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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2613

Sri Lanka's 'historical' political agreement in danger

Munza Mushtaq – Reporting from Colombo

Colombo, 15 January, (Asiantribune.com): The historical political deal sealed between Sri Lanka's oldest two parties, the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) appears to be heading towards a very rocky path following the government's decision to accommodate any UNP crossovers.

The Cabinet of Ministers on Wednesday gave the green light to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to 'get on board' any UNP Parliamentarians willing to join the government. However UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has declared that the UNP-SLFP agreement would be declared void if the government resorts to such tactics.

According to reports, more than ten parliamentarians from the UNP had indicated their willingness to join the government.

Cabinet spokesman Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa addressing the weekly news conference late last week that it was the democratic right of any parliamentarian whether in the UNP or even in the government to join any party of their preference.

The Minister is also reported to have claimed that the agreement signed between the two parties did not address issues concerning crossovers and neither did the UNP at that instance set conditions against the government accepting such dissidents.

Meanwhile the UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake in a recent interview with the Asian Tribune emphasized that even if President Mahinda Rajapaksa offers the UNP ministerial portfolios the party has taken a concrete decision not accept such portfolios, as the party believes in conducting its activities independently.

"If we accept ministerial posts it would mean we are part of the government, so we will not accept such posts, this is the decision of the UNPs working committee," he added.

The 'historic' agreement between the two parties was sealed on October 23, 2006 at Temple Trees, Colombo.

- Asian Tribune -

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