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SJB resolves intra-party wrangling over National List, names are unchanged

ECONOMYNEXT – The main opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) has sent in its letter nominating seven members to the National List to the Elections Commission to be appointed Members of Parliament several days after announcing the list on social media.

This has ended intra-party wrangling over the names.

On Saturday the party announced that Imtiaz Bakeer Markar, Ranjit Madduma Bandara, Harin Fernando, Eran Wickramaratne, Tissa Attanayake, Mayantha Dissanayake and Diana Gamage were the nominees.

But due to objections raised by some of the constituent parties of the alliance, namely those led by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress’s Rauff Hakeem and parties led by Mano Ganesan the final approval of the list was delayed.

A party leaders meeting held on Tuesday over the issue failed to resolve the issue although an agreement that party leader Sajith Premadasa should take the final decision was agreed to.

At that meeting sources present in the room told EconomyNext that Ganesan had said they need to reach a consensus as Premadasa’s leadership needs to be strengthened.

One source said although the decision as to who was on the list had been taken, Premadasa as a “democratic leader wanted agreement from all parties before the final list was sent.”

Yesterday a final meeting was held with the SLMC leaders and by evening a decision was taken after the leaders decided that it was more important to “look at the big picture.”

A press release described Bakeer Markar as a lawyer and social activist, Ranjit Madduma Bandara is a former minister and General Secretary of the party, Harin Fernando businessman and former Minister, Eran Wickramaratne Banker and former State Minister, Tissa Attanayake National Organiser, Mayantha Dissanayake and Diana Gamage Actor and attorney who is the Deputy Secretary of the party.

The fledgeling SJB, a breakaway faction of the United National Party emerged as the biggest opposition group garnering 54 seats in the 225-member unicameral parliament.

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The parent UNP was crushed, failing to win a single seat in the Parliament through the direct vote, and won just one seat through the National List.

The governing Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna won a landslide victory gathering 145 members under its own flag and grabbing five more seats from allies to give it an unassailable 150 seat two-thirds majority in the House.

(Colombo, August 13, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana