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Rajapaksa blames Lanka prez for breakdown of party unity talks

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

Former Sri Lankan leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, who leads a rival faction of the ruling SLFP, has blamed his successor President Maithripala Sirisena for the breakdown of unity talks between the two sides.

The two factions of the Freedom Party (SLFP) have held talks to try and unite to face local council elections, now likely to be held in mid-February.

"The efforts failed because they (the Sirisena faction) did not want to leave the We cannot agree to any alliance with the UNP," Rajapaksa said yesterday, addressing a political rally of his new party - Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) - in the central hill town of Badulla.

The SLPP is the brainchild of his powerful brother Basil, who was the economic development minister during Rajapaksa's 10-year presidency.

Rajapaksa has been reluctant to publicly associate with SLPP until yesterday.

Rajapaksa backers in the SLPP want the Sirisena-led SLFP to leave the current unity with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's United Natinal Party (UNP).

The UNP and SLFP formed the unity in 2015 after Rajapaksa lost to Sirisena in the presidential election.

Rajapaksa, who had sacked Sirisena from the party after he emerged as the common opposition challenger, had passed on the SLFP leadership to the incumbent president following his stunning victory.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, December 05 2017. 14:45 IST