President Maithripala Sirisena has refused to give former President Mahinda Rajapaksa nominations from the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) to contest the upcoming Parliament elections.
The decision paves the way for a major split in the UPFA which will see several Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) members joining Rajapaksa to contest the polls.
The SLFP, which is part of the UPFA, and UPFA party leaders had key talks with President Maithripala Sirisena today.
A decision was to be taken at the meeting with regards to giving nominations to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the August 17 Parliament elections.
The President has said at the meeting that he, as chairman of the SLFP and UPFA, will not give nominations to Rajapaksa.
Earlier Sirisena had agreed to give nominations to Rajapaksa but not make him the Prime Ministerial candidate of the party.
However following stiff opposition from within the SLFP, the President has now decided to fully reject nominations to Rajapaksa.
Rajapaksa will now look at contesting the parliamentary elections under another political party, sources said.
An opposition parliamentarian close to Rajapakse said on the grounds of anonymity that negotiations were held between the two groups loyal to Rajapakse and Sirisena in order to reach a settlement for Rajapakse to contest under the opposition United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). (Colombo Gazette)