SLFP to announce candidate for SL Presidency

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 27 July 2005, 04:18 GMT]
Sri Lanka's President Ms.Chandrika Kumaratunge is likely to announce the names of candidates for President of Sri Lanka and the post of Prime Minister of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) at the central working committee of the SLFP which is scheduled to be held on Thursday or Friday, government sources said.

The names of Presidential and Prime Ministerial candidates would be announced amid controversy over holding Presidential election this year. This decision was taken at a discussion held Tuesday evening for more than three hours at the Presidential House with Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge in the chair, political sources said.

Hence the party leadership has summoned the SLFP central working committee and the members of the special committee appointed to work out a plan to conduct future Presidential election campaign, sources said.

Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge holds the view that she could continue for another year till December 2006 in the post of Executive Presidency, as her six-year tenure started only in 2000 when she took a private oath. The elections was, however, held in 1999 on the fifth year of her first presidential term.

Amid this controversy, the UNP has already launched its Presidential election campaign naming Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, former Prime Minister as its candidate and recently held a 126 km long foot march named " Operation Peoples' Power" from Dondra Point to Colombo to show the support of the people, sources said.

Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse currently holds the portfolio of Prime Minister and aspiring for the Presidency has been holding meetings and discussions with his loyalists to get Presidential nomination against his rival Mr. Anura Bandaranaike, Minister of Tourism Development and the brother of the incumbent President, sources said.

As the internal rift in the SLFP daily widens over the selection of the party Presidential candidate, several party stalwarts who attended the discussion held Tuesday evening stressed the importance to announce the names of the Presidential and Prime Ministerial candidates immediately. They urged the party to leave the controversy over the timing of the election in December this year or next year to the decision of the Commissioner of Election who has been empowered to do so according to 1987 Constitution, political sources said.


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