By Aruna Bogahawatte
The SLFP yesterday announced that it had decided to support SLPP Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the 2019 Presidential election.
SLFP General Secretary MP Dayasiri Jayasekera told a press conference at the party headquarters in Colombo that President Maithripala Sirisena had made a decision to step down from the SLFP chairmanship temporarily to remain independent till the Presidential Elections was over.
The decision had been made at the SLFP parliamentary group meeting held at the President’s House on Tuesday night, Jayasekera said.
He said that the party had appointed Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa as the acting chairman of the SLFP.
SLFP General Secretary Jayasekera said that the SLFP would sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the SLPP and Rajapaksa.
Jayasekera said the SLFP decided to back Rajapaksa as there was a fear the SLFP may lose the Presidential election if it put forward its own candidate.
He insisted that the SLFP was not joining the SLPP but will only support Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the election.
Senior SLFP member Nimal Siripala de Silva said that the decision was reached after a lot of debate in the party.
He said that the SLFP had three choices either back the United National Front or the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna or stay neutral.
Silva said that in the end the SLFP decided to back Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the election.