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UNP claims Sri Lankan Muslim Congress struck ‘secret deal’ with Rajapaksas

(Photo of Sri Lankan Muslim Congress MPs)

The United National Party has alleged that Sri Lankan Muslim Congress (SLMC) has betrayed their voters made a “secret deal” with the Rajapaksas in exchange for votes on the 20th Amendment.

The 20th amendment, which seeks to centralise power within the executive presidency and removes checks and balances on the presidency, passed on 22 October. The amendment was passed with support from opposition MPs voting alongside Rajapaksa’s Sri Lankan Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), including four MPs from the SLMC. Only SLMC leader, Rauff Hakeem, opposed the measure. The amendment passed with 156 parliamentarians voting for the amendment whilst 65 votes against.

Following the passage of the amendment, the SLMC had called for an explanation from its four members who voted for the 20th Amendment.

The UNP has noted that whilst the SLMC had opposed the measure during the parliamentary election claiming, the amendment was “detrimental to the wellbeing of the Muslims in Sri Lanka”. They further criticise the SLMC stating that they chose to “disregard the democratic values”.

The UNP further states that it is “unethical and irresponsible” for the SLMC to not divulge information of any agreement reached with the Rajapaksas. They maintain that their “silence on the issue is a sign that they have struck a deal with does not benefit the Muslims of Sri Lanka”.

(Photo of UNP leader Ravi Karunayake) 

The UNP statement concludes stating that Muslim interests are “best served by the UNP, which upholds the Sri Lankan identity, not by parties based on ethnicities-religions”. However, this statement follows controversial remarks made in May, by UNP Leader, Ravi Karunayake, in which he claimed that the party had now been cleansed of those who had been “speaking against Buddhism… and standing up only for the minorities”.

During the 2020 parliamentary election, the UNP suffered a humiliating loss and was only able to retain one National List seat.

Read the full statement by the UNP below:

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