Colombo Telegraph

Basil Tells Mahinda: Allow UPFA To Support Maithri

Former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa has urged his brother and defeated President Mahinda Rajapaksa to allow the UPFA to extend support to new President Maithripala Sirisena.

Basil, who is one of the main strategists of the Rajapaksa camp has urged his brother not to scuttle President Sirisena’s first days in office since it would be more tactical to claim the new President as a SLFP man and try to make a comeback that way.

When the alternative SLFP extended support to President Sirisena at his Wijerama residence, the group said that Sirisena had contested elections as “SLFP General Secretary”. “Our party chairman and our party general secretary contested the election on Thursday. Our chairman lost, our general secretary won – according to the SLFP constitution our Secretary becomes Chairman” former Minister Wijithamuni Soysa said at a press conference.

Although Mahinda wants to return to Parliament when the session reopens on January 19 Basil is urging his brother to play a tactical game and allow the party to align with Sirisena and elbow out the UNP. Once the SLFP supports Sirisena in full the Sirisena presidency will become a SLFP presidency and it will boost the party’s chances at the general election in April 2015.

With an SLFP presidency most government institutions will once more be in the hands of a blue party man, is Basil Rajapaksa’s thinking.

Basil Rajapaksa’s calculation is that when the constitution is changed and a parliamentary model of governance is adopted, Mahinda Rajapaksa can contest as SLFP leader win the election and become Prime Minister. With executive powers of the presidency abolished by then, Sirisena would have less control that Rajapaksa in the parliamentary system.

However other advisors are urging the President to return to office as soon as possible and take control.

Basil Rajapaksa meanwhile left for the US on Sunday morning. Pictures have emerged of his arrival at LAX today. Reports say he has gone for a medical checkup.



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