Colombo Telegraph

Tensions High Between MS & MR: Sirisena “Threateningly Demands” Presidential Candidacy Of Proposed SLFP-SLPP Alliance

Tensions are high in the Rajapaksa camp as President Maithripala Sirisena has threateningly demanded former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to expedite the formation of the proposed alliance and nominate him as its Presidential candidate.

Colombo Telegraph learns that Sirisena has informed the Rajapaksa family that time “is running out” with cases against the Rajapaksas are reaching the trial stage.

The three-judge bench of the Permanent High Court Trial, last Monday, dismissed objections filed by President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva against the court’s jurisdiction to proceed with the trial of Gotabaya Rajapaksa for charges including criminal misappropriation of Rs. 33 million of public funds for the construction of a mausoleum for Rajapaksa’s parents and decided to hear evidence.

Sirisena’s proposition to the Rajapaksas is to go for a Presidential election before the matters surrounding the court cases and investigations get further complicated, a source familiar with the issue said. Sirisena is on a desperate mission to secure candidacy from the SLPP/SLFP alliance and serve a second term.

Although the SLFP and the SLPP have agreed in principle that a common alliance should be formed to contest future national elections, no real progress has so far been made in this regard. The Sirisena camp is of the view that former President Rajapaksa is moving “too slowly” on forming an alliance.

Former President Rajapaksa has still not responded to Sirisena’s latest demand, a spokesman from the SLPP said. He added that Rajapaksa was “discomforted” with the idea of fielding Sirisena as the party’s candidate at the next Presidential election.

Former Minister and SLPP “Chief Ideologue” Basil Rajapaksa, meanwhile, has strictly shot down the idea of Sirisena’s candidacy. Speaking to the media in Matara a few days ago, Basil Rajapaksa said an SLPP member would take oaths as the next President of the country on December 09.

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