SLFP-SLPP to sign MoU today
By Sandun A. Jayasekera
The SLFP yesterday officially announced it’s wholehearted support for SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the presidential poll and campaign for his victory while SLFP leader President Maithripala Sirisena will remain neutral and would not participate in the propaganda campaign of Rajapaksa.
Senior vice President of the SLFP, Nimal Siripala de Silva said the SLFP’s support will be conditional and two MoUs and a Constitution of the SLFP-SLPP-led alliance will be signed shortly to ensure smooth running of the new government expected to be established after the victory of Mr. Rajapaksa and also to protect the interests of the SLFP, the nation and the country.
Former Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva flanked by senior office bearers of the SLFP and UPFA, addressing a crowded news briefing at the party office last morning said that the decision to support Mr. Rajapaksa was taken considering the current predicament of the economy, national security and sufferings of the people.
General Secretary of the SLFP, Dayasiri Jayasekara addressing media said that President Sirisena as the head of state and commander of the Police and armed forces has decided not to take the side of any candidate. He has even passed responsibilities of the chairman of the party to Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyasdasa, former General Secretary of the party until the election campaign is over.
“We are not to join the SLPP. But we run t he propaganda campaign in support of Mr. Rajapaksa jointly with the SLPP protecting our dignity and integrity of the party. While doing so, we also run propaganda campaigns separately as the SLFP. We are responsible to protect the interests of our supporters, MPs, Pradeshiya Sabha and provincial council members.
MP Silva said that though the SLPP was reluctant to change the party symbol for a common symbol accepted to both parties at the Presidential poll, the SLPP has agreed to contest the Parliamentary poll next year under the common symbol of chair.
“We won’t contest the Presidential poll. But as a mainstream democratic political party and we cannot remain independent or uninvolved in this extremely important election that would decide the destinies of the nation. The SLFP leader President Maithripala Sirisena has also decided not to contest at this poll. After much thought and considering all ideas of our party supporters, Pradeshiya Sabha, Provincial Council and Parliamentary members, the party’s Central Committee decided to support Mr. Rajapaksa and campaign for his victory with full force,” Mr. de Silva said.
Responding to Daily Mirror, he said the SLFP was committed to prevent any misdeeds or crimes like killing, harassment or suppression of media personal, arson attacks on media institutions, firing and murder of unarmed civilians who make democratic [protests, re-introduction of white van culture etc] and added the SLFP would ensure that those crimes and misdeeds would not take place under a future Rajapaksa regime in the event Gotabaya winning the presidential poll.
The party had three options which are to support the UNP, SLPP or remain uncontested. The party’s Central Committee and party leader, President Sirisena decide to support Mr. Rajapaksa notwithstanding the SLPP’s outright rejection to change the party symbol, pohottuwa (Lotus bud). However, the SLFP would support Mr. Rajapaksa on condition and with an assurance from the SLPP and the latter to respect the integrity and dignity of the party and give full protection to our supporters, PS and PC members and Parliamentarians, the former minister stressed.
Mr. de Silva said SLFP supports SLPP on policy and its work programme, and not to any individual. The constitution contains conditions to make the cabinet to 30, allocate cabinet portfolios on a scientific basis, maintain concept of good governance, control drugs, protect environment etc.
“The SLFP is fully committed to campaign to ensure Mr. Rajapaksa’s victory. It is a wholehearted support with no arm twisting. All SLFPers are in a very happy mood after the decision to support Mr. Rajapaksa,” Mr. de Silva noted.