COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena is slowly but steadily gaining control over the opposition United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and its main constituent, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) which, during and prior to the August 17 parliamentary elections were under the de facto control of former Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa.
On Friday, the pro-Sirisena and pro-Rajapaksa factions in the UPFA agreed on a list of people to be nominated to the 12 “National List” parliamentary seats allotted to the party following the August 17 elections. Among the nominees are those of the Sirisena faction who had failed to get elected.
The 12 nominees are: Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Thilanga Sumathipala, Sarath Amunugama, Dilan Perera, Vijith Vijayamuni Soysa, SB Dissanayake, Mahinda Samarasinghe, Malith Jayatilake, MLAM Hisbullah, Angajan Ramanathan, AHM Fowzie and Faizer Mustapha.
On Thursday, the Central Committee of the SLFP met, and agreed to accept Sirisena’s proposal to join, for two years, a National Government proposed by the ruling United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. But Rajapaksa boycotted the meeting.
A six-member committee, headed by former president Chandrika Kumaratunga, was set up to negotiate the terms of participation.
According to Rajapaksa loyalists, 65 of the 95 UPFA MPs are with him on this and other issues.