Recent News


President Maithripala Sirisena addressing editors and media heads at the President’s House yesterday.Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera looks on. Picture by Udesh Gunaratne

SLFP Central Committee to decide in december :


President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday assured that he would run the government until 2020, irrespective of who walks in and walks out.

Addressing a breakfast meeting with newspaper editors and media heads at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo yesterday, the President said he was confident that the unity government would continue until 2020, in accordance with the mandate he received at the Presidential Election in January, 2015.

“Look at the composition of the current Parliament;The UNP has 106 seats and the UPFA has 95 seats. No one has a simple majority to form a government on their own. Any government, under the current circumstances, has to be a coalition government,” the President said, while adding that the Central Committee of the SLFP will make a final decision in December on renewing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UNP.

“However, I am confident that the current government will continue until 2020. If not, there has to be some coup or conspiracy!” the President stressed.

Commenting on attempts to create divisions in the SLFP, the President said only the SLFP would sustain as a political entity.

“Only the SLFP has a vision and a policy framework. The party is guided by them. Political parties with individual agendas cannot function in the long run,” the President said, citing examples from the country’s post-independence political history.

“Both the SLFP and the UNP struggled with internal issues in the parties.

In the early 70s, former UNP Leader J.R. Jayewardene showed inclination to join the United Front government. If not for the opposition shown by Felix Dias Bandaranaike and N.M. Perera, JR would have joined the Sirimavo Bandaranaike government.”

“During the Premadasa era, Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmudali broke away from the government and formed a new party.The SLFP also had two breakaway parties namely the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party and the Bahujana Nidahas Peramuna. Before that, Rukman Senanayake formed his own party. These issues have been there for so many decades,” the President explained.

He said the formation of a unity government was a new experience for both political parties who have been on the “warpath” for nearly seven decades.

“Politicians of both parties have expressed remarks violating the collective responsibility of the government. In some instances, I have even warned some members of my party. But, it is clear that wrongdoers in this government will be severely dealt with, regardless of the party they represent.”

The President said former Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe was removed following a request by the UNP.

“It is the nature of the agreement between the two parties. The two political parties should make final decisions on the ministries assigned to them. Even the decision to place the two lotteries boards under the Foreign Ministry was made based on the same policy,” he added.