Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara is irate that the Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP) decided on a Presidential Candidate without consulting his party.
“We are in discussions to form an alliance, but they have decided on a candidate without taking our views into consideration, and we are pained by that,” he told RepublicNext today (12 Aug).
The SLFP and the SLPP have been having talks over the past few months to form an alliance to contest future elections. However, the talks stalled and all they were able to agree on was the name of the new alliance.
The customary way is to form an alliance and then consult all partners and decide on a candidate that all parties can agree on Jayasekara pointed out.
“That was not done,” he said. “There are many in our party who say they cannot work for Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in fact three out of four members I have spoken to will not support him.”
Former General Secretary of the SLFP Prof. Rohana Luxman Piyadasa, who was in the team of SLFPers negotiating with the SLPP, told RepublicNext that since the new party announced a Presidential candidate, “there’s little to talk about.”
“However, if as a party if we collectively decide to support this candidate then we will work for him,” said Jayasekara, adding that the SLPP had not invited the SLFP to attend yesterday’s maiden National Convention.
“Instead they sent individual invitations to some of our Members of Parliament,” Jayasekara complained. “This looks like an attempt to break up our party,” he said.
The former-UNPer also hit out at his SLFP colleagues who went to the gala event, some of whom he said were “people who lost their seats in the General election and were brought to Parliament by President Maithripala Sirisena through the National List. They didn’t even have the courtesy of informing the President they were attending this Convention,” he said.
The SLPP membership consists mainly of ex-SLFP MPs and grassroots workers who moved to stay with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa after 2015.