Monday, January 12, 2015

SLFP splits

  • Parallel central committee meetings to appoint MR and MS party leader
  • Several UPFA MPs pledge support to President Sirisena
  • SLFP members meet Sirisena’s residence parallel to SLFP HQ meet chaired by defeated President
  • Mahinda Rajapaksa sits at media conference says majority support with him
In what appeared to be the beginning of the real battle of the blues, a faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party attempted to wrest control, naming President Maithripala Sirisena as the Chairman.
A section of the 55- member SLFP Central Committee said it met at Sirisena’s Wijerama Mawatha residence and passed a resolution appointing the new President Chairman of the party.

“According to the SLFP constitution, if any SLFP member becomes president of the country, he immediately becomes chairman of our party,” former deputy minister and attorney-at-law Faizer Mustapha told reporters.

He said the quorum of Central Committee meeting at Sirisena’s residence last afternoon had also nominated Duminda Dissanayake as General Secretary and Janaka Bandara Tennakoon who has also pledged support to the new President as national organizer of the SLFP. Senior party member S.B. Nawinna had been appointed Treasurer, Dissanayake announced at a packed media briefing at President Sirisena’s residence.

 The same thing had been done when President Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected to office in 2005 to oust former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the SLFP members said.

“A majority of SLFP Central Committee members had endorsed Sirisena for party chairman,” Mustapha said, but declined to give numbers.

He said the “Central Committee” had declared Maithripala Sirisena’s suspension from the SLFP null and void. “As such Maithripala Sirisena’s position as General Secretary stands and he can summon a central committee meeting,” Mustapha explained.

Former Deputy Minister and SLFP Trincomalee District MP M.K.D.S. Gunewardane said that if the SLFP constitution stipulates that when a SLFP wins the presidency he becomes party leader, then it stands to reason that when he loses the presidency he loses the leadership.

“As far as we are concerned, the SLFP Chairman and the SLFP General Secretary contested the presidential election. The Chairman lost, the General Secretary won, so we are now supporting him for leadership,” former Wildlife Minister Wijithamuni Soysa told journalists.

He acknowledged that most of the group present at the media briefing had worked against Sirisena at the election.

UPFA MPs Sarath Amunugama, Athauda Seneviratne, Reginald Cooray, T.B. Ekanayake, Wijith Wijayamuni Soysa, S.B. Navinna, Jagath Pushpakumara, Dayasiri Jayasekera and Piyasena Gamage pledged support to President Sirisena yesterday.

SLFP MP Sanath Jayasuriya has also pledged his support to the new President.
Eyewitnesses said SLFP Vice President Vignayamoorthy Muralidharan had also been spotted at Sirisena’s residence before the press briefing.

SLFP CC endorses Mahinda as Leader

Majority with us, says Nimal, Susil, Anura and Mahinda

A parallel Central Committee meeting was taking place at the SLFP headquarters at Darley Road under the chairmanship of ousted President Mahinda Rajapaksa at 5.00 p.m. yesterday.

The meeting had been tense, reports said, with attempts being made to bring the defeated President to Parliament next week and pledge majority support to him.

Addressing a press briefing after the meeting, UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayanth noted that the majority of Central Committee members were with them and they had endorsed President Rajapaksa as party leader.

The former President also made a rare appearance at the news conference, urging reporters to count the number of MPs who were seated in the audience chairs at the briefing.
UNP members express displeasure at Karuna finding Maithri

Several members of the UNP have approached the party leadership regarding the entry of Karuna Amman to the Maithripala Sirisena camp.

The members complained that the previous Government’s coddling of Karuna had been a hot button campaign issue for the Opposition campaign during the election.

 It learns that the UNP leadership had urged the members to remain calm, assuring them that many of the developments were aimed at consolidating a majority in Parliament. Such people would not be granted positions or prominent places in the new administration they assured.
UPFA Mayor says Mahinda will be back in Parliament

Sparking speculation in political circles, the UPFA’s Dehiwala Mount Lavinia Mayor Danasiri Amaratunge has revealed on his official Facebook page that ousted President Mahinda Rajapaksa would be returning to Parliament as Opposition Leader soon.

“So many people are crying and asking him to come back to politics,” Amaratunge said in a post featuring the defeated President.

Amaratunge said large crowds had come to see he former President at his Carlton Home in Medamulana.

“He will be coming back to the parliament as the Leader of the opposition to safeguard the SLFP. I am waiting to work under him again,” the UPFA Mayor said.

The new Government is buzzing with speculation that the Rajapaksa regime may attempt to stage an illegal comeback in the coming weeks.

Addressing crowds of people in Tangalle on Saturday, President Rajapaksa told people that the “Eelam areas” had ensured President Maithripala Sirisena’s victory at the election.

“I am not defeated,” he said.

 By Dharisha Bastians

Source : FT

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