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Monday, April 22, 2024

Forget PM Ambitions, President Tells Rajapaksa

Demonstrate flexibility, generosity by paving the way for a SLFP senior.

President Maithripala Sirisena in a strongly worded letter informed his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa to cooperate with him to appoint a senior SLFPer as Prime Minister in the event the UPFA secures 113 seats at the election.

The President categorically stated that his choice was not Mahinda Rajapaksa. President Sirisena said that he believed that the next Prime Minister should be a senior member of the SLFP who has not received such an opportunity in the past to hold that office, if the UPFA secures the majority in Parliament at the election.

President Sirisena asked his predecessor Rajapaksa to extend his cooperation and blessings to appoint the next Prime Minister from among Nimal Siripala de Silva, John Seneviratne, Chamal Rajapaksa, Athauda Seneviratne, A.H.M. Fowzie, Susil Premajayantha and Anura Priyadarshana Yapa in the name of the party and the people of the country, in the event of the UPFA securing a majority. He said he can intervene in the formation of the government in the event of the UPFA obtaining a little under 113 seats.

“In such an event too the Prime Minister will certainly not be you but one of the most senior members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party,” the President stressed.

He said the Sri Lanka Freedom Party is the only party with leaders with foresight, forthrightness and political maturity.

“The democratic rights and the freedom of the people were denied with the adoption of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution by you in an arbitrary manner.”

The President said that the introduction of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution shattered the spirit and the social democracy within the Sri Lanka Freedom party.

The President added that former President Rajapaksa did an injustice to senior members of the SLFP by bringing the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.

“You have robbed the dignity of the party and the freedom of the people by bringing this piece of legislation for you to remain in power forever,” the President wrote to his predecessor. He said that the former President took away the “political future of those who toiled and sweated for the party for you to remain in power forever.”

The letter added:

“One of the seniors in our party would have become a President and another a Prime Minister if you retired on the completion of two terms of office as former President.”

“It seems that you are trying to deprive these opportunities to the senior members of the party even after this election,” he said adding that these senior members of the SLFP should receive their due place at least now.

“It is hilarious how you approach each and every temple in the country and how you obtain publicity for such events since your defeat on January 8″. I am very well aware of how you behaved and how you thought during the period beginning from January 26, 2010 to November 21 of 2014. I have serious reservations whether your constant presence at temples has created serene thoughts in your mind,” President Sirisena wrote. “It has been reported that the discussions you have held with the party members at personal level have shown your hatred, egoism and malice.”

The President also appealed to Rajapaksa to act intellectually without giving into emotions for the benefit of the party and the country until election day. He also requested him not to fan the flames of racisim and drive a wedge in the party. The President said the UPFA will be able to secure more seats in Parliament if he does not fan the flames of racism and drive a wedge in the party.

President Sirisena said the concept of forming a national government is not his own proposal. “When it was proposed, the SFLP Central Committee and the Parliamentary group approved this proposal. The President said that those who pose as your followers are in the habit of attacking the former SLFP Parliamentarians who became ministers of this national government.

“It is a mere contention for preferential votes. Those who pose as your followers, and those who are praising you are in close contact with me,” he said.

The President said that they in the practise of phoning him and sending messages through their representatives . “They want to do politics with me after the election. They are prepared to do politics. They want to have a ministerial portfolio to ensure that their political future is protected,” he said. The President added that those who posed as friends of yours are in the habit of attacking the former Parliamentarians who became the ministers of the present government with an intention of damaging their reputation and people’s confidence.

“I am looking patiently how these so called followers of yours have used my photo for the UPFA election campaign on the eve of the election,” he said.

The President added that he deliberately retreated when his predecessor Rajapaksa attempted to hand over nominations separately for the sake of the unity of the party. “When the nominations were being prepared for the Gampaha district, I was of the view that giving nominations to three members of the Ranatunga family does not seem to be practical,” he said.

“I expected that the Western Province Chief Minister would have withdrawn his nomination papers,” he said.

“Your stance in this respect was that you would contest separately if the Chief Minister is not given nomination,” he said. “I remained silent even after a member of the Ranatunga family left the party and joined the UNP,” he said. “My strategical withdrawal helped avert a division in the party over a nomination paper of a member.”

The President said that SLFP activists did not face a gruesome experience in defeat after the SLFP’s defeat on Janaury 8. The President said that the SLFP activists did not face any harassement at hand of UNP supporters unlike in 1977 and 2001 with the defeat of SLFP at the last presidential election.

“That is because of me. I became a president after working for the party for over 48 years. I held the post General Secretary of the party for mor more than 13 years,” he said. “I took prompt action to stop all kind of election violence and ensure the protection of SLFP activists at all levels,” he said.

“I propose you to think of the fate of you and SLFP activists around the country, if somebody elese would have defeated you and become the President,” he said.

The President said that he provided polical protection to all SLFP members including the parliamentarians, provincial and local government members and the SLFP members at the grass root level after he became President.


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