Some Opposition members who fervently backed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the 2015 presidential election will support the “broad alliance” led by the United National Party (UNP) in the upcoming presidential polls, UNP MP Harshana Rajakaruna said.
Addressing the media at Temple Trees today (22 July), Rajakaruna said that everyone will be surprised to learn who from the opposition camp are set to join the UNP’s new alliance which will be formally announced on 5 August.
“Those who were at the forefront of Rajapaksa’s presidential campaign in 2015 have now realised that the country cannot go on that way. I appreciate MP Kumara Welgama’s statement in which he said selecting the Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP)’s presidential candidate shouldn’t be like selecting the heir to the British throne. Sri Lankans moved on from that system centuries ago,” the MP said.
Rajakaruna further said that some Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) members are also expected to join the new alliance along with the SLPP crossovers, but he refrained from revealing their identities.
Asked if the UNP is in a crisis situation in selecting its own presidential candidate, Rajakaruna said that no problem has arisen within the UNP as none of its presidential aspirants is a sibling of party leader Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
“We would have faced a problem had Ranil Wickremesinghe as the party leader tried to award the presidential candidacy to one of his siblings. But we have no such problem because the party leader is Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Deputy Leader is Sajih Premadasa and the country’s third citizen is Karu Jayasuriya, and they are not siblings,” the MP added.
Rajakaruna further said the party will give priority to the Ranil-Karu-Sajith trio when selecting a candidate and will present one candidate to carry out the party’s agenda. The positions of Speaker, Prime Minister and Speaker of Parliament can be divided among the three leaders, the MP said.
“One of them will be President, one Prime Minister and the other Speaker,” he said.