Though not officially announced, President Maithripala Sirisena would be the absolute choice of the SLFP as its presidential candidate at the forthcoming polls, UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera said yesterday.
He added that the SLFP’s hope was that the SLPP would also toe the line ultimately and select President Sirisena as their presidential candidate because no candidate could win the presidential poll without the support and blessings of the SLFP. The SLFP would officially announce President Sirisena as the party’s candidate shortly.
“Who is the UNP and SLPP’s presidential candidates?” he asked. He told the media at the SLFP office that the UPFA did not want a three-cornered contest at the November – December presidential polls because no one could get absolute victory if there were three candidates from three main parties, the UNP, SLPP and the SLFP. That is why President Sirisena on Wednesday told the members of the SLFP’s women’s wing that he would take a vital decision soon that would make all supporters, members and voters of the SLFP, happy.
“Our attempt is to bring the SLPP into our fold and convince the SLPP that the best candidate from a SLPP – SLFP led alliance is President Sirisena. We have conducted several rounds of talks with the SLPP with the objective of forming a strong, progressive alliance. The talks so far have been successful and few contentious issues, including the presidential candidate, would be taken up for discussion at the next meeting after members of the SLFP women wing urged President Sirisena to contest,” he said.
“No one can ignore the 1.7 million the UPFA received at the February 2018 local government polls. Therefore, there is no doubt that the SLFP would be the king maker at this election,’ Mr. Amaraweera stressed.
Mr. Amaraweera said he expected that the emergency regulations would be lifted in a months’ time and the next extension of the provisions of the Public Security Ordinance would be the last one. The security in the country has come back to normalcy, he noted.
Mr. Amaraweera said the UPFA did not think a referendum was necessary to ask the voter whether he or she needs a general election. The simplest way to go for an early general election is to pass a resolution in parliament with a two thirds majority demanding the President to dissolve parliament. If the government wants a PC poll, what has to be done is to pass a few amendments in the election law.
Mr. Amaraweera lamented that addressing of several important issues such as the campaign against tobacco and smoking, controlling of the underworld and drugs and narcotics has been fully forgotten and even the media has put the topic to the backburner after the Easter Sunday carnage.
He then requested the media to give ample publicity to raids conducted to apprehend underworld characters, drugs, narcotics, moonshine and illegal distilleries. Parliamentarian Weerakumara Dissanayaka also addressed the news briefing.(Sandun A Jayasekera)