Suspension poses puzzle for UPFA
Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday told a United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) delegation that tomorrow’s polls would not be affected by the suspension of the alliance’s Secretary General, Susil Premajayantha.
The UPFA is the main contender with the ruling United National Party (UNP) and is contesting all the districts in the country.
The Polls Chief’s assurance will mean lists submitted by Mr. Premajayantha naming agents for the polling booths and the counting centres will be valid. However, UPFA leaders are not clear whether such validity is restricted only for tomorrow’s poll and till the vote count is over.
Other official sources said the Commissioner may seek a court order after the results of the elections are determined. This is a prelude to the gazetting of the results including the names of those on the national list. This is in the light of different claims being made for the post of General Secretary of the UPFA.
A two-member UPFA delegation met the Commissioner yesterday. It comprised Dinesh Gunewardana, leader of the
Mahajana Eksath Peramuna and Dullas Allahapperuma, UPFA candidate for the Matara District. The meeting had ended by the time a third member Dilan Perera turned up.
Earlier, Mr. Premajayantha had written to Commissioner Deshapriya informing him that it was he who handed in nominations on behalf of the UPFA. The issue over the general secretary arose after President Maithripala Srisena, who is the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the UPFA, suspended Premajayantha from functioning as the general secretary. He has also been suspended from membership of the SLFP.
He also suspended SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. The District Court of Colombo issued an interim order on Friday, preventing Mr. Premajayantha and Mr. Yapa from functioning as the general secretaries of the UPFA and the SLFP until the case is taken up again on August 28.
President Sirisena, it is learnt, has also written to Elections Commissioner Deshapriya informing him of the appointment of acting general secretaries for the UPFA and the SLFP. Duminda Dissanayake, UPFA candidate for the Anuradhapura District, has been named by Mr. Sirisena as the acting SLFP general secretary and Prof. Vishwa Warnapala as the acting general secretary for the UPFA.
Sources close to the presidency said that the move against the two general secretaries was to forestall attempts to include new names in the UPFA National List. The alliance had handed in a National List to the Department of Elections after it was approved by President Sirisena in his capacity as party leader..
There are 15,044,490 people eligible to vote tomorrow. Polling will begin at 7.30 am and close at 4 pm.