UPFA MPs to hold first group meeting on April 17

[TamilNet, Thursday, 15 April 2004, 17:53 GMT]
The first parliamentary group meeting of the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) is scheduled to be held on April 17, coinciding with the birthday of the late Prime Minister of Sri lanka, Ms.Srimavo Bandaranaike, the mother of the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunge, sources said.

Ms. Kumaratunge is to preside over the UPFA parliamentary group, the sources said.

Of the 105 member-UPFA parliamentary group, 40 members are from the Marxist Nationalist Jathika Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). The JVP's influence over the other major constituent of the UPFA, the Sri Lanka Freedom party (SLFP), is reported to be waning, political sources said.

The SLFP was founded by President Kumaratunge' s father, Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, who became Prime Minister of the country in 1956. Since then, the party's leadership has been controlled by the Bandaranaike family. When Mr. Bandaranaike was assassinated in 1959 by a Buddhist monk, in less than a year, Mr. Bandaranaike's wife, Mrs. Srimavo Bandaranaike, who was then a housewife with no political experience, was elected Prime Minister. She became widely known as the first woman Prime Minister of any country.

All UPFA parliamentarians have been asked to attend the first meeting with their families, which is considered by the leadership of the UPFA as a get-together after the New Year day, party sources said.

Whether the JVP parliamentarians would attend this event is not known as the differences between these two parties over the question of accepting the ministerial portfolios have not been resolved satisfactorily despite reports to the contrary earlier, JVP sources said.

 

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