Speaking at the launch of Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) held today at Nelum Pokuna, its leader Sajith Premadasa invited all UNP MPs to be part of his new alliance.
"I invite all UNP MPs and Provincial Council and local government members to join the alliance. I will safeguard all of you. The UNP Working Committee has endorsed our move. Therefore, I will not backtrack. The new alliance was not formed merely to contest the election but for an exercise which will go beyond that. Our objective is to muster a majority in Parliament, win the Provincial Council election and then to win local government polls which will be held in a few years time. We also want to create a political movement which emphasises new ways. Several people including the youth have been fed up with traditional politics. They want new political practices and we are here to deliver them,” he said.
On a different note, he said the alliance would safeguard Buddhism while ensuring the rights of other religious and ethnic groups. “There is no room for extremism in this country. Samagi Jana Balawegaya will stand for shared prosperity and positive nationalism,” he said.
Some 30 political parties, civil groups and trade unions inked MoUs with Samagi Jana Balawegaya. These included JHU, TPA, SLMC, ACMC, Sri Lanka Nidhahas Pakshaya Surekeme Sanvidanaya, United National Freedom Front, Journalists for Democracy and United Socialist Front. However, no mention was made on the symbol of the new alliance.
More than 30 UNP MPs participated in the launch. One MP told Daily Mirror the UNP leadership did not prohibit them from participating in the launch. (Yohan Perera)