- Basil to join discussions for the first time
- Says multiple parties can support GR as he is not a SLPP member but a “national candidate”
By Nuwan Senaratna
Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) National Organiser former Minister Basil Rajapaksa will participate for the first time at the latest round of talks to establish a coalition between the SLPP and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) today at the Opposition Leader’s office.
This will be the first time a member of the Rajapaksa family will join for high-level discussions between the two political parties.
Speaking to media at the SLPP Head Office, Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris said the discussion would be mainly focused on strengthening a broad opposition against the United National Party (UNP) that would look beyond the upcoming Presidential Elections to broader political engagement.
“This will be the next step in a series of discussions held with the SLFP. We are expecting to discuss how both parties can work together during the Presidential Election and beyond that. I believe this discussion will be a success and it will pave the way to form the proposed coalition,” Prof. Peiris said.
Prof. Peiris noted the discussion would be broader and would look to bring victory to the SLPP presidential candidate. He noted the SLPP would not discuss the presidential candidacy but on the way it could get the support of the SLFP for its campaign.
“The discussion has been successful so far. Both parties have agreed on a policy framework, which consists of policies that both parties can agree on. This discussion will be the next step of the proposed coalition to counter the UNP.”
He noted the SLPP would try to get the support of the SLFP for its presidential candidate as he did not represent a particular political party. Prof. Peiris argued the SLFP could support the SLPP presidential candidate without getting into an agreement with the SLPP.
“There were instances when some political parties supported the presidential candidate without getting into a coalition. For example, the JVP supported Mahinda Rajapaksa during the 2005 Presidential Election but that was without a formal coalition agreement with the SLFP.”
When asked why Gotabaya Rajapaksa did not obtain membership of the SLPP, MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena said the SLPP candidate was “national candidate” whom all like-minded parties could get behind. He argued based on that principle, the SLFP would also have a chance to support Rajapaksa as he was the candidate who appealed to a wide range of parties.