ECONOMYNEXT – Anura Kumara Dissanayake, leader of the National People’s Power (NPP), a leftist alliance dominated by the Marxist-Leninist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), is the only “common candidate” who can defeat incumbent president Ranil Wickremesinghe at a future poll, JVP general secretary Tilvin Silva said.
Speaking at an event on Saturday September 02, Silva said there is no need to look for a common candidate.
“If anyone says you need a common candidate to defeat Ranil Wickremesinghe, that person is already here,” said Silva.
Dissanayake, Silva claimed, is the only leader capable of defeating not just Wickremesinghe but the “antagonistic system” maintained by Wickremesinghe and former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and the like.
“There is no need to look for a common candidate,” he said.
Silva’s insistence that the JVP-NPP leader can defeat Wickremesinghe at the presidential election expected to be held in late 2024 comes amid at least one opinion poll showing a decline in Dissanayake’s net-favourability rating.
A Sri Lanka Opinion Tracker Survey (SLOTS) polling by the Institute for Health Policy (IHP) for July 2023 showed that Dissanayake’s net favourability rating had seen a dip, with opposition leader Sajith Premadasa making a marginal gain while President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s rating stayed static.
Dissanayake recently said at an NPP meeting that successive governments in Sri Lanka have left behind a country riddled with corruption and indebted to the world, despite allegations that his own party has contributed to the status quo.
Fighting corruption has been the focal point of a campaign targeting a future election by Dissanayake’s NPP, which saw a rise in its popularity in the wake of the Aragalaya people’s protests of 2022 that unseated then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
‘Fighting corruption’ and ‘recovering stolen assets’ have been popular slogans since the Aragalaya protests in Sri Lanka and the NPP has made it its central theme in its bid for power. Increasingly, the leftist outfit has also adopted a position that’s cautiously critical of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the reforms the international lender has prescribed for Sri Lanka in exchange for a 2.9 billion-dollar bailout.