President and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) chief Maithiripala Sirisena’s choice of lawmakers for the national list has triggered a row within his coalition United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA).
Smaller parties of the UPFA, in which SLFP is the largest constituent, are upset over the President’s decision.
The development has even cast doubt on the continued existence of the alliance.
Mr. Sirisena, disregarding the list given by the UPFA to the Elections Department in July, has included six defeated candidates and removed members of other constituents. D.E.W. Gunasekara, Communist Party leader, whose name had been removed from the latest list, termed Mr. Sirisena’s action as an instance of “breach of trust, political immorality and gross injustice.” Vasudeva Nanayakkara of the Democratic Left Front said “this was unheard of in any parliamentary democracy.”
Udaya Gamanpila, leader of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, accused the President of having “surrendered” the SLFP to the UNP.
However, Thilanga Sumathipala, who lost in Colombo but had been nominated to Parliament through the national list, justified the President’s decision.
“Many of us, who are close to the President, lost the polls because of machinations of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It is not that people did not want us,” he explained. Mr. Sumathiapala recalled that in the 2010 Parliamentary elections and 2009 polls for the Western Provincial Council, he had won hands down.
S.B. Dissanayake and Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, both former Ministers, and Angajan Ramanathan were among those who made it to the national list of the SLFP.
Mr. Gunasekara felt that the UPFA would be allowed to have its natural death whereas Mr. Nanayakkara said the alliance was getting divided as there were now three groups. One of them would join the government and another, which included him, would oppose the government. The third group was “neither here nor there.”