Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), Minister Rauf Hakeem has informed United National Party (UNP) Leader,
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that the SLMC will not be signing the agreement to form an alliance until the UNP announces its presidential candidate.
Hakeem has also noted the importance of the post of general secretary of the proposed political alliance and has emphasized the need for the post to be held by the UNP.
Despite an invitation being extended by Wickremesinghe to Hakeem to discuss the proposed alliance to be formed on Monday (5), the latter has not attended the meeting.
However, Wickremesinghe is adamant to proceed with the formation of the proposed alliance and has assigned Ministers Rajitha Senaratne and Champika Ranawaka the task of coordinating the programme with the participation of at least a few small political parties.
According to sources from the Prime Minister’s Office, it is only Ranawaka’s Jathika Hela Urumaya and MP Chathura Senaratne’s party that have agreed to sign the alliance agreement on the 5th.
Also, Ministers Senaratne and Arjuna Ranatunge have been proposed as founding members of the alliance.
Looking for civil society activists
Meanwhile, Minister Senaratne is now trying hard to receive the support of civil organizations or civil society activists to sign the agreement to form the proposed Democratic National Front (DNF) on the 5th. Senaratne is facing a difficulty in finding political parties and individuals to support the DNF due to the massive protest against the alliance by a majority of the UNP’s Working Committee members and the main coalition parties of the government.
A majority of the UNP Working Committee has opposed the DNF’s draft Constitution since it is believed to undermine the UNP MPs and the Working Committee while paving the way for Wickremesinghe or one of his proxies to contest at the next presidential election.
Senaratne has on Friday (2) invited several civil society organisations to his ministry auditorium and invited them to join the DNF. One of Minister Ranawaka’s representatives has also been present at the meeting to support Senaratne.
However, several civil society organisations that have called for Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to be named as the next presidential candidate have not attended this meeting despite invitations being extended to them by Senaratne.
Representative of the National People’s Council, Chameera Perera, who had attended the meeting, had pointed out the need to field a popular candidate at the next presidential election in order to defeat the moves by the Rajapaksas. He had further noted the inability to join the alliance due to the existing disputes over its formation.
After discussing issues for several hours, some of the civil society organizations and activists have agreed to join the alliance on the 5th.