Sri Lanka’s Ruling Coalition To Hold Internal Talks To Iron Out Differences

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The powerful Gotabaya Rajapaksa family has five members in Cabinet.

Colombo:

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will hold crucial political talks on Monday for the first time aimed at ironing out differences with its constituent partner SLFP.

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), led by former president Maithripala Sirisena, had supported the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) for a broader coalition to defeat the then ruling party candidate Sajith Premadasa of the United National Party (UNP).

However, since Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the SLPP coalition’s win in the August 2020 parliamentary election, the SLFP leaders have been complaining of indifference by the SLPP leadership and its second level of leaders.

It is for the first time that Gotabaya Rajapaksa will be holding internal talks with any partner of the ruling alliance since he was elected president in November 2019.

SLFP leader Maithripala Sirisena and most of his senior colleagues have been ignored by the 72-year-old Gotabaya Rajapaksa for ministerial positions and the grassroots electoral organisers are unhappy about the domination in the respective localities by the SLPP men who hold government positions.

“We will be meeting the President this morning to discuss the progress of our electoral agreements. We did sign agreements with the SLPP and another with the President,” senior SLFP member Duminda Dissanayake told reporters.

The SLPP government has 15 SLFP members and their support would be crucial for Gotabaya Rajapaksa to retain two-thirds of the 150 seats plus the majority in the 225-member assembly.

However, the SLFP leaders have said they would not rock the boat by denying Gotabaya Rajapaksa his majority.

“It is our own government which we helped to set up,” said Mahinda Amaraweera, the minister of environment and a senior SLFP member.

Last week, it was reported that Gotabaya Rajapaksa may seek another term in office.

The powerful Rajapaksa family has five members in Cabinet which is headed by Gotabaya.

Besides, several Gotabaya Rajapaksa family members hold junior minister positions and other key positions in the administration.

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa-led SLPP won by a landslide in the parliamentary elections held last year that allowed the influential family to consolidate power for the next five years.



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