Politicians representing ethnic minority parties in the Joint Opposition prefer Chamal Rajapaksa to Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the Pohottuwa candidate in the forthcoming Presidential elections later this year, the Sunday Observer learns. In any future decision-making process for the selection of the candidate of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), the ethnic minority groups and the Leftist groups aligned with the SLPP would favour former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, senior UPFA parliamentarian Vasudeva Nanayakkara said.
Nanayakkara, himself a veteran Leftist, told the Sunday Observer yesterday that “a majority of Tamil, Muslim, Liberal and Leftist politicians of the Joint Opposition favour Chamal Rajapaksa as the SLPP’s most suitable candidate for the Presidency”.
“We have not even started discussing this matter at Joint Opposition meetings yet.
But, in our opinion, Chamal is the best candidate from our camp. If not Chamal, we will agree to Gota in a context where everyone agrees to him,” Nanayakkara said.
He said these smaller allies of the SLPP and JO have expressed interest in his proposals for the candidacy, and ideas for the alliance election manifesto and main issues of the country at present. Asked about the possibility of former Minister Basil Rajapaksa as a contender for the SLPP candidacy, Nanayakkara said: “Basil is not our choice. I think he doesn’t intend to compete. He had also informed Mahinda Rajapaksa that he is not interested in it.” Nanayakkara said he expected to have a discussion with Mahinda Rajapaksa before the SLPP decides on its candidate. He has already started lobbying among Joint Opposition partners to win support for a Chamal candidacy together with the party program ideas put forward by him.
Meanwhile, some close associates of Mahinda Rajapaksa are lobbying for Shiranthi Rajapaksa as the next Presidential candidate, SLPP sources told the Sunday Observer.