If President Rajapaksa decides to contest for a another presidential term he has to be defeated and no single party alone can do the task, says JVP leader Anura Kumara Disanayaka. At the same time he insists that JVP under any circumstances will not support UNP leader Ranil Wikremasinghe as a common candidate. He calls upon other political parties to identify what the real challenge is and without dividing for mere political advantages, we should unite to defeat the present President.
Experts form the relevant interview of Mr. Anura Kumara Disanayaka follows:
Q: What are your views about the forthcoming presidential election?
A: Firstly, ethically and constitutionally, this President cannot contest again. In our Constitution there are certain clauses that can be amended with a two-thirds majority. There are some clauses that need to be amended through a referendum. If a Government has a two-thirds majority in Parliament, it proves that they have a massive people’s support. How did the Government obtain a two-thirds majority? By bribing the Parliamentarians. Some of them had genuine reasons – one needed money to settle his wife’s hospital bill; there were some who were almost bankrupt. The Rajapaksa regime approached these people and offered them money. That is how they formed this Government; that is how they had their two-thirds majority. Therefore the 18th Amendment they had with such a two-thirds majority cannot be considered as valid.
Secondly, if the President still decides to contest, we have to defeat him. I strongly believe that no leader should rule the country for 18 years. A person should not rule a country for generations. Twelve years is more than enough for a leader to develop the country. No leader should be given a chance to rule the country for two decades. Especially the Rajapaksas should not be given that chance. Therefore, at a forthcoming presidential election we will fight to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa.
We call upon other political parties to identify what the real challenge is and without dividing for mere political advantages, we should unite to defeat the present President.
Q: It is said that Ranil Wickremesinghe will be contesting from the UNP at the upcoming presidential election. Will you support him?
A: We will not support Ranil Wickremesinghe. We believe Wickremesinghe has failed as a Prime Minister and as a Cabinet Minister. His political vision and strategies are not suitable for a country like ours. In simple words, he is not politically rooted to this country. He can’t feel what really matters to the people. He cannot relate to the sufferings of the people. Therefore if Ranil Wickremesinghe contests, we will not support him under any condition. We are not ready to support the UNP directly or indirectly to come into power.
The forthcoming presidential election is a critical juncture in our country. We have to decide whether we want to let the present leaders continue with their autocratic rule or whether we want to take this country to a new era. As the JVP, our vision is to take this country towards a progressive future. We take this very seriously. I know some individuals are acting as if this is a big joke. All they want is to be on television or gain some publicity. We see them making various comments and remarks about the presidential election and a common candidate, but for the JVP this is a critical matter. Whatever decision we will take, we will do it for the betterment of the country.
We have to be united. No party can fight this battle alone. We need a common strategy. But if that is not working out properly, we are compelled to think of the next best alternative.
Q: Though there has been a drop, the UPFA secured 51% voter percentage at the recently-held Uva Provincial Council election. Do you agree they still have the people’s support?
A: It is not only the people who are against the Rajapaksa administration; their own Cabinet Ministers are against them. It is these Ministers who are happy about the results. Many of them came to me in Parliament and said how satisfied and glad they were about the drop of UPFA votes.
A provincial council is always favourable to the ruling party. But even under such circumstances the Government had to face this tragedy. This is not only the UPFA; there are so many other minor parties who are with them. If it wasn’t for those parties, the UPFA would have not been able to gather those votes in Badulla. But during a presidential election things will be a lot more different. During a national election the outcome will be a lot more different to a provincial council election and it will not be favourable to the Rajapaksas. The Uva election result has given a clear indication that this Government can be easily defeated. There are Cabinet Ministers who are ready to work to defeat the President.