Rajapaksa May Contest Under People's Alliance Ticket: Reports

The Peoples’ Alliance (PA), which won all major elections in Sri Lanka from 1994 until its defeat in 2001 General Election, is likely to be revived to prop up former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, according to media reports.

The move to revive the PA stems from the conviction that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) will not put him up as its Prime Ministerial candidate in the coming parliamentary elections. There is no love lost between President Maithripala Sirisena, the current chairman of the SLFP, and Rajapaksa, who was defeated by Sirisena in the 2015 Presidential Election.

PA was a conglomerate of SLFP and four other parties including the Lanka Sama Samaja Party and the Communist Party. PA was put together in early 1990s to take on the then entrenched United National Party (UNP). Though its place was taken by the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) in 2004, the PA continued to officially exist with the “chair” as its election symbol. General Secretary of PA is former Prime Minister D.M.Jayaratne.

SLFP seems likely to split on the Rajapaksa issue. Stung by the belligerence of the Rajapaksa faction, Sirisena recently warned party MPs that those who do not want him to carry out his Presidential election pledges will not be given tickets in the coming parliamentary elections.

Top leaders of the SLFP want Sirisena to disengage himself from the UNP.  But Sirisena has made it clear that he cannot ditch the UNP, as he had won the Presidential election with UNP’s support.
(With inputs from The New Indian Express)

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