Aug 14, 2018

Maithri-Mahinda to ally for presidential polls? Featured

Talks are underway to field incumbent Maithripala Sirisena as the presidential candidate and his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime ministerial candidate from a single front, a member of the SLFP’s ‘group of 16’ told Sri Lanka Mirror.

The MP said both sides have responded positively to the overture, since the SLFP and the SLPP would suffer defeat if contested separately.

He said their suggestion is based on the fact that the PM will be given more powers after the presidential powers are minimized once the incumbent finished his tenure.

The president should name Rajapaksa as the premier before the end of the year, he also said.

Group of 16 meets Mahinda

The joint opposition and the ‘group of 16’ are at talks to form an extensive anti-government front, and the latest was between the latter and Rajapaksa in Tangalle on August 12.

They had a discussion that lasted for nearly five hours, on building a force against the UNP to face the provincial council, presidential and parliamentary polls, said one of the participants Thilanga Sumathipala.

John Seneviratne, Susil Premajayantha, Chandima Weerakkody, Dilan Perera, Lakshman Wasantha Perera, Sumedha Jayasena and Sudarshani Fenandopulle attended the meeting.

Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, S.B. Dissanayake, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Anuradha Jayaratne, Tharanath Basnayake, T.B. Ekanayake and Susantha Punchinilame could not make it as they had other commitments.

UNP will field own candidate

Meanwhile, minister Lakshman Kiriella says the UNP should field a candidate of its own at the next presidential election.

Addressing a meeting of provincial council and local government representatives of the party on August 12, he said the UNP had the ability to win the election to form a government for the benefit of its membership.

He noted that 80 per cent of the votes received in favour of the government belonged to the UNP, while 56 pc of the votes were cast against the SLPP at the LG polls.

Presidential election before PC polls

Kiriella also said the PC polls could be preceded by a presidential election, since the president could announce the same after January.