Parties seek allies for December polls
[TamilNet, Thursday, 11 October 2001, 19:58 GMT]
Main political parties in Sri Lanka are having talks to form alliances to contest the December 5 general election. The group of ruling People's Alliance dissidents who crossed over to the opposition has already signed a memorandum of understanding with the main opposition United National Party to contest the forthcoming general election.
UNP media spokesman Mr.Karunasena Kodituwakku said Thursday's memorandum of Understanding would be signed with other smaller parties this week.
UNP leader Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe said that all their allies would be contesting under the banner of United National Alliance with the "elephant" as symbol. However the proposed United National Alliance would not be a registered political party.
Political sources in Colombo said that some PA activists are working hard to forge an understanding between the ruling party and the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) in fielding candidates for the December 5 election. The far right Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) led by Mr.Dinesh Gunawardene has already announced that his party would contest the general election under the People's Alliance banner.
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and National Unity Alliance (NUA) - a faction of the SLMC - led by Mr.Rauff Hakeem and Ms Ferial Ashraff respectively are holding discussions separately with their close confidantes to work out a programme to contest the general election. Some leading members of Hakeem's SLMC are of the view that their party should contest the election alone without entering into an understanding with any major parties. Majority of Ms Ferial Ashraff's SLMC feel that they should continue with the People's Alliance, political sources said.