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.