July 20, Colombo: Sri Lanka's governing United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) says that its constituent partner, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) will continue as a member of the government despite its decision to contest the Eastern Provincial Council election separately.
Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Secretary and Minister Maithripala Sirisena said the SLMC Leader, Rauf Hakeem, was still a minister of the Cabinet and there was no issue between the SLMC and the UPFA as speculated.
He denied claims made by the opposition political parties that the SLMC has moved out of the government.
Explaining the reason for SLMC's decision to contest separately, Sirisena said that since there are several other Muslim parties in the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), the government cannot accommodate all SLMC candidates to contest under the UPFA banner in the Eastern provincial Council election.
According to the SLFP Secretary, the SLMC has reached the decision to contest separately after discussing with the UPFA.
He added that a SLMC candidate was contesting under the UPFA in the Anuradhapura District.