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 Post subject: Mangala and Sripathi form the SLFP Mahajana Wing
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 3:37 pm 
Mangala and Sripathi form the SLFP Mahajana Wing
Sri Lanka Freedom Party strongman forms new political wing

Two former Sri Lankan government ministers crossed to the opposition benches of the parliament Tuesday, deepening divisions in the ruling coalition. Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi, who were sacked from their portfolios after differences with President Mahinda Rajapakse, took their seats on the opposition benches.

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19 June 2007 13:59:39
@ LBO / By Ishara M Gamage


June 19, 2007 (LBO) – Two former ministers of the main ruling party in Sri Lanka said they are forming a new political wing, after crossing over to sit in opposition benches Tuesday, deepening divisions in the ruling coalition.

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party- Mahajana Wing or 'Peoples' Wing' would be formally launched Friday, a statement from ousted ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi said.

"We are not leaving the SLFP we will still be in the party but we will work to 'save' it," Sooriyaarachchi told LBO.

"We will begin our work by making floral offerings at the Bandaranaike Samadhiya on Friday."

The 'Samadhiya' is the memorial of SLFP founder Solomon Bandaranaike, the father of former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, at the family's ancestral home in Horagalla.

Samaraweera was a close ally of Kumaratunga, but was sacked by President Mahinda Rajapakse, who is from the SLFP, along with Sooriyaarachchi and Anura Bandaranaike, Kumaratunga's brother earlier in the year.

Anura Bandaranaike rejoined the government.

In a letter to the Speaker, Samaraweera sought permission to make a 'private statement' in parliament on Wednesday, claiming that the ruling coalition has betrayed the "principles and political philosophy" of the SLFP.

"They have rejected the party's centrist policies and are taking our country in an extreme direction," Samaraweera told the speaker.

"We are totally opposed to this path of extremism and in order to protect the principles of the SLFP we shall represent the Mahajana Wing of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party."

The two insisted that they would still be members of the United Peoples' Freedom Alliance, an SLFP-led coalition that includes a number of smaller parties.


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 Post subject: Two Sri Lanka former ministers join opposition ranks
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 3:40 pm 
Two Sri Lanka former ministers join opposition ranks

A bill seeking permission to spend 650 million rupees from parliament was hamstrung with the vociferous opposition from the JVP, another former ally of the government. The money was for new ministries created after opposition members joined the government earlier in the year. There are around 100 ministers and deputy ministers in government.

@ LBO / June 19, 2007 (LBO)

Two former Sri Lankan government ministers crossed to the opposition benches of the parliament Tuesday, deepening divisions in the ruling coalition.

Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi, who were sacked from their portfolios after differences with President Mahinda Rajapakse, took their seats on the opposition benches on Friday morning.

Samaraweera explained that they joined the opposition as they were unable to accept the government's present policies.

Their move to switch sides caused an uproar in the House prompting the Speaker to suspend sittings for 10 minutes.

The two were sacked after they began criticising President Rajapakse and his brothers who they accused of dominating the government.

Talks between the two sides with the help of intermediaries to resolve differences and get them to rejoin the cabinet failed in recent weeks.

Samaraweera and Sooriyarachchi have alleged that President Rajapakse bribed Tamil Tigers to force minority Tamils in the north-east to boycott the last presidential poll, paving the way for his victory.

They have also alleged there is serious corruption in the government.

Sooriyarachchi last week won a court order to block the sale of shares of the country's largest fixed access operator, Sri Lanka Telecom, to a Malaysian firm, alleging irregularities in the deal.

A bill seeking permission to spend 650 million rupees from parliament was hamstrung with the vociferous opposition from the Marxist-Nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, another former ally of the government.

The money was for new ministries created after opposition members joined the government earlier in the year. There are around 100 ministers and deputy ministers in government.


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