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Sri Lanka's opposition in split over common symbol

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

Sri Lanka's main opposition UNP has suffered a split over its move to contest the forthcoming parliamentary polls under a new alliance with many political parties seeking a common symbol.

A majority of the working committee members, who met on Monday, felt that the party must face the election under the elephant symbol, senior United National Party (UNP) leader Lakshman Kiriella said.

"However, there was opposition to this and the party will meet again on Friday to make a final decision on this," said Kiriella, who is from the camp of former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

A stormy working committee session held on Monday saw opposition leader Sajith Premadasa, who is also the deputy leader of the UNP, walk out in disagreement, his camp claimed on Tuesday.

Premadasa wants to forge a new opposition alliance under his leadership.

Wickremesinghe, who stepped down to make way for Premadasa to become the main opposition leader after November's presidential election defeat, is not averse to Premadasa forming an alliance but wants it to happen under the aegis of the UNP.

Premadasa feels Wickremesinghe is trying to have an indirect control of the alliance curbing him.

The Premadasa faction has got a new registration for his new alliance by amending the name and title of a political party which is already registered.

Premadasa sought the amended registration of 'Our National Front' to be named 'United People's Force' and make him its leader.

At the working committee meeting, Premadasa argued that he was in favour of using the UNP's elephant symbol but many parties planning to join him prefers a common symbol other than elephant.

The split in the main opposition party is set to help the electoral fortunes of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

His brother Mahinda Rajapaksa-led Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) seeks two-third majority or 150 seats in the 225 member house in the election which is likely to be held in April.

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

First Published: Tue, February 11 2020. 19:50 IST