Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will contest as a Prime Ministerial candidate at the August 17 Parliament elections despite opposition to the move from some former Parliamentarians.
Kumara Welgama, a former Minister in Rajapaksa’s Government, said that the former President will look to contest under the betel leaf symbol of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA).
“I can clearly state that Mahinda Rajapaksa will contest as the Prime Ministerial candidate. There are no two words about it,” he said.
Welgama said that all attempts will be made to unite the political parties in the UPFA, including the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), and put forward Rajapaksa as the UPFA Prime Ministerial candidate.
He said that he hopes President Maithripala Sirisena, as UPFA Chairman, will take a stand with regards to the nominations to be given to UPFA candidates, keeping in mind the best interest of the country.
However he asserted that no matter what President Maithripala Sirisena decides with regards to the UPFA candidates, Rajapaksa will contest for the post of Prime Minister at the election.
There have been reports indicating President Sirisena will not agree to nominate Rajapaksa as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the UPFA.
The decision has seen a split in the UPFA with some insisting that Rajapaksa be given nominations and others opposing it. (Colombo Gazette)