Colombo, Oct 19 (IANS): The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), headed by incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena, will on Saturday sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna’s (SLPP) presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa to pledge support for his poll campaign.
The MoU will assure that Rajapaksa, a former Defence Minister, will agree to SLFP’s terms on forming a government if he is elected President in the November 16 polls, the Colombo-based Daily Financial Times quoted the SLFP as saying.
SLFP General Secretary MP Dayasiri Jayasekara said earlier this week that the MoU would strengthen confidence among SLFP supporters that the party’s identity will remain unchanged.
The SLFP and the SLPP on October 10 signed a separate MoU to pledge support to Rajapaksa’s election campaign.
Following the SLFP’s decision to back Rajapaksa, President Sirisena has decided to stay neutral.
In response to the SLFP’s decision to back Rajapaksa, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga issued a statement criticising the move decision and faulting the party for not fielding their own candidate.
The ruling United National Party (UNP) MPs Athuraliye Rathana and Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha have also pledged support to Rajapaksa.
A record 35 candidates have filed their nominations for the November 16 polls so far.
This will be the island nation’s eighth presidential election, with Sirisena’s term coming to an end in January 2020.