President vows to extend hand of friendship to all


by Dasun Edirisinghe

President Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday that unity of all communities was the only way for a better future. He also stressed the need to strengthen the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

Addressing the SLFP May Day rally at Hyde Park, the President said he used his powers only for the good of the people and promised to do anything for the future of the country.

He said that he would ensure the fundamental rights and human rights in the country at a level that no foreign agency could lay any blame.

"I will show a better human rights situation within a year and will not allow the international community to accuse Sri Lanka of violating human rights," President Sirisena said.

He said that no one could manipulate him other than the people, but a section of the media was spreading false stories.

Sirisena said that during such a short period he had proved that he had fulfilled the promises given to the people.

He cited the passage of the 19th amendment to the Constitution as an example. He said he had also ordered to reinstate some employees of the Road Development Authority (RDA) and Board of Investment (BOI) expelled from the service after the presidential election.

Sirisena said that the President would be answerable to Parliament according to the 19th amendment and he was very happy about that section.

"I attended SLFP meetings in some districts recently and expect to meet SLFP grassroots level in other districts shortly," he said, adding that he would extend the hand of friendship to all for the betterment of the country.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s message to the rally was read by SLFP National Organiser and UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha. It was received by cheering crowd.

In his message former President Rajapaksa said that his government had been able to strengthen the public sector and rights of workers, but thousands of people lost their jobs due to the stopping of mega development projects after the Presidential election.

SLFP supporters who gathered at Hyde Park booed when former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga got on to the stage. They also hooted when Kumaratunga’s name was mentioned by MPs in their speeches and they cheered when former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s name was mentioned.

Former President Kumaratunga left the Hyde Park within 30 minutes of her arrival.

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