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Thursday September 29th, 2022

Sri Lanka Freedom Party yet to decide on joining all-party govt

ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is willing to support an all-party government through parliamentary committees but no decision has been made yet on taking up cabinet positions, SLFP general secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara said.

“We will support an all-party government as was proposed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, but we are not willing to take any positions in the government,” said Jayasekara, speaking to EconomyNext on Monday August 15.

“We are actually discussing this within the party, and we will arrive at a firm decision on it,” he said, adding that the party plans to meet on Monday to discuss the matter.

President Wickremesinghe has invited all parties represented in parliament to come together to form an all-party government to push reforms needed to steer Sri Lanka out of its worst economic crisis in 74 years of independence.

The president has already held discussions with party leaders on several occasions and a number of parties have agreed to form an all-party government subject to conditions while others have declined the offer. The main opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) has said it will extend its support through parliamentary committees.

Opposition and SJB leader Sajith Premadasa earlier this month said the SJB has agreed to work through ‘an empowered system of parliamentary committees’.

“Held far reaching discussions with the president together with my team. Agreed to work through an empowered system of parliamentary committees. Positive about joining forces for the sake of the country. Shall do so without ministerial positions, perks and privileges,” he said.

The SLFP general secretary, meanwhile, said his party does not wish to collaborate with familiar faces accused of corruption and calls for new faces to represent the government.

“We can’t work with the former corrupt leaders in the future. We ask for a system to get some new faces removing the old ones,” he said.

“We will support the government through committees like the SJB, but there is no decision on taking positions yet.”

SLFP seniors Nimal SIripala de Silva and Mahinda Amaraweera disobeyed a party decision to not join the government when they opted to take up cabinet positions in the Wickremesinghe administration. Asked for comment on this, Jayasekara said both ministers are still party members, but the SLFP will go ahead with disciplinary action as previously warned. (Colombo/Aug15/2022)

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