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UPFA said divided over selection of new Prime Minister

[TamilNet, Monday, 05 April 2004, 16:08 GMT]
Sri Lanka President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge Monday put off the naming of a new Prime Minister of the thirteenth parliament for Tuesday due to the differences of opinion prevailing among the leaders of constituent parties of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA). The meeting of the UPFA leaders held Monday concluded without coming to a unanimous decision on the Prime Minister nominee, political sources said. Wire reports said later, however, that Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse, the opposition leader in the previous parliament, had been chosen as the new PM.

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna that obtained 41 seats in the new parliament on Friday poll strongly supported the President's International Affiars Advisor, Mr.Lakshman Kadirgamar, for the post of Prime Minister. Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge also has spoken in favour of Mr.Kadirgamar at Monday's meeting attended by constituent party leaders, political sources said.

Meanwhile, senior leaders of the Sri Lanka Freedom party (SLFP), the major constituent of the UPFA, wanted the former leader of opposition, Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse, to be appointed as the Prime Minister. They have also suggested to Ms. Kumaratunge to hold a secret ballot to select the PM nominee, sources said.

However Presidential secretariat sources said the President would name the new Prime Minister Tuesday. Thereafter the new PM would submit the names of the cabinet ministers to the President, sources said.

The Associated Press reported later on Monday, however, that the President had chosen Mr. Rajapakse as the new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

 

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