Govt. fuels speculation of Mangala’s crossover

MP CROSS OVER

Ranil ready to give up  presidential candidature

At the last presidential election in January 2010, Wickremesinghe threw his weight behind former Army Commander retired Gen. Sarath Fonseka and helped cobble together a coalition consisting of the UNP, the JVP, the SLMC, the CWC and the TNA.

UNP National leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has assured his party that he will not obstruct any move to replace him with some other candidate capable of forging Opposition political alliance to contest the next presidential election. He has suggested two-time President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga as an alternative.

Govt. fuels speculation of Mangala’s crossover

The government yesterday said that a team of powerful UNP MPs would join it shortly.

Addressing the media at the Sri Lanka Freedom Party headquarters, Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that all of them had already expressed their willingness to defect to the UPFA. “It is only a matter of time.”

The presidential election will be held at the first quarter of next year, Abeywardena said, adding that the prominent UNPers would join forces with the UPFA to ensure President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s victory.

Asked whether it was true that former SLFP heavyweight and President UNP Matara District MP Mangala Samaraweera would join the government, Minister Yapa said that possibility could not be ruled out.

When it was pointed out that Samaraweera was a bitter critic of the Rajapaksa family, a smiling Minister said there were no permanent friends or permanent enemies in politics.

“We will welcome anyone who joins us to ensure our President’s victory,” he said.

Senior Minister of Urban Development A. H. M. Fowzie and Ratnapura District MP Ranjith Zoysa also participated at the media conference.