Mahinda says his alliance will not have the issues faced by the UNP

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at a party event in Kandy last week/PMD handout

ECONOMYNEXT – Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa says that the dissension within the United National party-led alliance will not manifest itself inside the Sri Lanka Nidahas Podujana Alliance (SLNPA) led by him.

“We will not allow that type of issue to enter our political formation,” he told a meeting of the SLNPA Executive Committee Tuesday, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said.

The alliance meeting was attended by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former President Maithripala Sirisena and the General Secretary of the formation and founder of the SLPP Basil Rajapaksa.

The Prime Minister is the Leader of the alliance while former President Sirisena is Chairman.

Addressing the members Basil Rajapaksa pointed out that nine registered political parties are in the alliance at present and five more parties are due to join up.

These parties are the Eelam People’s Democratic Party, Ceylon Workers’ Congress, National Congress, Tamil People’s Liberation Organisation and the United People’s Party. This will make the alliance a formation of 14 parties with representation across the country, he added.

Dinesh Gunewardena was appointed the Deputy Chairman of the alliance while Wimal Weerawansha was appointed National Organiser, and Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Tissa Vitarana and Dew Gunesekara Vice Presidents.

The Prime Minister addressed the new office-bearers and emphasized that this wide coalition can capture power at the upcoming Parliamentary General elections.

“We need to carry forward the manifesto of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and for that, we need to win a two-thirds majority and strengthen his hand,” the PM said.

The alliance, for now, does not have a Muslim-based party as a partner.

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The Prime Minister has already framed the election as a tussle between the “born patriots and the born traitors.” Clearly the SLNPA will run a race-based campaign.

Based on the results of the November Presidential elections, the SLPP-led alliance should win a simple majority in Parliament comfortably, although there would need to be an extra push to win 150 seats to get to a two-thirds on its own.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has repeatedly said that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution brought in after his brother lost the 2015 elections creating Independent Commissions and handing over Executive Powers to the Prime Minister should be repealed. (Colombo, February 26, 2020)

-Arjuna Ranawana

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