- Claims Local Government Election results proved popularity
- But coalition talks still on the cards, up to SLFP to make final call
- No decision on nominations for anyone including Sirisena
By Nuwan Senarathna
The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) yesterday expressed confidence that it could contest the forthcoming General Election and secure the majority of seats on offer without forming a coalition with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).
The SLPP and SLFP signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) ahead of the Presidential Election to contest as a coalition at the General Election. Based on that MoU, the SLFP demanded a 30% quota, a co-leadership role and a common symbol to contest with the SLPP at the General Election. However, SLPP members rejected the SLFP’s request and stated that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa would be the sole leader of the proposed coalition.
Speaking to the media at the SLPP head office, Energy State Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardana said the Local Government Election results clearly showed that the SLPP was capable of winning the General Election without entering into a collation with the SLFP.
“We are strong enough to contest the forthcoming General Election alone and win the majority of seats. Exactly two years ago, we proved at the Local Government Election that we were capable of winning without the help of the SLFP,” he said.
Abeygunawardana noted they would not neglect the importance of the SLFP being part of their broader coalition but the SLPP would give space to the SLFP to make their own decision whether to contest as a coalition or not. “We will not force anyone to join us. If the SLFP wishes to join us, the doors are open for them but if they want to contest separately that will not be an issue for us. However, I hope the SLFP will make the correct decision,” he added.
He said that the SLPP was yet to make a final decision on nominations, including for former President Maithripala Sirisena. However, Abeygunawardana said they would not cover up any unpopular decisions taken by Sirisena when he was in office if they formed a coalition to contest the forthcoming General Election.
“We cannot forget all the harmful decisions taken when former President Maithripala Sirisena was in office. He was part of the Government. However, that does not mean the entire SLFP is responsible for that. Therefore, we can join with them as a political party for the betterment of the country,” he said.