties to obtain the majority,” Dissanayake stated.

Commenting on allegations levelled against the validity of the MoU between the two main parties, Dissanayake asserted that the SLFP had no intention of withdrawing from the agreement. 

“We believe the SLFP-led UPFA still has the ability to form a government on its own. Nevertheless, we want to join hands with the UNP in the county’s interest. Both parties have different manifestos and ideas and we should continue discussions in this regard. We hope to include some more important lines in the MoU. However we will not withdraw,” he explained.

Dissanayake denied claims made by smaller constituent parties within the UPFA that the SLFP was agreeing to join the National Government in order to get ministerial portfolios. 

“This agreement was signed for the sake of the country. We emphasise that SLFP MPs who are willing to take part in the National Government are not interested in benefits. However we will never betray the SLFP›s identity,” he stressed.

Dissanayake predicted that under the National Government structure, ministerial positions would be allocated equally between the two major parties. 

“Currently we cannot say what positions the SLFP is going to get. We believe the SLFP will have some of the major ministries. President Maithripala Sirisena will make the right decision,” he said.

Dissanayake also defended the party›s National List that was filled with candidates defeated in the Parliamentary race, saying that the defeated candidates were political heavyweights compared to the pre-gazetted candidates submitted before the poll. 

“Some are criticising that the new National List is filled with political refugees. We would like to remind them that new nominees are political heavyweights. In previous elections they were the most popular MPs in their districts,» Dissanayake claimed. 


National List based on contribution: S.B


SLFP Vice Chairman and National List nominee S.B. Dissanayake yesterday stressed that they had considered the contribution of UPFA constituent parties when the National List was prepared. 

“If we calculate the weight of a MP seat, one party should gather at least 400,000 votes for obtain a seat in Parliament. Therefore some minor parties of UPFA have no right to demand nominations through the National List. They did not get enough votes,” he explained.

 Dissanayake also said that President Sirisena had named National List nominees who had strong political histories and were popular in their electorates. 

“Over the past six to seven months, some UPFA MPs were backing former President Mahinda Rajapaksa while some were with President Sirisena. Other MPs held ministerial posts in the UNP Government and some gave up their portfolios. Considering all this, President Sirisena appointed members to the National List who had remained unbiased and also had got a reasonable number of votes,” he stated.

Dissanayake revealed that around 70 UPFA MPs had already agreed to take part in the proposed National Government.