COLOMBO:The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), which is the main constituent of the opposition United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA), has decided to join the National Government which is to be formed by the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG). But it will be a two-year experiment to begin with.
The SLFP’s Central Committee, which met here on Thursday under the Chairmanship of Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, agreed to be part of the National Government, former Minister and Leader of the Opposition Nimal Siripala de Silva told the media.
De Silva said that the SLFP will be in the National Government for two years and will work with other political parties in the Government to address key issues.
“If the National Government concept is successful it will continue after two years. If not then the SLFP will withdraw at the end of two years,” Senior SLFP leader AHM Fowzie added. A seven-member committee has been appointed under former President Chandrika Kumaratunga to work on a policy framework within which the SLFP will work in the National Government. The committee will also decide on the number of ministerial portfolios which need to be allocated to the SLFP.
However, a senior leader of the UPFA, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, told newspersons that many newly elected MPs belonging to the UPFA had met with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday and expressed opposition to the UPFA’s joining the National Government under the UNFGG.
But a member of the SLFP, who is presently a minister in the caretaker government, described the group around Rajapaksa as “rebels” and said that their strength in parliament will come down from 83 to 30 over the issue of National Government.
“Most senior MPs don’t like Rajapaksa, his family rule and the corruption which he allowed. His group had used his popularity among the Sinhalese masses only to get elected,” the Minister said. “If Rajapaksa had not contested, the SLFP would have won the parliamentary elections. Rajapaksa’s contesting had alienated liberals, Tamils and Muslims,” the minister said.