The much awaited SLFP manifesto for the presidential election would insist on a negotiated settlement to the ethnic conflict under a unitary structure, a senior party leader told the Daily Mirror yesterday as senior members finalized the document.
He said the key points in the manifesto relating to the peace process would be a majority consensus and an honourable peace?phrases regularly used by Prime Minister and Presidential candidate Mahinda Rajapakse.
However, President Chandrika Kumaratunga addressing a crucial central committee meeting last Friday, before leaving for Paris, maintained that the party manifesto should be based on a federal solution to the ethnic conflict within a united Sri Lanka rather than a unitary state. Analysts said Ms. Kumaratunga as president of the party would need to approve the manifesto and its fate was uncertain if she insisted on a federal solution.
The senior member said there could be meaningful devolution of powers under a unitary structure, and such a concept would not be an obstacle for a negotiated settlement with the LTTE.
He said the manifesto would also emphasize on settling the ethnic conflict within a specific time frame and on a specific agenda thus avoiding prolonged delays.
Asked whether the P-TOMS agreement would be scrapped the member declined to comment but said the manifesto would assure immediate steps for tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction.
On the economic front, Mr. Rajapakse would offer 200,000 direct jobs in the first year of office, while thousands of other youth would be given vocational training and equipment to go into self employment he said.
He said the manifesto was likely to be released within five days after nominations on Friday.
Meanwhile the committee appointed by President Kumaratunga to coordinate with the parties that have pledged support to the Premier, met yesterday for the first time. However, the Premier was not present due to a busy schedule.