Four political parties to join UPFA

[TamilNet, Sunday, 01 February 2004, 12:43 GMT]
Four more political parties, Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP), National Unity Alliance (NUA), Sri Lanka Mahajana Party (SLMP) and Deshiya Jathika Vimukthi Peramuna (DJVP) have expressed willingness to join the recently formed political party United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA). UPFA was formed by the Sri Lanka Freedom party and Sinhala nationalist-Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) with the objective of defeating the ruling United national Front government at the next general elections, political sources said.

Memorandum of Understanding will be signed by the leaders of these parties at a ceremony at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) Monday, political sources said.

The MEP is led by Mr.Dinesh Gunawardene, who is one of the sons of the founder of the MEP in 1956 Mr. Phillip Gunawardene.

The NUA is led by Ms Ferial Ashraff, wife of late Mr.M.H.M.Ashraff who was the founder of the NUA and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress. In the power struggle that ensued following the demise of Mr. Ashraff who was holding a ministerial portfolio at that time of his death in the then PA government Mr.Rauff Hakim became the leader of the SLMC and Ms Ferial Ashraff the NUA leader.

Mr.Wijeya Kumaratunge formed the SLMP in 1985 along with his wife Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge following the resignation from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge later rejoined the SLFP and became the president of SLFP. The SLMP is still functioning as a political party.

Another son Mr.Philip Gunawardene, Mr. Indika Gunawardene, is in the Communist Party. He was minister in the then Peoples Alliance (PA) government till 2001 December. Batty Weerakoon, a national list MP and former Minister of Justice and later Minister of Science and Technology in the PA government is the leader of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP).

LSSP and CP are constituents of PA but have decided not to join the UPFA, which they described as a political alliance formed to capture power and not to solve burning problems of the country, sources said.

Meanwhile, the central working committee of the SLFP is to meet Tuesday evening under the presidentship of Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge to work out a political strategy for the political alliance UPFA.

The committee would study in detail the current political situation and future activities of the UPFA, a SLFP source said.


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