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Sirisena rules out PM job for Rajapaksa

Sirisena rules out PM job for Rajapaksa

COLOMBO: With Sri Lanka’s parliamentary elections just three days away, President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday wrote to his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, to make it clear to him that he would not be made prime minister even if the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) won the Aug 17 polls.

This is the second statement by President Sirisena virtually telling Mr Rajapaksa to kill his prime ministerial ambitions.

Although Mr Sirisena had sent out a similar message last month, the UPFA and its main constituent, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), have been portraying Mahinda Rajapaksa as the next premier.

Recently, supporters of Rajapaksa made a move to convince Sirisena of the need to make Rajapaksa prime minister for at least three months.

The president stated in his letter sent to Rajapaksa on Thursday that the PM’s post should go to someone in the SLFP who is “senior, honest and capable” and who has not been PM before.

President Sirisena, who heads the UPFA and SLFP, said he could use his presidential powers to help the UPFA get additional support to form government, in case the party comes first, but does not bag the required 113 of the 225 seats. But he said he would not help if the party puts up Rajapaksa as its candidate for premiership.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2015

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