Initial Crossover Talks Fruitful: PM To Show Majority In House: All Set For A United National Front Government

February 12, 2018

The discussions to form a United National Front government, with the support of over 10 SLFP Cabinet ministers, are successful, our sources within the Temple Trees conformed. 

The defection of SLFP ministers to the United National Party will allow Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to show a simple majority in the House. 

"The initial discussions have been successful. They have agreed to join the United National Front, led by the UNP," a highly placed UNP source said.

It is learnt, however, that some SLFP members will sit in the opposition and align themselves with the Joint Opposition.

In this context, it is still now clear as to what will happen by the SLFP, currently led by President Maithripala Sirisena. There have been strong signs that the SLFP is heading for a natural death, following its disastrous campaign at the Local Government election 2018. 

What also remains unclear is the fate of President Maithripala Sirisena whose position in the government has been weakened substantially with the election result on Sunday. 

"President Sirisena has a mandate to remain in office until 2020. Under the current circumstances, he will have to be the head of a UNP-led government. But, the Prime Minister, as the UNF leader, will be the most powerful decision maker in the government. The President, as the constitutional head of the government, can operate independently," a source privy to the ongoing discussions with the UNP and the SLFP ministers said. 

"It was the same role," he said, " that he was supposed to play after the Presidential election in 2015. But, things changed after he assumed the Chairmanship of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party." 

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