Confirming yesterday’s surprise announcement that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) will field its own presidential candidate, Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said today that the party has already named its candidate to the Election Commission.
Deshapriya told RepublicNext that this was upon a written request made by the Commission from all parties contesting the election to name their possible candidates as a matter of convenience.
“This was simply to make preparation work for the election easie. It was not meant to be compulsory,” he said.
Deshapriyia also noted that a party publicly declaring its candidate doesn’t guarantee that he or she will end up running, as any proposed name has to be approved by the Commission first.
SLFP Vice President Mahinda Amaraweera said the submission of a name was indeed upon the request of the Election Commission.
The MP told RepublicNext this morning that SLFP General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara had given the name of a possible candidate of the SLFP to the Commission in response to a request it had made from all parties contesting the upcoming presidential election.
This does not mean, however, that the ongoing talks with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) to form a common alliance has failed, said Amaraweera.
“If the discussions do fail for some reason, we will put forward this candidate,” Amaraweera added, without revealing the candidate’s identity.
Meanwhile, Joint Opposition MP Namal Rajapaksa took to Twitter this morning to air his frustration over this apparent indecision by the SLFPP.
There appears to be some uncertainty about the party’s plans for the upcoming election, he said.