The United National Party has decided to contest the Parliamentary election as the United National Front to accommodate Champika Ranawaka and other ex-UPFA MPs contesting under the party ticket, Colombo Telegraph learns.
According to sources close to the Prime Minster Ranil Wickeremesinghe, nearly 13 ex-UPFA MPs have held discussions with the UNP to contest as a common front at the Parliamentary election against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The group include the large majority of SLFP stalwarts who supported President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential election in January. Several senior MPs who supported former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Parliamentary election had also held discussions to join the “good governance” front.
Among them are S.B. Dissanayake, Reginald Cooray, Piyasena Gamage and Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopully, Colombo Telegraph learns. Provincial Councilor Hirunika Premachandra, who received nominations from the UPFA is also expected to join the “good governance” front.
The theme of their election campaign will be protecting and strengthening the people’s mandate expressed at the residential election on January 08.
The new alliance will be announced at the UNP convention scheduled to take place today in Colombo. The ‘good governance’ will have a meeting with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe tomorrow morning, before the UNP convention, the party sources told Colombo Telegraph.
Political sources said the UPFA group had already informed President Maithripala Sirisena of their decision.
The UNP has already decided to contest the election under its traditional symbol ‘elephant’. Therefore, the new group too will have to contest under the elephant symbol of the UNP.
Political observers say President Maithripala Sirisena will be compelled to support the good governance front at the Parliamentary election as all his close supporters have aligned themselves with the UNP-led alliance.