If Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa wins a second term at an early presidential election two years ahead of the scheduled time, he will have to forfeit two years of his first term, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, MP told a press conference at party headquarters yesterday.
Responding to The Island queries, Dissanayake said that a Supreme Court ruling given during the tenure of President Rajapaksa’s predecessor, Chandrika Kumaratunga said that the incumbent president could not retain the remaining period in the event of his/her winning a second term at a premature election.
Asked to explain, he said that if an incumbent president lost his bid for a second term at an early election, he would automatically forfeit the remaining period won at the previous poll. In keeping with this, an incumbent president winning a second term could not be entitled to anything more than six years, he said.
He expressed confidence that the judiciary would ensure transparency and prevent any party from manipulating the system.
He urged President Rajapaksa to complete his full term without seeking to manipulate the election process to the advantage of ‘the Rajapaksas’. He said the President still believed that an early presidential election would be advantageous to him as all UPFA members could be expected to throw their weight behind his campaign.
The JVP Central Committee member said that if the President called an early presidential election, the JVP would do its utmost to defeat the President. Responding to our queries, he said that the next presidential election could even be a three-cornered fight with the JVP backing a candidate other than the candidate fielded by the UNP-led United National Alliance. He emphasised that their strategy would be very much different from one adopted in the event of a presidential election being held two years from now.
The JVPer said that the President had reduced the Cabinet as well as Parliament to just rubber stamps. He said that the Rajapaksas had direct control of about 80 per cent of public funds whereas the 110 members of the Cabinet handled the rest. The cabinet could be easily reduced as many had absolutely nothing to do, he said, adding that they should be ashamed to remain in the ruling coalition.