Sri Lanka: Rajapaksa leaves Sirisena’s party, joins SLPP

Colombo: As the political crisis intensifies in Sri Lanka, wartime strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa has exited from President Maithripala Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and joined the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) on Sunday.

“Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa today joined the #SriLanka Podujana Peramuna (@PodujanaParty),” he tweeted.

Rajapaksa’s son Namal Rajapaksa joined SLPP on Saturday to contest in the January 5 snap elections while hinting at the former President’s participation in the upcoming elections.

“I am joining the @PodujanaParty effective immediately. We will strive to create a broader coalition with many stakeholders under the leadership of @MaithripalaS & @PresRajapaksa to face the upcoming General Election and come out victorious,” Namal tweeted.

Along with the Rajapaksa father-son duo, former parliamentarians representing the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) also joined SLPP, according to Colombo Page.

Furthermore, several other Members of Parliament (MP) from SLFP crossed over to SLPP as well to fight under a broader coalition in next year’s snap polls.

The January 5 polls were announced after Sirisena dissolved the Sri Lankan Parliament on November 9, prompting outcry from Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP).