In the National New Year spirit of goodwill and reconciliation, moves are underway to settle the dispute between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and sacked minister Mangala Samaraweera, The Sunday Times learns.
President Rajapaksa had personally told SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena to stop the dispatch of a charge sheet against Mr. Samaraweera who is now overseas, but the charge sheet against the other ousted minister Sripathi Sooriyarachchi has been sent to him.
The fresh moves to restore party unity involve several key figures and there was speculation that Mr. Sirisena might even meet Mr. Samaraweera who went to Singapore on March 26 with his mother to obtain medical treatment for her.
One of those reported to be involved in the reconciliation efforts is Ven Elle Gunawansa Thera. The monk told The Sunday Times he was trying to bring about a reconciliation but declined to give further details. The SLFP`s senior deputy leader and Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana also said reconciliation moves were underway to restore party unity.
He said party seniors and a majority of members believed there should be reconciliation and hopefully there would be a settlement soon after the New Year.SLFP disciplinary committee chairman and senior minister John Seneviratne declined to comment on why a charge sheet had been served on Mr. Sooriyarachchi and not on Mr. Samaraweera. He said these were internal matters for the party.
Mr. Samaraweera and Mr. Sooriyaarachchi were removed from their ministerial posts in February after they criticized President Rajapaksa on several issues. One of the main charges was that advisors to Mr. Rajapaksa had entered into a secret deal with the LTTE before the November 2005 presidential election.