In what appeared to be a major political strategy, the United National Party (UNP) today decided to support SLFP General Secretary and Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena as the common candidate for the upcoming presidential election.
15.10: Ministers Maithripala Sirisena and Rajitha Senaratne just arrived at the New Town Hall.
15.14: Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Duminda Dissanayake also arrived
15.20 Minister Maithripala begins speech by reciting verses of the Dhammapada - says he is was the longest serving General Secretary of the SLFP
I have been with the SLFP for 47 years and served as the General Secretary for 13 years.
We have come to an agreement with all the political parties.
I thank the UNP for appointing me as the common candidate.
I thank Ranil Wickremesinghe for selecting SLFP General Secretary as the common candidate.
Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike played a major role in defeating terrorism.
I thank President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the security forces for winning the war.
18th Amendment was a major blow to the democracy of the country.
Law and order has been challenged today.I never thought the UNP or other parties would select me as the common candidate.
I couldn’t even impose pictorial warnings on cigarette packets fully but I tried my level best as the Health Minister.
Vote for me at the upcoming election. I will abolish the executive presidency within 100 days of election.
We should develop the economy of estate sector and private employees. I request Navy, Army and Police to make provisions for a free and fair election. I will protect everyone.There is no media freedom in the country today. The truth has been suppressed. I will ensure media freedom.
The 18th amendment will be abolished, will also change the current electoral system.
I will appoint Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister.
My family was fully supportive and backed me on this decision.
I will look after helpless people
Ends the speech
Minister Rajitha Senaratne
This is the happiest day of my political life.
This decision is not against the President but against his rule.
The war was started by the Executive Presidency.
Fmr. President Chandrika Kumaratunga
I am thanking all the members for allowing me to join this worthy cause
I'm very happy about the opportunity given to return to my own headquarters
I’m so happy to return to active politics
I was expelled from the SLFP.
We lived and fought within the SLFP
Party policies were corrupted.
After nine years I have decided to join politics.I got many requests to contest as the common opposition candidate but I rejected all the requests.
I will not accept any position.
Our lives are in danger but we decided to take this risk on behalf of the country.
People will decide where the real SLFPers are
I have faith in the Elections Commissioner