Our Government is through democratic means - Mahinda
We have already discussed with 19 political parties, and
expect to further strengthen the alliance in collaboration with some
Tamil and Muslim political parties. We have held discussions with a
number of political parties, which discussions still pursist. We
have already increased the number of constituent parties in the UPFA.
ll join us shortly.
UPFA General Secretary and Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development
Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said, 95 percent of the SLFP MPs in the Joint
Opposition (JO) don’t agree to form a separate political alliance. A few SLFP
MPs and other small political parties in the JO are keen to form a separate
alliance for their mere political survival. In an interview with the Sunday
Observer, Minister Amaraweera said, it is an attempt by a few small parties in
the JO to increase the number of their MPs in the legislature. These small
political parties in the UPFA are well aware if they contest separately they are
not able to win even a Pradeshiya Sabha seat.
Q: The JO says, they would form a separate alliance to contest the forthcoming
Local Government Elections. Will this affect the SLFP led UPFA’s vote base ?
A: We can’t say it would not have any impact on our vote base. If the JO
contests under a separate alliance, it would pave the way to reduce the UPFA’s
vote base to some extent. This would be advantageous to the UNP.
Q: Have the SLFP dissidents in the JO informed the SLFP hierarchy that they would
form a separate political party or alliance?
A: They have not officially or unofficially informed us about forming any
alliance or separate political party. I am aware that 95 percent of the SLFP MPs
in the JO don’t agree to form a separate political alliance. A few SLFP MPs and
other small political parties in the JO are keen to form a separate alliance for
their mere political survival. It is an attempt by the small parties in the JO
to increase the number of their MPs.
Q: In your view, is there a need to form a separate alliance or political party at
A: No such need arises at this juncture. The National Unity Government has just
completed one year. Forming a separate alliance at this juncture would not bring
any tangible result. As we have witnessed, after an electoral defeat of a
political party, this kind of political alliances have been formed. The SLFP
Presidential Candidate was defeated at the last Presidential Election, and the
UPFA could not secure a majority at the last Parliamentary Election. In such
circumstances, it is to be expected to have new divisions and political
Q: Do you think forming a separate alliance is a deliberate attempt by the other
parties in the JO to create a division in the SLFP?
A: Of course, it is very clear. We could see this at the last Parliamentary
Election as well. Some constituent parties in the UPFA, such as the MEP and NFF
increased the number of their MPs. While it has become detrimental to the SLFP,
it is advantageous to other coalition parties in the UPFA. These small political
parties in the UPFA are well aware that, if they contest separately they cannot
win even a Pradeshiya Sabha seat. That is why they attempt to create divisions
in the SLFP, to gain their narrow political objectives.
Q: Quite a number of MPs in the JO have been charged with various bribery and
corruption cases. Do you see the forming of a separate alliance as an attempt by
these MPs to cover up their cases?
A: There is a public perception to that effect, because, when they form an
alliance or a new party, these MPs in the JO could claim that allegations
levelled against them are because they formed a new party.
Another group may think, by forming a new party they could seek assistance from
the other side to settle their matters.
There is also a group which would benefit if the SLFP is divided, so that they
attempt to create rifts in the SLFP.
Q: You have said, the UPFA would form the most powerful and strong political
alliance in the near future. Could you explain?
A: We have already discussed with 19 political parties, and expect to further
strengthen the alliance in collaboration with some Tamil and Muslim political
parties. We have held discussions with a number of political parties, which
discussions still pursist. We have already increased the number of constituent
parties in the UPFA. More political parties will join us shortly. The CWC and
former Minister Athaullah’s party have already joined the UPFA rainbow
Q: You have said, the UPFA is ready to align with any political party in the North
or South which would accept the policies of the SLFP led UPFA coalition. Your
A: In our alliance, there is no room for racist political parties. Tamil and
Muslim political parties represent their community and that is not an issue for
us. The SLFP led UPFA has its own policies. If any political party accepts these
policies, we are ready to discuss with them. We have realized that an election
cannot be won with only Sinhala Buddhist votes. The support of minor political
parties is essential to secure victory at an election.
Q: President Maithripala Sirisena at the recently concluded anniversary
celebrations of the SLFP categorically stated that the SLFP would contest the
upcoming LG Elections under the ‘hand’ symbol. Under these circumstances, how do
you look at the attempt by the JO to form a separate alliance or a political
A: If we wish we can use the ‘hand’ as the symbol of the UPFA as well. Using the
‘hand’ symbol does not mean the SLFP alone will contest the election. If anybody
in the JO attempts to form another alliance, that is not to gain victory but to
give advantage to some other party. It is also an attempt to defeat the SLFP at
future elections. We have decided to contest under the ‘hand’ symbol, but other
constituent parties in the UPFA should endorse it. A majority of the coalition
parties in the UPFA has no objection to this.
Q: Do you still call upon the SLFP dissidents in the JO to iron out their
differences and join hands with the SLFP?
A: Certainly. The President has already stressed the need to win a future
election and form an SLFP led Government. If the SLFP MPs in the JO desire to
win the next election and form our own Government, they should join the SLFP to
ensure its victory. Most of the SLFP MPs in the JO would like to join the SLFP.
But,they don’t act according to their conscience and are handled by other
forces, so that they are unable to make their own decisions. As the President
said, our sole intention should be to form our own Government through democratic