I have not fallen politically: Sri Lanka PM

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who outsourced two presidential candidacies and is under pressure to appoint a party man ahead for upcoming presidential polls said he had not fallen politically.

"I have not fallen politically," Wickremesinghe told a gathering at the opening of a vehicle assembly plant in Kalutara Saturday.

"I will also not allow the economy to fall."

He said following Easter Sunday bomb attacks steps were quickly taken to bring back tourists.

Wickremesinghe has re-built relations with the West and travel advisories from countries like UK, which is not only the third largest source of tourists but is also a benchmark for the global travel and insurance industry quickly relaxed their advisories as a terror network was shut down.

Western law enforcement officials were also working with Sri Lanka and had first hand knowledge of progress made, analysts say.

Wickrmesinghe said tourism was recovering rapidly and bookings picking up.

"By September and October normalcy will be restored," Wickremesinghe said.

Wickremesingh’s United National Party is yet to decide on a candidate for the upcoming presidential polls. He had outsouced Presidential candidates twice.  In the 2005 elections Sarath Fonseka was given the candidacy. In 2015 Matihripala Sirisena was brought in.

Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa has already staked his claim at a rally in Badulla backed by a section of seniors and younger members.

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They have called for a candidate to be decided before forming a broader electoral pact with minority parties.
On Saturday there was a meeting of alliance partners where it was agreed that the general secretary would be from the United National Party political sources said.

Policy decisions would be made by a 51 percent majority.

On Monday a meeting of UNP parliamentary group will take place.

Sri Lanka PoduJana Peramuna of Mahinda Rajapaksa has already named Gotabaya Rajapaksa as candidate and the campaign has already started with posters in his support appearing in many place. (Colombo/Aug17/2019)