Mahinda promises a brighter future for all
Northern PC under 13th A, changes to PC and Local Govt systems
Wants to do away with PR system

President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday unveiled a 14-point programme titled, ‘A brighter future’ with a promise to bring Sri Lanka to a prominent position in Asia and the world and work towards a political solution to the ethnic problem.

The manifesto is aimed at enhancing the stature of the country with focus on new areas of development and the opportunities for investment and economic progress. The 2010 election manifesto of President Rajapaksa is an expanded vision of ‘Mahinda Chinthana’.

At yesterday’s launch at the BMICH, the President said that because of having to spend most of the four years of his first term fighting LTTE terrorism in the face of pressure from a section of the international community bent of saving the terrorists, he had barely six months left to concentrate fully on other issues.

"We are now ready to lead our children and our nation to a brighter future as stakeholders of a truly free motherland," President says in his policy statement.

The President promises to establish the Northern Provincial Council under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. He also reveals a plan for far reaching changes to the Provincial Council and Local Government systems.

The President proposes to set up a Senate comprising professionals and the clergy to pave way for their participation in the affairs of the State. He proposes to change the existing PR system and to introduce a new electoral system. To ensure minority representation in Parliament, members would be also elected on the basis of District cum National percentages, the

President says. While proposing to remove the President’s executive power to dissolve Parliament after one year from last date of elections, the President assures he would curtail presidential powers.

He assures that his next term would be wholly devoted to addressing these issues that would take the country to development and progress, giving priority to the battle against corruption with the same determination with which he fought the underworld and terrorism.

He vows to fight corruption, develop the country and build a strong and healthy society. Stating that Sri Lanka was now a nation of one people, the President says he will soon hold the provincial election in the North to hand over power to the people there.

"I was in Jaffna, Vavuniya and the East during the weekend and people there were all smiles," the President said adding that he felt they yearned for development.

President Rajapaksa, speaking in Tamil, said that he had destroyed terrorism and restored peace in the country and people were now free to live in any part of the country. He also gave an assurance that the Northern Region, too, would be developed in the due course like the other parts of the country.

He said five ports were coming up round the country. "We have started gigantic development projects in this country already and the people could reap benefits," he said.

The President said it was time to continue development work that had commence four years back and the next decade would be aptly named the ‘Development Decade’ of Sri Lanka.

He said the youth in the country had valiantly fought for victory and he was confident that they would be partners in the development drive of the nation.

The President said he had stood against tremendous international pressure to protect the nation and warned that there were some elements trying to revive terrorism and urged the people to exercise caution. He accused his opponents of trying to make way for another Eelam struggle in this country.

He said, "Today there is a new map for Sri Lanka; today, there are no so-called border villages; it is one Sri Lanka, an undivided country where all communities can live in harmony."

The people were now free, the President said. "But, way back in 2005 November when I took over the reins of government, the country was in utter chaos due to a Ceasefire Agreement. On one side was a Parliament where a Speaker could not be appointed and on the other was a weak Army which was incapable of fighting a war. The farmers were committing suicide unable to sell their produce and the psyche of the whole country was in a defeatist state."

He said that the biggest asset he possessed was the confidence of people, which he said he had enjoyed for over four decades in politics.

"Today I have overcome all obstacles and brought an honourable peace to the motherland. Today people not only enjoy peace but live with honour and dignity. Farmers receive fertiliser at very low rates but sell their produce for a very good price. One out of every twenty people is a government servant" he said.

The UPFA government had not allowed a drop of water to flow into the sea before full use has been made of it collected in places like the Moragahakanda, Yan Oya, Kumbukkan Oya, Deduru Oya reservoirs,’ he said.

"We launched mammoth development projects and brought radical changes to develop the economy. For another century the country will not need another airport, a seaport, Expressways etc as so many development projects have been implemented, he said.

The government had made a credible change and now the only thing left to do was not to betray the country, the President said.

"When the LTTE was a formidable terrorist organisation worldwide, I didn’t agree to the conditions laid down by the terrorists or the international community. Now the Tigers are no more," said the President.

"But certain elements are trying to reopen old wounds. They are trying to pave the way for Eelam in this country by signing agreements with LTTE proxies", the President said.

"Those who helped the Tigers while we were fighting the war, Tiger supporters here as well as the LTTE leaders living among the Tamil Diaspora, have joined with these elements to realise their dream of Tamil Eelam. However, I am prepared to fight them once again and defeat them. Hence, every vote for the betel leaf is a vote for defending the freedom of the country", Rajapaksa said.

"What we need is a country where all communities could live in peace and harmony. This country belongs to all Sri Lankans and they cannot think of another country as their motherland" he said.

"The masses living in both the North and the East accept our economic policies as much as they do in the South of this country. Our economic policy is to build the nation economically and not to help foreign entrepreneurs and racketeers line their pockets", Rajapaksa said.

"The masses should remember that it was the village lads who fought and defeated the most ruthless terrorist group in the world and it is the youth from the villages who will launch the economic revolution in this country and make Sri Lanka a top economy in Asia", he said.

"I spent the major part of the past four years ruling this country fighting terrorism and I defeated terrorism and united the country. Now my ambition is to create a Sri Lanka sans corruption and violence," the President concluded.

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