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Sri Lankan president, former leader hold key talks

(Xinhua)    20:29, May 06, 2015

COLOMBO, May 6 -- Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Former President Mahinda Rajapakse held key talks on Wednesday which was seen as an attempt to bridge a division which has emerged within the same party which both politicians belong to.

The meeting, the first since Sirisena defeated Rajapakse in the Jan.8 presidential elections, took place at the parliament complex in the presence of several members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

SLFP member Duminda Dissanayake told journalists soon after the meeting that the talks between Sirisena and Rajapakse had been successful but added that details of the talks would be divulged only after an SLFP meeting.

Sirisena was the health minister in Rajapakse's government but he split from the government to contest in presidential elections which he eventually won.

Following his victory, Sirisena was made chairman of the SLFP while Rajapakse and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga were named as advisors.

Sirisena formed a national unity government with the United National Party which was earlier in the opposition and Rajapakse later accused the government of being involved in a witch hunt against him and his family as well as SLFP members who are supporting him.

Rajapakse was expected to seek approval to contest as prime minister at the parliamentary elections scheduled to take place soon and that was one of the issues which was expected to be discussed at the meeting with Sirisena.

However, speaking ahead of the meeting, cabinet Spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne told Xinhua that Sirisena had rejected the proposal put forward by Rajapakse to contest as the SLFP prime ministerial candidate and Sirisena is likely to inform the former leader of his decision that the post would be decided based on the votes received at the parliamentary elections.

Senaratne further said that another key proposal put forward by Rajapakse was to drop the corruption investigations against his supporters and family which once again Sirisena has refused. "The president wants to strictly maintain good governance and he does not want to interfere with the law,"Senaratne said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Du Mingming,Bianji)

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