Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse`s chief campaigners are studying foreign television debates among presidential candidates before officially accepting an invitation by local state and private television channels to take part in a debate with the main rival candidate, Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Prime Minister`s Chief Campaign Manager Basil Rajapakse told The Sunday Times the premier was prepared to take part in the debate, but they were studying TV debates between presidential candidates in other countries to decide on the conditions to be laid down for such a debate.
?We have appointed a team to study the debates including the US TV debates,? he said.
The two main candidates, have been invited by the state-run Rupavahini and Independent Television Network and the privately-owned MTV and Swaranawahini channels.
Mr. Wickremesinghe has already agreed to take part in the debate and has selected the `Sirasa` Channel managed by the MTV on the grounds that he was first invited by it.
But, Mr. Rajapakse said that they were yet to select one particular channel or agree to take part in all channels depending on the recommendations made by the committee.
?If we agree to take part in one or more TV channels it would mean that we would have to give selected topics for each of the channels to avoid duplicating the questions or issues,? he said.
In the event both parties agree to the debate it would be the first time that two Presidential candidates would be taking part in a live TV debate in Sri Lanka.Mr. Wickremesinghe on Friday responding to the invitation from the TV channels suggested that the most practical method was to telecast one debate on all channels instead of holding separate debates for different channels.
UNP Assistant Secretary Tissa Attanayaka said Mr. Wickremesinghe was ready to take part in the debate focusing on the peace process and the economy.