Parties in a rush to complete nomination lists

Published : 8:50 am  July 8, 2015 | No comments so far |  | 


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Amidst the agreement to nominate former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the general election under the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), the party is facing many a challenge to screen the numerous applicants for nominations. 

The UPFA is a grouping of several political parties comprising the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna, the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party, the Desavimukthi Janatha Party, the National Unity Alliance and the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP).

In addition the National Freedom Party, the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and the Communist Party have over the years been allies of the UPFA.  The Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, a breakaway group of the Jathika Hela Urumaya has also expressed its desire to contest the upcoming general election on the UPFA ticket .

The UPFA allies have begun bargaining for slots for their candidates with some party seniors describing it as a move to claim the proverbial pound of flesh. Its nomination board is faced with a herculean task to take on board all those aspiring to contest under the betel leaf symbol.

 For this election, the LSSP and the CP have handed over a combined list to the UPFA nomination board seeking to contest from 15 districts while the MEP led by former Dinesh Gunawardane is seeking 10 slots for its members.

During the past few weeks, there was speculation that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), the largest and dominant ally of the UPFA, would go it alone over the dissatisfaction by some members on the decision to nominate Mr. Rajapaksa. However, SLFP Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa put to rest such speculation when he announced that the party would contest as an ally of the UPFA as before.  He has conveyed this decision to the Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya.  

The UPFA is also hard pressed to make sure that those loyal to President Sirisena are not left out of the nomination lists. UPFA Secretary Susil Premajayantha said doors were open for Ministers M.K.D.S. Gunawardane, Rajitha Senaratne, Duminda Dissanayake and Western provincial councillor Hirunika Premachandra. These members joined President Sirisena prior to the presidential election and campaigned for him.  

The UNP to form broad Alliance

Meanwhile, a rejuvenated United National Party will form a broad political front without compromising its elephant symbol.  The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and the All Ceylon People’s Congress (ACPC) which are two key Muslim parties and the recently formed Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPF) representing the Tamils of Indian origin have decided to contest on the UNP ticket. Incidentally the ACPC contested the 2010 general election on the UPFA ticket.   The UNP has to a large extent completed its nomination lists though discussions are underway to accommodate a few more SLFP dissidents on its ticket.

TNA finalizes nomination list

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a grouping of four political parties representing the Northern and Eastern Tamils, has completed its nomination lists for the general election. 

The Ilankai Tamil Arachu Katchchi (ITAK) has the highest number of slots from the Northern and Eastern districts; The Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) and People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) are the other parties contesting under the TNA banner.

The TNA is expected to present its manifesto soon after nominations close on July 13. The party will call for a credible power sharing arrangement under ‘a united Sri Lanka’ for the North and East. Its spokesman Suresh Premachandran said though the political circumstances had changed, the party would remain unwavering in its call for a political solution. 

The PLOTE is known to be the only party that stood firmly against the LTTE during the armed conflict and worked hand in hand with the military to hunt down LTTE fighters. The last minute attempts to secure nomination for a few rehabilitated ex-combatants had failed.  

Dhanuna to contest with SF

By Sanath Desmond
Dhanuna Tillekaratne, who was mired in controversy a few years ago, is expected to contest the general elections under the Democratic Party led by Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka.

He told Daily Mirror that he had decided to contest the elections so as to strengthen the Democratic Party as it lacked a second tier.
“I will contest from Colombo East and strengthen the Democratic Party led by Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka and hope to win my seat,” he said.

He said he intended increasing the current vote base of the party. “The party received close to 98,000 votes at the previous election and I intend on improving this further,” he said.

Dhanuna was earlier married to Field Marshall Fonseka’s eldest daughter but had recently separated from her.
He was also an accused and indicted in several cases under the previous regime and was in hiding until his re-emergence in December last year.

In an interview with Daily Mirror, Dhanuna said he was a part of a witch hunt by the previous regime and was compelled to evade arrest. When questioned about nominations being granted to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Dhanuna sounded philosophical.
“I oppose nominations being given to him,” he said.


UPFA nomination lists after MS approval

By Kelum Bandara
The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) said yesterday it would finalize its nomination lists today after it is approved by President Maithripala Sirisena, party officials said yesterday.

The two UPFA factions, one loyal to President Sirisena and the other to ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa held lengthy discussions yesterday to resolve any outstanding issues regarding the integrity of the candidates to be fielded.

UPFA stalwart Dalles Alahapperuma told journalists that there was agreement by both sides not to give nomination to certain members this time. Former UPFA MP Kumara Welagama said Mr. Rajapaksa would definitely contest.  He said the party was hoping to submit the nomination papers to the election authorities on July 10 if possible. The UPFA seniors were to have a meeting with the President last evening to sort out the final sticking points.