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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 113

Sri Lanka: Mangala, Sripathi join the opposition, launch a new party splitting the ruling SLFP

Colombo, 19 June, ( The controversial former Sri Lankan Ministers duo who have joined the opposition today announced that they are forming a new political party "The Sri Lanka Freedom Party- Mahajana Wing" (Peoples' Wing) to be launched next Friday (June 22).

Political circles today were abuzz with a possible split within ruling SLFP as a result of the latest developments.

Former Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi left their benches and sat with Sri Lanka Parliament's opposition today.

Before he walked towards opposition benches at 11:54 am, standing from his government side, Mangala Samaraweera declared "As a moderate politician I cannot support the government anymore." He added "But I shall not leave the ruling SLFP. I shall continue to stay in SLFP and work with the party."

Thereafter he walked to the opposition benches amidst welcoming applause by opposition members. As soon as he "crossed over" he attempted to say something amidst applause, but his microphone was disconnected from the lobby's sound system at once.

Previously, despite his high profile sacking by President Rajapakse, it was speculated that Mangala would return to the fold. In fact on May 9, Mangala Samaraweera even voted with the government in favor of continuing the state of Emergency.

Parliamentary sources said that several government parliamentarians were seen exchanging pleasantries with him.

Earlier Sripathi Sooriyarachchi was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Division of the Police on a charge of misappropriation of state property and remanded. He was arrested by the police and produced before Colombo Fort additional magistrate and remanded till March 20.

- Asian Tribune -

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