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* UNP steps back from Fonseka’s campaign, offers key posts to Mangala and JVP
Mon, Dec 21, 2009, 10:54 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

(By Sujith Madugalle)

Dec 21, Colombo: Showing lack of interest in the January 26th presidential election Sri Lanka's leader of the main opposition United National Party (UNP) Ranil Wickremasinghe has offered the key posts of the common opposition presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka's campaign to the Marxist party JVP and Mangala Samaraweera, a UNP parliamentarian said.

The UNP has agreed to offer the media spokesperson positions of the Fonseka's campaign to the JVP and Mangala Samaraweera at the final working committee meeting of the opposition alliance, United National Front, which fielded General Fonseka as a presidential candidate.

JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake and MP Mangala Samaraweera have been appointed as joint media spokespersons for Fonseka's campaign.

"If UNP is really interested in this campaign they never let others to work as campaign spokespersons and managers," UNP parliamentarian Johnston Fernando told ColomboPage.

"The UNP and its leader knew that they couldn't win this Presidential race. Mr. Wickramasinghe's only intention is to safeguard his UNP and opposition leadership till 2017. In that context Mr. Fonseka is being used for a suicide mission," the UNP MP added.

Meanwhile, UNP Secretary General Tissa Attanayake has reportedly opposed the move of appointing two external party MPs to the key campaign posts and pressed the UNP leadership to appoint UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella or MP Gayantha Karunathilake to the key position.

Absence of UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe or his Deputy Karu Jayasuriya, or UNP Secretary General Tissa Attanayake during Fonseka's nomination process last Thursday (17) at the Election Secretariat shows the party's lack of interest in Fonseka's campaign, political analysts point out.

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