President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to hold the Presidential election in March 2014, reliable sources said. The President has decided to introduce a constitutional amendment (19th Amendment) and restructure the SLFP in order to consolidate his power.
The President had appointed his brother, Minister Basil Rajapaksa as the national organizer of the party as part of this long term plan. The President is to also remove Minister Maithripala Sirisena from the post of SLFP general secretary. The post is to be filled by the President’s relative, Minister Dullas Alahapperuma.
The President has also decided to appoint an activist from MP Namal Rajapaksa’s Nil Balakaya to every electorate.
Sources from the SLFP headquarters say that plans are also underway to appoint Namal Rajapaksa’s supporters as co-organizers to work along with SLFP seniors who are not supportive of the Rajapaksas.
It is this plan that had resulted in the appointment of Minister Faizer Mustapha as co-organizer to Colombo Central along with Minister A.H.M. Fowzie and MP Arundika Fernando as co-organizer for Wennappuwa with Minister Milroy Fernando.
Co-organizers are also to be appointed from the Nil Balakaya to electorates of SLFPers like Piyasena Gamage, Berty Premalal Dissanayake, S.B. Navinne, Athula Wijesinghe, John Seneviratne, Janaka Bandara Tennekoon, Nandimitra Ekanayake, Sarath Gunaratne, Felix Perera and Vidura Wickremanayake.
Since there was a constitutional obstacle in holding the Presidential election in March 2014, a constitutional amendment is to be introduced in the next few months. According to the new amendment, the time limit of four years given for a person appointed as President to summon the next Presidential election is to be reduced to three years.
The President has assigned External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris and Chief Justice Mohan Peiris the task of drafting the relevant amendment. However, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution is to be delayed until the conclusion of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).