Prez polls: Chief Govt. Whip dismisses Namal’s candidature, reiterates support for Ranil

Chief Government Whip and Urban Development and Housing Minister Prasanna Ranatunga has declared that he wouldn’t support Namal Rajapaksa’s candidature at the forthcoming presidential poll.

The Gampaha District SLPP strongman said that Namal Rajapaksa lacked sufficient experience to contest the presidency.

Lawmaker Ranatunga explained his stance regarding the presidential polls at a meeting held in his political office at Udugampola yesterday (02).

Parliamentarian Ranatunga dismissed reports that the SLPP was discussing MP Namal Rajapaksa’s impending nomination as their candidate. However, if the party, for some reason, decided to field Namal Rajapaksa, he would quit the SLPP presidential polls campaign.

Minister Ranatunga made the declaration close on the heels of the SLPP appointing Namal Rajapaksa as their National Organizer, a post previously held by SLPP founder Basil Rajapaksa.

Minister Ranatunga said that he would back President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s candidature if a consensus could be reached on a symbol other than ‘Elephant’ or ‘Pohottuwa.’ Ranatunga warned that Wickremesinghe couldn’t win the next presidential election without the support of the ruling SLPP.

Declaring that the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) leader Sajith Premadasa and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake posed no threat, lawmaker Ranatunga claimed that 80 percent of SLPP now backed Wickremesinghe’s candidature.

Minister Ranatunga said that he appreciated Wickremesinghe as he accepted the challenge at the height of the economic crisis and lawlessness when no one else had the backbone to do so