Minister Rajitha Senaratne

Despite former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and many other MPs from the pro-Rajapaksa camp of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) signing their nomination papers today, Cabinet Spokesman and Minister Rajitha Senaratne insisted that no final decision had been made regarding any nominations from the UPFA.

Replying to a question posed at the weekly Cabinet press briefing, Minister Senaratne stated President Maithripala Sirisena was yet to sign off on any of the UPFA’s nominations, including that of the former President. As such, nothing was finalized still, he claimed.

Senaratne said he and other like-minded Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) MPs had met President Sirisena last night and had this morning submitted their own recommendations regarding the UPFA’s nomination process. He said the President would study the proposals with his secretaries and take a final decision. “Our primary proposal is that no nominations are given to those who have been accused of being linked to the illegal drug trade,” the minister revealed.

The minister said he expected the President would give a ‘favorable response’ to their proposals. When questioned what he planned to do in the event the President’s response was not favorable, Senaratne said he would then call a special media briefing on his own to explain his position.