The Central Committee of Sri Lanka’s largest party in parliament, the SLFP (Sri Lanka Freedom Party), unanimously decided to appoint President Maithripala Sirisena as the new party chairman, after former President Mahinda Rajapakse agreed to handover the SLFP leadership. Both former presidents, Chandrika Kumaratunge and Mahinda Rajapakse, representing rivalling fwings of the SLFP, have been appointed “patrons of the party” on this occasion.
The SLFP is part of the party alliance called UPFA (United People’s Freedom Party), which has a two-thirds majority in parliament, enabling them to change the constitution. Nonetheless the UPFA is now forms the opposition, after the former opposition leader, Ranil Wickramasinghe (UNP), has been chosen as Prime Minister by the new president. This is part of President Sirisena's strategy to form an all-party coalition for consensual constitutional reform. Nimal Siripala de Silva (SLFP), former leader of the house, has been appointed by the UPFA as the new leader of the opposition.
De Silva was one of the party representatives of the UPFA who announced earlier this week, that the UPFA would not obstruct the presidential 100 days reform plan but accept that he has a mandate for it. The support of the UPFA is crucial for the newly elected president, since the UNP led party alliance supporting him during his election campaign has no majority in parliament.
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