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Sunday, 23 August 2015

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SLFP rift widens

The decision taken by the Central Committee members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) on Friday (21) to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UNP led United National Front (UNF) for Good Governance has caused further divisions within an already split party, broadening the rift within, top party sources said.

Sources said, SLFP stalwarts have vehemently opposed the move as one that goes against the people's mandate given to the SLFP led-UPFA coalition at Monday's polls. However, the group supportive of President Maithripala Sirisena has endorsed the decision taken to form a national government with the UNF for a stipulated time frame and to accept ministerial portfolios of the new government.

"The national government concept has created divisions within the SLFP because now there are two clear groups," a senior SLFP source said.

Meanwhile, several constituent partners of the UPFA rainbow coalition have condemned the move and threatened to function as the main opposition party, insiders said.

The National Freedom Front (NFF) , led by MP Wimal Weerawansa, has already decided to function as a separate group in the opposition benches. UPFA Colombo District parliamentarian, Dinesh Gunawardena, too has declared there was no agreement within the UPFA Executive Committee to support a national government through a MoU signed with the UNP for a period of two years. Gunawardena has decided to request the UPFA to immediately convene its Executive Committee to discuss the matter.

Meanwhile, UPFA Badulla District parliamentarian, Nimal Siripala de Silva said, the SLFP Central Committee, which met on Thursday ( August 20) had extensive discussions on the issue and the prevailing political situation. "The SLFP Central Committee approved the formation of a national government. We also drew the President's attention to the fact that, under any form of government, SLFP policies should be preserved."

A special committee headed by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga is spearheading the formation of the proposed national government.

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