SLMC to contest on Government list
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 02 December 1998, 14:46 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), the powerful partner of the Sri Lanka's ruling PA, said today that it will contest the forthcoming polls to the North-western Provincial Council on a common list, contrary to its earlier decision to go it alone at all future elections.
The President convened a meeting with all the constituent parties of the People's Alliance last night at the Temple Trees, her official residence to mainly discuss the crisis following the SLMC's announcement last Saturday that it will not contest future elections under the PA flag.
The leader of the SLMC was persuaded by the President last night to change his mind, said PA sources this morning.
An SLMC spokesman said this afternoon that the party leader Mr.M.H.M Ashraff, Minister of Ports, Shipping and Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, had acceded to the President's request to reverse the decision. The Politburo of the party will meet tonight to formally adopt the decision.
The General Secretary of the party, Rauf Hakeem told the The Sunday Leader, an independent English weekly paper, that the party decision to contest all future elections was final and that Mr.Ashraff had informed the President about it on Wednesday November 25.
He also told the paper that the chances for wining were better when the SLMC contested elections on its own. "This is not all we receive complaints from the district organisers that it is difficult to work with the SLFPers. So the politburo thought it was best to go solo in the future.
Informed political analysts in Colombo said that the SLMC leader had used the situation to further strengthen his bargaining power vis-ŕ-vis the Sri Lankan President.