President Maithripala Sirisena, who led a disastrous election campaign at the Local Government polls, has now come under pressure to step down from the SLFP leadership.
While some of the SLFP ministers representing the Cabinet negotiating with the UNP, some are holding talks with the Joint Opposition to work together in Parliament. Some party seniors who threw their weight behind President Sirisena have suggested that the SLFP should leave the government and sit in the opposition.
If that happens, political sources said, they would only form a small independent group in Parliament without any ability to influence important policy decisions.
With the SLFP falling apart with a mere 13% vote at the Local Government election, President Sirisena is now left with the option of allowing former President Mahinda Rajapaka to lead the SLFP and working under him or giving up the reigns of the SLFP.
However, in an interesting turn of events, former President Rajapaksa had said in no certain terms that he did not want the SLFP leadership. He had said there was no point in accepting the leadership of the SLFP when the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna had comfortably defeated President Sirisena’s party with an overwhelming majority.
Therefore, it is unclear as to who will lead the SLFP if President Sirisena gives up reigns of his party.
There are strong signs that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, formed by S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike in 1951, is now heading towards a natural death under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena.
Meanwhile, UNP Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake has requested President Sirisena to act as an independent President “at least now” and give up the leadership of the SLFP.
“Please be a non-partisan President now,” Ramanaya had said, reminding the President of the mandate of the Presidential election, on January 08, 2015.