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Sunday June 20th, 2021

Sri Lanka ruling party MP dismissive of coalition partner’s electoral prospects

ECONOMYNEXT – The apparent cold war between the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and coalition-partner the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is hotting up, with a prominent SLPP lawmaker being openly dismissive of the SLFP’s electoral prospects yesterday.

Top-level leaders in the SLFP such as former president Maithripala Sirisena, general secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara and UPFA general secretary Mahinda Amaraweera won the 2020 parliamentary election only because they ran on the SLPP ticket, parliamentarian S B Dissanayake told reporters yesterday.

In the districts that the SLFP had decided to contest alone, said Dissanayake, the party couldn’t secure even 10% of the votes the SLFP-led United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) had received at the 2018 local government elections.

The then fledgling SLPP won a surprise landslide victory at the 2018 local elections winning 40.47% of the vote, with the ruling United National Front (UNF) coming in at second place with 29.42% followed by the Sirisena-backed UPFA with a mere 12.10%. In August 2020s, the SLPP-led Sri Lanka Nidahas Podujana Sandhanaya or Sri Lanka People’s Freedom Alliance swept the parliamentary polls with a mammoth 59.09% of the vote.

Dissanayake was also critical of SLFP senior vice president Prof Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa who has gone on record expressing his displeasure over what he has called ‘broken promises’ within the SLPP-SLFP alliance.

Related: SLFP yet to decide on PC polls; rank and file have concerns: Rohana Lakshman

Piyadasa, who Dissanayake said has come out strongly against alleged corruption and “terror (භීෂණය)” within the government, hasn’t really understood the allegations.

“I would like to ask him where he has seen this corruption and terror. He has given examples such as the sugar scam, but being a professor, he should’ve first gone into the finer details of the so called scam before talking about it,” said Dissanayake.

Prof Piyadasa told EconomyNext on April 02 that the public is losing confidence in the government due to issues such as the alleged sugar scam which opposition parties continue to claim has cost the country Rs 15.9 billion in tax revenue.

Related: Public losing confidence in govt: SLFP vice president

Dissanayake said that since both parties are in one government, matters such as fraud, corruption and terror must be discussed with care.

Various spokespersons for the SLFP including Piyadasa have declared their wishes for the party to contest outside the alliance in the upcoming provincial council elections. Dissanayake said the party should take a good look at last year’s results before it decides to go it alone.

“All minor parties in the government naturally think about nominating more candidates for the provincial polls [from the alliance]. They adopt various strategies to this end, one of which is threatening to leave the government or announcing their intention to contest alone. We have no problem with any party trying to increase their nominations by using such slogans,” he said.

However, having faced a national election together, those who point fingers at their own government –educated people in particular – must carefully study their own allegations before going public with them, he added. (Colombo/May07/2021)


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