Sri Lankan opposition nominates ex-leader as PM

Colombo, Aug 14 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s main opposition party, the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), on Friday reiterated that former president Mahinda Rajapakse will be the country’s new prime minister if the party wins in the August 17 parliamentary elections.

At the opposition’s last media briefing before the elections, UPFA senior member John Seneviratne said President Maithripala Sirisena’s offer to choose future prime minister from eight senior UPFA members including himself was rejected, Xinhua news agency reported.

Sirisena, in a letter to Rajapakse on Thursday, said he would not appoint the former president as prime minister in the wake of a UPFA victory. He would instead nominate one of eight other senior party members for the post.

Sirisena became the UPFA chairman and the country’s president after he defeated Rajapakse in a presidential poll in January. He now has the power to appoint new prime minister in future government.

Seneviratne said those nominated by Sirisena for the future prime minister had rejected the offer as they had agreed to appoint Rajapakse for the post.

Meanwhile, UPFA general secretary Susil Premajayantha said that his party was confident of winning in all 14 districts as well as forming a future government.

He added that people have accepted Rajapakse as future prime minister and those who had voted against him in January have now turned in favour of him.

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