Split in main Sri Lanka opposition deepens with party convention

November 18, (LBO) – The convention of the main opposition in Sri Lanka went ahead without the rebel faction led by its deputy leader being present, deepening the divisions within the party, United National Party sources said. Three rebels last week lost a court challenge which questioned a decision by a top party body not to accept changes proposed by the rebels. Leading parliamentarians representing the Colombo district, including Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya, Milinda Moragoda and Bandula Gunewardene, who was earlier involved in a fence mending exercise, also did not turn up at the meeting.

Others in the ˜rebel™ faction including senior party members such as P Dayaratne, Dharmadasa Banda and Gamini Lokuge as well as Rajitha Senaratne, Hemakumara Nanayakkara and S B Dissanayake were also absent, sources said.

Analysts say the United National Party crumbling under a leadership crisis, with the possibility that a faction will breakaway to the join the administration of President Mahinda Rajapakse.