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7 parties and SLPP faction agree on ‘common’ PM candidate

14 Jul 2022

  • SJB, TNA, SLFP, SLPP’s pro-Dullas faction, Rathana Thera, CWC in agreement
  • NPP notably absent from agreement
  • Fonseka says he’s ready for Presidency
BY P. Waravita The party leaders’ meeting held yesterday (14) had seen a consensus reached between seven parties and one faction of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) on the “common” candidate for the post of Prime Minister, whose name is to be announced today (15), The Morning learnt.  President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday (13) requested the party leaders to propose a candidate for the post of Premier.  Accordingly, sources present at the party leaders’ meeting yesterday told The Morning that the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA), the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), SLPP Parliamentarian Dullas Alahapperuma’s faction, Our Power of People’s Party, and the Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) had reached a consensus on appointing a common candidate to be the next Premier.  The SLFP was represented by Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, SLPP MP Dullas Alahapperuma’s faction was represented by Dilan Perera, and Our Power of People’s Party by MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera. The group had agreed on a common candidate for the post of the President as well.  Tweeting following the meeting, SJB MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said that the name of the Prime Ministerial candidate will be proposed to the Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena today. Speaker Abeywardena is due to meet the party leaders today in Parliament. However, SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara told The Morning last week that the SJB hopes to nominate Premadasa for the post of President, once President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigns.  Attempts to contact Yapa, Alahapperuma, and TNA Spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran PC proved futile. Meanwhile, SJB MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka has said that he is ready to take the Presidency if the majority calls for it, adding that the SLPP has already invited him to be the next Premier. The SLPP is largely divided among two factions at the moment, with one group backing Alahapperuma for the post of the President or the Premier.  Addressing a media briefing yesterday, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)-led National People’s Power (NPP) MP Vijitha Herath said that if Rajapaksa has fled the country without a resignation letter, then Parliament must elect a new President, according to the legal procedures initiated by the Chief Justice and the Speaker, under the Constitution.  “We are ready to take any responsibility to prevent the country from descending into anarchy. Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa should resign first,” he said.  It was announced on Monday (11) that after Rajapaksa resigns, the Parliament will elect the new President through a vote, according to the Constitution, on 20 July. However, the Speaker’s office said yesterday that the Parliament will not be convened today as Rajapaksa is yet to officially resign.  Wickremesinghe had announced that he would resign from his post of the Premier only to allow an interim Government to take over, defying the demands of many protestors, who called for a simultaneous resignation from him as well. If Wickremesinghe vacates office with Rajapaksa, the Speaker would Constitutionally become the President until the Parliament elects another.  

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