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SLFP divided over proposal for a unitary UNP govt; Here are the two sides

The SLFP led coalition in the unity government have been split into two camps following the proposal by the UNP to form a unitary government led by the latter.

Although the UNP as a party had decided to form a unitary government by last evening (13), discussions between the President and the diplomatic community has led to the appointment of a special committee to decide the future course of action of the government after considering the prevailing political situation.

It was also decided that the country should remain stable until the committee arrives at a decision.

 UNP will accept Members coming from the SLFP

However, at the Cabinet meeting that was held today, the current political climate had reinforced the need to form a unitary UNP government and as such, the UNP had conveyed its inclination to accept Ministers from the SLFP led alliance who were willing to join them.

According to reliable sources, after the Cabinet meeting today (14), a special meeting was held between the Ministers of the SLFP led Freedom at the Presidential Secretariat.

Let’s go to reaffirm the January 8 mandate - SLFP strongmen

At that meeting, a group had proposed that they work to reaffirm the mandate that was given to the government on January 8, which also included the UNP.

This group included Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Mahinda Amaraweera, Duminda Dissanayake, Sarath Amunugama, Mahinda Samarasinghe, Vijith Vijithamuni Soysa and Faizer Mustapha.

 Thilanga propositions flower bud when Susil says NO

The group had pointed out that it is imperative for them to support the UNP government on the basis of the mandate that was given by 6.2 million Sri Lankans and that it would also provide them with an opportunity to protect the President politically.

They vehemently opposed the notion of joining the Rajapaksa camp as both the SLFP and the UPFA will be at serious peril if such a situation were to occur.

However, a group including Minister Susil Premajayantha had protested against this suggestion stating that that they could not support the UNP on any ground. They also pointed out that it is against party principles and that it’s more important to remain in Parliament.

In this backdrop, Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala has stated that instead of working under a unitary UNP government or the current unity government, they could set up their own government by forming an alliance with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). A proposal to this effect was forwarded by the SLPP and as such, there is a real possibility of displaying the majority of 113 parliamentarians without any problems.

President's position

However, a majority of the SLFP led alliance had not agreed to the proposal, and posited that it was more dignified to work independently in Parliament than to go back to the Mahinda faction. They pointed out that it is important for the party to obtain the role of the Leader of the Opposition, thereby acting as the real opposition in Parliament.

The President who listened intently to both sides had informed the group that anyone was free to join the UNP and the rest were welcome to act independently in Parliament.

Accordingly, around 10 MPs of the SLFP have agreed to join a UNP government while the remaining 32 MPs are expected to act independently and vie for the Leader of the Opposition.

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