Cost of Living : Key to losing LG polls - UNP

All parties in Govt. have suffered setbacks - PM



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by Zacki Jabbar

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says the main reason for the UNP’s loss at the recently concluded local government elections was its inability to reduce the cost of living.


The high price of essentials such as  coconuts and other frequently used commodities affected on the final results, but there were valid reasons for that such as the floods and droughts which hit various parts of the country during the last three years, he said addressing the media at Temple Trees on Friday, for the first time since the February 10 polls results were released.


The Prime Minister assured that the UNP was listening to the voters voices and would take appropriate measures to provide more relief to the people during the remainder of their term which is scheduled to end in August 2020. "We have implemented many of our pledges , but more needs to be done, such as addressing fertilizer issues, etc. The Central Bank projected a 5.5 percent growth rate by the end of last year, but the adverse weather conditions reversed that trend."


Taking responsibility for the UNP’s defeat, Wickremesinghe described  the verdict as a  "barometer" that was not unusual and  a midterm phenomenon witnessed in many countries.


"The good thing was that the voters by issuing a wake up call at this juncture had given our National Unity Government ample time to rectify its mistakes," he noted, adding that all parties in the current administration and not just the UNP had suffered setbacks.


The Premier said that the government was having discussion on how to restructure in accordance with new programmes it had introduced in addition to the mandates it had received in January and August 2015. 


A Cabinet reshuffle would also take place shortly, he added.


Asked if the UNP’s failure to prove allegations that the Rajapaksas had committed serious crimes and  the Report of the Presidential Commission on Treasury Bond Issues in 2015 and 2016 had impacted on the February 10 , polls verdict,  he said ." We have initiated action according to the law and the process takes time to complete. But the people are impatient. Yes, the slow progress had an adverse bearing on the final outcome."


The Prime Minister emphasised that President Maithripala Sirisena had not asked him to resign , but conveyed the position taken by some SLFP Ministers and MPs that they could muster the required numbers to form a government. 


"It’s up to the claimants to prove their majority", he said. "For now I am the Prime Minister and will carry out my duties according to the Constitution."


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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