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Five issues discussed at MS-MR meeting

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Meeting between MS and MR

The talk between President Maithripala Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was cordial and friendly, and that cool atmosphere had reigned throughout the discussion. In another words, it was a meeting between a party’s leader and a patron. The patron was the former leader of the party, and present leader was the general secretary of the same party. However, the meeting which was due April 25 took place last Wednesday.

It was like a meeting between two delegations. President Sirisena arrived for the discussions with Ministers Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Duminda Dissanayake, MKADS Gunawardena and MP Faizer Mustapha. The former President arrived at the meeting with close associates- Dullas Alahapperuma, Prof. GL Peiris, Kumara Welgama, Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Bandula Guanwardena. Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva and SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa also participated in the discussion.

 According to the statement which was issued by the SLFP General Secretary, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, they have taken five most important issues for the discussion. There were a lot of speculations what would be their topics at the meeting, and when the meeting was confirmed an announcement came that the talks will be limited to the issues related to party-SLFP.
The five issues that were discussed were:

(1)      Whether the SLFP should nominate a prime ministerial candidate at the next general election,

(2)    The next course of action with regard to local government bodies as they are to complete its term in office by May 15,

(3)      The consistence of the nominations board,

(4)     Whether the SLFP would contest as the Freedom Alliance or separately at the next election and

(5)    The concerns by the SLFP parliamentarians over the alleged anti-democratic acts of the Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) which have arrested and question few ministers of the Rajapaksa regime.

As that was the first meeting of duo after the presidential elections on January 8, they have agreed to continue the discussions on the issues which directly related to the SLFP. However, no concrete decision had been taken at the meeting which ran more than one hour, but the President Siriseana had raised the necessity of presenting the issues at the meeting to the SLFP’s central committee.
  
Sources revealed that the formation of the nomination boards for election was not taken at the discussion, as the President was hurry to participate at a book launch by Upul Shantha Sannasgala. However, sources confirmed that  the President had rejected the nomination of a prime ministerial candidate before the election as well as the making any involvement to the proceedings of the FCID.

Meanwhile, Minister Rajitha Senaratne who met the media on Thursday morning said that  President Sirisena informed Ex-President Rajapaksa that corruption investigations launched by the FCID would continue. He also added that President explained that the FCID was an election pledge, and any move to cancel the body will be a move against the mandate given by the public. Minister Senaratne also clarified to the delegation led by former President that the ongoing investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption against a number of people’s representatives was not in any means politically motivated, but clearly and directly aimed at re-establishing the good governance, and the rule of law as the new government pledged in its 100-day program during the election.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera Thursday evening told the media that ‘according to intelligence reports , the Rajapaksa family had over the last ten years siphoned off over US$ 18 billion in state funds, either directly or indirectly.’ Minister Samaraweera also had a defense step when he added that he didn’t know, but reports said. 

While all the issues kept open to present and discuss at the SLFP’s Central Committee, both the delegations have become more affirmative and constructive is the driving the SLFP to victory post at any election. Extension of the time periods of local government bodies which are to end their terms in office will also be discussed at the Central Committee.

 Though both the parties agreed to meet again, a date has not been fixed. The very first date for the meeting was also cancelled by former President, alleging that no talks while his close associates are being harassed. But, later he arrived in the discussion as pressurized by a section of the SLFP MPs. Just after the meeting, another financial allegation has been raised against the Rajapaksa family, and the government has also decided to dissolve the special Army security division for the President which was established in former President’s tenure.

Last modified on Monday, 11 May 2015 12:13

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