Wickremesinghe to meet Rajapakse amid speculation of party split
[TamilNet, Saturday, 13 January 2007, 19:26 GMT]
Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, leader of the main opposition United National Party (UNP), is to meet Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse next week amid speculation that a group of UNP parliamentarians are likely to cross over to the government side and will accept new positions as ministers with cabinet rank, political sources in Colombo said.
Mr.Tissa Attanayake, UNP general secretary Saturday confirmed that a one-to-one meeting between Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe and Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse is to take place next week regarding the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the UNP and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), main constituent of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance last year, sources said.
UNP headquarters sources said that majority of party activists are pressing the leadership to abandon the MoU with the SLFP if Mr.Rajapakse offers cabinet portfolios for UNP dissident parliamentarians.
UNP dissidents who are likely to cross over to the government include Mr.Karu Jayasuriya, Mr.Milinda Morogoda, and Mr.Rajitha Senaratne, Colombo media sources speculate.
Political sources in Colombo said that Mr.Rajapakse is widely expected to reshuffle his cabinet next week to accommodate UNP dissidents.
The proposed meeting between Mr.Wickremasinghe and Mr.Rajapakse next week will likely decide the fate of the MoU, sources added.