Former Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena last week said that a Sri Lanka Freedom Party Member (SLFP) had the right to attend any May Day rally of the Party, or abstain from attending them.

He said that action cannot be taken against an SLFP member unless when a member crossed over to another political party, or criticized the Party whilst retaining membership in the party, where both instances being ones which constituted a violation of the basic principles of the party’s constitution.

Abeywardena made these comments in light of possible action by the SLFP Central Committee on members who had attended the May Day rally organized by the supporters of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa in Kirulapone.

“The Party’s Constitution contains no provisions regarding the attendance at rallies,” he added.

“The rights of Members cannot be thus confiscated. For an inquiry to be held, first the so-called errant member, the aggrieved party, must be informed of the offences committed by him or her,” he said.

He said if the Central Committee (CC) was not happy with the explanation, then an inquiry committee could be appointed. “The inquiry committee conducts a formal inquiry and takes a decision which is then sent back to the Party’s CC, which then makes the final call. Each Member has votes,” he added.