Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) general secretary Duminda Dissanayake said that the party's central committee that met yesterday chaired by Sirisena has decided to join a national government with Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) for two years.

Party member Nimal Siripala de Silva said the SLFP will work with other political parties in the government to address key issues.

The 66-year-old incumbent premier, whose reform agenda was stalled due to Mahinda Rajapaksa's loyalists blocking some of his moves, now has teeth to get his way in enforcement of his plans after thwarting the former president's bid to stage a political comeback.

Wickremesinghe, however, had struck a conciliatory note yesterday appealing to all political parties to work together to heal the divisions of the past as he began piecing together the new government with possible support from minority Tamils.

"Through this approach ... all parties could work together either in government holding a ministerial position or in Parliament through the oversight committees," he said.

SLFP member A H M Fowzie said that a committee has been appointed under former president Chandrika Kumaratunga to work on a policy framework under which the party will work in the national government.

The committee, which includes de Silva, will also decide on the number of portfolios which need to be allocated to the SLFP in the government.

"If the national government concept is successful it will continue after two years. If not, then the SLFP will withdraw at the end of two years," Fowzie said.

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