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No unanimity between UNP and SLFP yet

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Contesting parliamentary elections

Neither the United National Party (UNP) nor the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has so far made a firm decision on whether they would contest the upcoming general election separately or as part of a coalition once Parliament is dissolved, The
Nation learns.

Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine, Rajitha Senaratne during an interview with The Nation expressed that the SLFP would contest together with the UNP for the general election at the end of the 100-day program, which is scheduled to conclude in April 2015.

However, when UNP MP and Minister of Public Administration, Democratic Governance and Buddha Sasana, Karu Jayasuriya was contacted, he pointed out that the initial agreement was to  contest separately when the Parliament is dissolved on April 23 yet  it was too early for him to comment on the issue.

“The original plan was to contest separately when the Parliament is dissolved. But the ground situation has changed drastically after the election so therefore we cannot clearly say that the UNP will contest separately or not.” he said.

Jayasuriya also mentioned that the party is currently discussing about the matter but have not reached a decision yet.“The party members have discussed about the issue several times. There is a possibility that the earlier decision might be reviewed if that is needed.” he added.

He further mentioned that it is a fact that this alliance has changed the situation of the country greatly and it is much more than everyone expected.

“We definitely anticipated a change in the country after winning the Presidential election however it is much more than what we expected.” he said.

Meanwhile, the Central Committee of the SLFP met on Friday (January 23) for the first time under the Chairmanship of President Maithripala Sirisena. Parliamentarians S.B. Dissanayake and Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena were appointed as Vice-Chairmen while Dilan Perera and Mahinda Samarasinghe were appointed as Deputy Secretaries.

However, according to MP Dilan Perera, the appointments were made as these positions had been left vacant. “The party’s Central Committee has also given President Sirisena the option to appoint a new set of office bearers if he so wishes,” Perera told The Nation.

When queried on whether the SLFP would contest the general election on its own, Perera said they hoped to move forward under the Chairmanship of President Sirisena.

“However, we are part of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). As such, we would have to consult with relevant stakeholders before we make a firm decision,” he pointed out.

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