Oct 01, 2019

No agreement in SLFP talks : waiting for lotus bud to give in Featured

The SLFP Central Working Committee met last evening (30) over the decision whether or not to support the presidential candidacy of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at the upcoming presidential election, but could not come to a definitive conclusion on the matter.

The SLFP Central Working Committee is scheduled to meet again on October 05th.

The representatives of the SLFP and the SLPP had met on several occasions to discuss whether they would contest the presidency together.

However, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was nominated as the SLPP presidential candidate without the consent of the SLFP.

When the SLFP had raised objections regarding this matter, discussions between the two parties had recommenced. However, although both parties had agreed on fielding Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as the Presidential candidate, they still had differences of opinion regarding the party he would contest under.

A special discussion in this regard was held last Saturday between President Maithripala Sirisena, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Mahinda Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa.

A national plan is required to support Gota - President

“I said that we have no issue in supporting the candidacy of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa based on a national plan framework, but we cannot vote for the lotus bud logo,” President Sirisena said addressing the SLFP Kurunegala District conference on September 29th.

He said that the next President would be elected based on the support of the SLFP, adding that any party wanting to win the presidential election definitely needs the support of the SLFP.

The representatives of the SLPP had expressed their disapproval on Gotabhaya contesting the next presidential election under any other logo but the lotus bud, but had said that the logo could be changed at the next General election if required.

Dayasiri Maith.png
President Maithri[pala Sirisena is due to discuss the SLPP decision with the SLFP Central Working Committee today.

Meanwhile, in a statement to the BBC Sinhala Service, the SLFP General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara has said that if the SLPP requires the support of the SLFP then they need to be flexible.
“We have not imposed any conditions. All we asked for was to come up with a logo that the SLFP supporters could go and vote for. But, they did not agree with that. We will not panic and today what the people want is an anti UNP government,” Dayasiri said.

He also said that UNP candidate Sajith Premadasa had asked for a meeting with the SLFO group, but they had not given him a positive response so far.

Meanwhile, addressing the SLFP conference Jayasekara said that if any party wants to win the upcoming presidential election they definitely need the support of the SLFP.
“If 80% of the votes are cast, it amounts to 12.9 million and to win one must obtain 6.5 million votes out of that. No matter how much the SLPP tries, they can only win a maximum of around 5.6 million votes, based on the 2018 LG election results. The balance 800,000 votes will come from the SLFP,” Jayasekara said.

“Without us no matter how the SLPP tries they cannot get the votes. The winning quota of votes lies with the SLFP,” he added.

Logo not important, it is the candidate that matters - Gammanpila

Meanwhile, addressing a media briefing in Colombo yesterday, MP Udaya Gammanpila said that what is important is the candidate and not the logo.

He said that President Sirisena who won the presidency under the swan logo is a good example that the party or the logo is of little significance in winning the election.

Joining the media briefing MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage said that 99% of the SLFP supports Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s candidacy. However, there are a handful who do not support Gotabhaya’s candidacy and Kumara Welgama is one of them. In fact Welgama had also indicated that he was willing to contest as the SLFP candidate.

Welgama had told the BBC Sinhala Service that if the SLFP decides to support Gotabhaya, he would have to take alternative measures.

Meanwhile, the SLFP Deputy Chairman Nimal Siripala de Silva had told Lankadeepa newspaper that no matter what decision his party takes, he would support Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.