Presidential hopefuls | Sunday Observer

Presidential hopefuls

SLFP and SLPP leaders are in a quandary to select the Presidential candidate for the upcoming Presidential election. Members representing the two parties have aired their opinions as regards their choice of candidate though no final decision has been made as yet. SLPP sources said a final decision would be made only after the SLPP and SLFP high command discusses the issue and arrives at a conclusion. They said since moves are afoot to build a broad political front of the Opposition parties, a suitable Presidential Candidate would be chosen at the appropriate time.

The SLPP has suggested several names from the Rajapaksa family such as Gotabaya, Chamal and Basil as probable candidates. Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa told an assembly of his Viyath Maga organisation that he was ready to contest the upcoming Presidential elections emphasising his vision for a true Sri Lankan nation sans ethnic and religious differences.

UPFA Kandy District MP Dilum Amunugama of the SLPP told the Sunday Observer that in their opinion Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the best candidate. He said the SLFP is at liberty to name their own candidate, but obviously they are not going to win.

Some SLPP members have spoken on the possible candidacy of former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa who had told the media recently that he would willingly consider if the party hierarchy nominates him as the next Presidential candidate.

However, UPFA Digamadulla District Parliamentarian Wimalaweera Dissanayake thought otherwise, and told the media that it was Basil Rajapaksa, the architect of the SLPP who is the most suitable candidate from their party.

UPFA Ratnapura District MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara told the Sunday Observer that discussions have not even started on selecting a Presidential candidate, rejecting speculations that he has proposed incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena as the next Presidential candidate. Further, he said, at this juncture there is no need to abolish the Executive Presidency.

Questioned as to whether he still maintains the stance of recommending former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa as the Presidential candidate, MP Nanayakkara said he has at present shelved the idea of talking about candidates because it has given rise to unnecessary controversy.

UPFA Colombo District MP Dinesh Gunawardena said a final decision has not been taken yet with regard to the next Presidential Candidate.

SLFP General Secretary MP Dayasiri Jayasekara told the Sunday Observer that President Maithripala Sirisena has not so far made any statement on the Presidential candidacy. Above all, the President should tell the party high command whether he is going to contest the next Presidential Election or not. Since he is our leader, we are trying to field him as our Presidential candidate, Jayasekara said.