In the wake of the Minister of Justice, Prison Reforms, and Constitutional Affairs Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, being appointed as the Acting Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), several groups within the party have raised their opposition to the said appointment, claiming that the decision is null and void.

Following an executive committee meeting held yesterday (21), the SLFP faction led by former President Maithripala Sirisena, who has been prevented by a court order from functioning as party chairman, appointed Minister Rajapakshe as the Acting Chairperson of the party.

Against this backdrop, National Organiser of the SLFP, Parliamentarian (MP) Duminda Dissanayake, told The Daily Morning yesterday that the particular appointment is illegal since the executive committee meeting where Rajapakshe was appointed as the chairperson is illegitimate according to the party’s constitution.

said that neither he nor the incumbent Acting SLFP Chairperson Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, nor the party’s Treasurer, State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna, were invited to the particular meeting.

He stated that according to the party’s constitution, the executive committee can only be summoned by Minister de Silva, who is the Acting Chairperson, otherwise, no one else could do so.

Meanwhile, speaking to The Daily Morning yesterday, SLFP Senior Vice President, Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa, claimed that the Rajapakshe's appointment was done according to the party’s regulations.

When asked whether Rajapakshe had the party membership, Prof. Piyadasa said that he had reportedly obtained the membership before two months, as per the party’s action by General Secretary, MP Dushmantha Mitrapala.

Citing that the Executive Committee was summoned according to a decision taken by the politburo the other day, he said the majority of the Executive Committee endorsed the particular appointment, unlike the appointment of Minister de Silva.

He stated that Minister Rajapakshe will take future actions on his own will regarding his ministerial positions if any issue is raised, otherwise, there is no issue in this regard.

Speaking to the media following the appointment, Minister Wijeyadasa noted that he has the capability to restore the party.

He also said that there is no rift between him and President Ranil Wickremasinghe, stating that assuming the acting chairmanship is not an issue to hold the ministerial positions in the current Cabinet.

He also said that he has obtained party membership, so he has the legitimacy to hold the said position.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), Thilanga Sumathipala, issuing a press release, said that the appointment of Rajapakshe has been carried out illegally.

Sumathipala, stating that the Acting General Secretary has no power to convene such a meeting as per the provisions of the party’s constitution, noted that such a meeting could have been convened after reaching a consensus among all the members.

He stressed that the ongoing internal conflict can only be resolved through collective engagement, not by being divided into factions.

On April 4, the Colombo District Court issued an enjoining order preventing former President Maithripala Sirisena from functioning as the SLFP chairperson.

Later, the SLFP’s politburo appointed Minister of Ports, Aviation, and Shipping Nimal Siripala de Silva as the party’s acting Chairperson on 8 April.

Earlier in March, former President Sirisena stirred controversy when he claimed he was aware of the true mastermind of the 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks and that he was prepared to disclose the information to the Judiciary if inquired about by him or if an order was issued regarding the matter.

Speaking to the media in Kandy, Sirisena said that he is ready to disclose the relevant information and that, at the same time, it is the responsibility of the judges to keep the information strictly confidential.

Against this backdrop, Minister Rajapakshe said on Tuesday (16) that he has received several requests urging him to run for president in the upcoming election.

Speaking to the media, he revealed that the majority of these requests came from the members of the Central Committee of SLFP. Additionally, religious leaders including the Maha Sangha have sought the same, he said further.

Rajapakshe said that he would take into account these requests and arrive at a final decision in the coming weeks.


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