Colombo, June 5 (newsin.asia): Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has told Mano Ganeshan, cabinet minister for Official Languages, that he will be ready to support the United National Party (UNP) led United National Front (UNF) in the coming Presidential election if it fields Sajith Premadasa as its candidate.
The President had earlier told UNF ministers that he will not contest the Presidential election which, he said, would be held on December 7, this year.
He also made it clear that he will not support any candidate put up by former President and Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa.
By saying so, Sirisena hinted that the talks between his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Rajapaksa’s Sri Lankan Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) for an electoral alliance were going nowhere.
The SLFP had proposed that Sirisena be the Presidential candidate and Rajapaksa be the Prime Minister. But the SLPP has unofficially decided that Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the former Defense Secretary and Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother, is to the candidate.
It is perhaps this which made Sirisena tell the UNF ministers that he will support the UNP-UNF if it adopts the “right policies”, by which he meant a nationalist, Sinhala-Buddhist and anti-West policy.
Later, he told minister Mano Ganeshan that if Sajith Premadasa, (son of the pro-poor and nationalist former President Ranasinghe Premadasa) is put up as the UNP-UNF candidate, he will offer his support.
Sirisena believes that the policies of the UNP-UNF will be nationalist and pro-poor under the stewardship of Sajith Premadasa.
Sajith is portrayed as a rural-based, pro-poor and nationalist man because of his work in the rural areas in Hambantota District, though, in actuality, he is a Colombo-based, foreign-educated and urbane person.