PM: Return of Rajapaksa regime won’t be allowed


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Reiterating his commitment to protect what he called the January 8 revolution which brought Maithripala Sirisena to power, Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday vowed to wipe out ‘Rajapaksa regime’ at the August 17 parliamentary polls.

Premier Wickremesinghe compared the Rajapaksa era with that of South Indian invasion led by Kalinga Maga in 1214 A.D.

The Premier was addressing the media at Temple Trees after having reached an agreement with Eksath Jathika Yahapalana Peramuna (formerly JHU) and a breakaway faction of the SLFP (Democratic National Movement) to contest the parliamentary polls on the UNP ticket The SLMC, too, contests on the UNP ticket in all districts except Vanni and Batticaloa.

Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne functions as the leader of the rebel SLFP faction.

Premier Wickremesinghe stressed the need for a new political alliance to guarantee the implementation of promises given at the January 8 presidential election.

The new alliance is named the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG).

Wickremesinghe recalled how the UNP, progressive elements in the SLFP, the SLMC, All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ALMC) as well as Palani Digambaram, Radhakrishna and Mano Ganeshan rallied around then SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena. "We made SLFP General Secretary the President. Maithripala Sirisena made a huge sacrifice."

Referring to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s return to parliamentary politics, Premier Wickremesinghe said that the formation of a multi-party political organization was required to counter the former President’s move to launch what he called a counter revolution. Revealing that he initiated the move to form a new alliance, Premier Wickremesinghe admitted that the new alliance would contest under the UNP’s Elephant symbol.

Wickremesinghe assured that UNFGG constituents in next parliament would have the freedom to function independently. Revealing plans to appoint a new leadership council, Premier Wickremesinghe called for a two-thirds majority to implement the promises made at the presidential election.

Premier Wickremesinghe said that media freedom had been re-established and ‘white van’ operations stopped consequent to the presidential poll, The UNPer said that his effort was to transform the country, enhance democracy, good governance.

Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka alleged that massive investments were being made by racketeers to reverse the January 8 victory. Minister Ranawaka stressed the need for a major alliance to protect the January 8 triumph.

Ranawaka expressed confidence that progressive elements in the SLFP under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena would join them following UNFGG victory at the forthcoming polls. The country couldn’t return to a dark era, Ranawaka said, adding that there was no space for intimidation of anyone.

The JHU stalwart declared that it would be the responsibility of all to ensure that the unitary status of Sri Lanka as well as prevent return to an environment of war.

While applauding the passage of the 19 Amendment to the Constitution in accordance with President Maithripala Sirisena’s 100-day project, Minister Ranawaka regretted that failure on the part of the last parliament to endorse the 20 Amendment meant to bring far reaching electoral reforms.

The minister called for far reaching national economic reforms under the next government.

Dr Rajitha Senaratne said they had no option but to switch allegiance to the new alliance in the wake of the SLFP accommodating former President Rajapaksa and others under a cloud. Dr Senaratne said that they couldn’t forget those who had exercised their franchise in support of Maithripala Sirisena. The rebel SLFP faction includes Earl Gunasekera, M.K.D.S. Gunawardena and Dr Sarath Amunugama.

Arjuna Ranatunga, who entered parliament on Democratic National Alliance (DNA) ticket at the last parliamentary polls in April 2010, will contest the forthcoming poll on the UNP ticket. Ranatunga has aligned with the rebel SLFPers.

Dr Senaratne said that they had the blessings of Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha, who spearheaded a successful campaign against the former President.

The rebel leader declared that the new government’s first priority would be to introduce the 20 Amendment to the Constitution.

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