SLPP Chairman Professor G.L. Peiris today extended an open invitation to the SLFP to join his party saying the most desired symbol to contest the presidential election was the lotus bud.
Addressing a news briefing held today at the party office in Battaramulla, Prof. Peiris said the SLPP was akin to the ancestral home of the SLFP and asked what practical obstacle the SLFP had to join it.
“During the several rounds of discussions held, the two parties agreed upon more than 20 points based on principle. We have always been sensitive, accommodative and flexible in these talks. If decided to join, we welcome the SLFP with open arms,” he said.
He said the SLFP had stated it was a kingmaker but was incapable of living up to it.
"The bulk of votes the SLFP has is limited. Although it is not many, the SLFP is of the opinion that its voter-base is crucial. The issue is whether they will use it to strengthen the country. At the SLFP convention, MP Nimal Siripala de Silva said the SLFP should think to which party it was closer. We don't think there will be a doubt about the final answer. Both parties have the same set of principles and share the same vision," he said.
Furthermore, he said it was unlikely that the SLFP joined with the UNP which had governed the country for over four years in an irresponsible and ineffective manner.
“Can the SLFP join a party accused of being irresponsible during the Easter terror? Is this what the SLFPers want? Its other option is to field one of its own as the presidential candidate, but it is clear that it doesn’t expect to win the election by doing so. Does that mean it is trying to back the UNP candidate? It seems such a decision will strengthen the UNP. The SLFP should think in-depth about this," he said.
Responding to questions on the SLFP's concern over the lotus bud symbol of the SLPP, Prof. Peiris said it was the most desired symbol among political parties. "This was evident at the previous local government elections," he said. (Lahiru Pothmulla)