ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s former president Chandrika Kumaratunga Tuesday endorsed the candidacy of Sajith Premadasa in a major political realignment ahead of the November 16 polls.
Kumaratunga, who leads a faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), said they will oppose Gotabaya Rajapaksa and work to ensure his defeat.
The former president warned that the Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP) of her successor Mahinda Rajapaksa will dissolve the SLFP if they won the presidential election.
“Our party will have no future if the SLPP wins,” Kumaratunga told thousands of die-hard supporters of the SLFP at the Sugathadasa indoor stadium.
“I have no personal hatred towards the Rajapaksas, but it is they who have tried to put me down.” Kumaratunga said adding that Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as defence ministry secretary had completely withdrawn her security after she left office in 2005.
“I had to bring this matter to the attention of four powerful countries. They intervened and warned the foreign minister at the time that there will be serious consequences if anything happened to me. It is only then that they restored my security.”
She accused President Maithriapala Sirisena of selling out to the SLPP and destroying their SLFP.
Shortly before her address, SLFP stalwart Kumar Welgama said vowed that he will ensure Gotabaya’s defeat and urged SLFP supporters to “vote for any of the 34 other candidates, but not Gotabaya.”
Following the victory at the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Saba election, the SLPP had claimed they together with the SLFP had already won the Presidential election. However, with Kumaratunga throwing her weight behind Premadasa it was unclear that the SLPP may no longer be able to bank on a SLFP bloc vote. (COLOMBO, November 5, 2019)