Won’t back any candidate who has ‘deals’ with President – Hirunika

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UNP Parliamentarian Hirunika Premachandra says that the upcoming Presidential Election will be an ‘easy battle’ for the United National Party (UNP) and that former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa entered the presidential fray ‘too soon’.

“Many people think that Gotabaya Rajapaksa will be a big challenge for us. I personally think that Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced his candidacy too early,” she told reporters in Colombo.

She said that many members of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) are now finding it difficult to “market him” and place him on a high pedestal.

“The presidential election is a 100 meter race. You can’t run it like a marathon,” the MP said.

This presidential election is not an election which the UNP can win alone, she said, adding that the same goes for all other major parties as it will be difficult for them to win by contesting alone as well.

Responding to a question regarding the UNP candidate she will support at the presidential election, the MP said that she will not stand behind any candidate who has “deals” with the President, who she blames for putting the government in an uncomfortable position before the public.

“I will not go and stand with anyone who has deals with him. That is common to anyone – be it Minister Sajth (Premadasa), the Prime Minister or the Speaker,” she said.

Premachandra claimed that the UNP risks losing the votes it already has by getting close to the President. “That is the truth. We have more than enough votes to win a presidential election.”

She even went as far as comparing him to “a germ in a way” and that they would end up losing the votes they already have if they include him in their campaign for the presidential election.

“So I don’t think anyone needs to have deals with him,” she said, adding that the President is currently without any options and that he is holding talks with everyone including with the UNP “in secret”.

The MP alleged that the President only wants to “hang on” from somewhere and to split the party.