Speaking to media at the SLPP head office, Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris said previous discussions conducted with the SLFP were only targeted at forming a strong anti-United National Party front but neither side had specifically discussed a presidential candidate.
However, at the meeting to be held last Thursday the SLPP will seek SLFP support for their presidential candidate. Nonetheless, Prof. Peiris had earlier stated that the selection of the presidential candidate for the SLPP will be done by Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“The most important quality of the presidential candidate should be charismatic leadership and capability to win the election. A different strategy will be needed to win the Presidential Election which needs a fresh discussion to determine a new strategy,” he told reporters.
He added the SLPP will sign a special Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with 10 political parties on 26 July to lay a foundation to contest as a coalition at the upcoming elections. “We have discussed with 18 political parties during the last few weeks. Out of them, we were able to find common grounds with 10 political parties and get their support for us.”
Prof. Peiris said the SLPP will organise a serious of public conferences from 11 to 18 August around the country to promote policies of their presidential candidate. He also noted the SLPP presidential candidate will visit religious institutions as part of this effort.
“This will be a new experience for all of us. Our candidate will speak to the hearts of the public and explain why this country needs new leadership with a fresh vision that is capable of guiding the nation on the path to development.”
Referring to Election Commission (EC) Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya’s statement on the possibility of holding Provincial Council Election (PC) before 15 October, Prof. Peiris was of the view that if PC Elections are held before the Presidential Election that would be an advantage for the SLPP to understand voting patterns of the public. But he noted it would be unlikely.
“We think this is a hoax. I don’t they will hold the PC polls before the Presidential Election as they are yet to take any action in this regard,” he said.