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Rajapaksa may lead proposed political alliance in Sri Lanka

File photo of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Photograph:( AFP )

PTI Colombo, Sri Lanka Feb 02, 2019, 09.22 PM (IST)

Sri Lanka's Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday indicated that he would lead the proposed political alliance, which would function as the Joint Opposition and also fight all upcoming elections in the island nation.

The opposition led by Rajapaksa's new political outfit -- the Sri Lanka People's Party (SLPP) -- has announced that they would form the broadest political alliance. It also demanded a fresh poll in the country.

"The leader of the new alliance needs to be me," Rajapaksa told reporters in Kandy town. 

The elections to six provincial councils in Lanka are long overdue and are expected to be held in the next two-three months and the Rajapaksa camp is looking towards winning them under the broader alliance to be formed.

Meanwhile, President Maithripala Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), which is also a part of the proposed alliance, wants Sirisena to run for his second term against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe-led United National Party's (UNP) candidate in the forthcoming presidential polls, scheduled to be held in 2020. 

While SLFP members have been publicly promoting Sirisena as the next presidential candidate, Rajapaksa's SLPP front liners have gone on record saying that the main challenger should be an SLPP member. 

The catch, however, is that Rajapaksa is constitutionally barred from running for a third term as he was twice elected president -- in 2005 and in 2010. 

When asked about SLFP promoting Sirisena to run for his second term, Rajapaksa said, "We will decide that at the right time."

Story highlights

The opposition led by Rajapaksa's new political outfit -- the Sri Lanka People's Party (SLPP) -- has announced that they would form the broadest political alliance. It also demanded a fresh poll in the country.