The third round of talks between the SLFP and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) ended on a successful note today (10), where General Secretary of the SLFP, Dayasiri Jayasekara claimed it was successful while Chairman of the SLPP, Professor G.L. Peiris expressed that it had ended with some issues.
The discussion commenced at the Opposition Leader’s office with the participation of both Parties. They agreed to meet on 9 May at 12 noon for the fourth round of talks.
After the discussion, Parliamentarian Jayasekara addressed the Media and said the discussion was a success, as both Parties were concentrating on 20 main policies on the agenda, which was subsequently increased to 25 today with the intention of building a strong policy framework. He said the SLFP and the SLPP had agreed to discuss the decisions which were taken today with the Working Committees of the Parties before releasing it to the Media.
Answering a question, UPFA MP Thilanga Sumathipala reasoned as to why the SLFP didn’t turn up for the vote on the 2019 Appropriation Bill as they didn’t want to bring President Maithripala Sirisena into disrepute as three of the latter’s expenditure heads were in the Budget and if these were defeated, it would bring the Party Chairman into disrepute.
“This was a difficult decision which we took because on the one hand, three of the President’s Expenditure Heads are in the Bill while on the other, we don’t want to vote in favour of the UNP budget proposal. People will understand why we took this decision and what the positive impact is in the future. This is not to support the 2019 Budget proposals but to protect the Heads of Expenditure of the President’s Ministries,” he added.
Meanwhile, Prof. Peiris noted the reason which the SLFP is giving was pointless because in 2013, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike permitted her Party to vote against her own Government’s budget.
MP Dullas Alahapperuma emphasized that if the aim of these discussions is to develop an anti-UNP alliance, the SLFP should act in a like manner, adding that people should feel that this is actually an alliance against the UNP.
“Anti-UNP folk want us to see who is against the UNP. The SLFP never questioned as to why the UNP Government was dragging the Provincial Councils Elections, so the SLFP should clear their stance on those points. In case the Presidential Election is dragged, then democracy is dead. We request the President not to get entangled with this kind of childish statement which his Party’s General Secretary has mentioned,” he added.
MP Alahapperuma warned that they will take action while being in the Opposition if the Presidential term is extended.
Meanwhile, MP Shehan Semasinghe claimed that there is no transparency in the SLFP, further claiming that they don’t know what their stance is. He opined that there is a doubt whether Jayasekara is actually working for the SLFP or for the UNP Government.
“You can’t support two teams at the same time. There are Members in the SLFP who have already had discussions with the UNP and have agreed to support the UNP,” he added.
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