Broad political front to protect ‘January 8 mandate’.
CBK to make special announcement next week CBK to make special announcement next week:
Several UPFA stalwarts decided to join the UNP yesterday to form a broad political front for the forthcoming Parliamentary election with the aim of protecting the ‘January 8″ mandate. Several ex-Parliamentarians of the UPFA, including Patali Champika Ranawaka and Rajitha Senaratne, had held discussions with the UNP in this regard,informed political sources told the Daily News.
The group will join the UNP as the “United Font for Good Governance” with the symbol ‘diamond’. They will however contest the election under the United National Party ticket, the Daily News learns UPFA stalwarts namely Rajitha Senaratne, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Arjuna Ranatunga, S.B. Dissanayake, M.K.D.S Gunawardena, Piyasena Gamage, Sarath Amunugama, Reginald Cooray, Sudharshini Fernandopulle, Neomal Perera, Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera and Hirunika Premachandra are likely to join the front, political sources said. Some of the ex-MPs who took part in the discussion have already signed nomination papers to contest from the UPFA. “They will have to withdraw their signatures before joining the new front,” a Parliamentarian involved in the discussions told the Daily News.
Meanwhile, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga too is expected to returtn to Sri Lanka next week. Sources close to the former President said she would make a special statement next week, explaining her position on the Parliamentary election.
To accomodate new groups and ex-UPFA MPs supporting the party, the UNP is now exploring the possibility of contesting the election as the United National Front. A final decision on the matter will be made at the party convention scheduled for today, UNP sources said.
Speaking to the Daily News, a UNP Parliamentarian said there were certain questions about accommodating former Parliamentarian Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera being accommodated in the UNP list.
“However, as of the party constitution of the UNP, Buddhist monks cannot contest for elections. This matter must first be sorted out,” he added. “While President Mathripala Sirisena had chosen party before the country, UNP Leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, as always, had chosen the country before the party. The party’s new move would naturally deprive opportunity for several UNPers to contest at the upcoming election as the new comers have to be accommodated” UNP Western Provincial Councilor Niroshan Padukka commented.
Disna Mudalige and Buddhika Imbulana