Making a special statement today, President Maithripala Sirisena said, that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was defeated on January 8th will be defeated again, “I continue to stand against Mahinda Rajapaksa” he further said
The President said 49 years of experience in politics was one of the reasons they selected him as the common candidate. “Although some have criticized me for taking party leadership, all that my government achieved was possible because I was president of SLFP and UPFA, if I resigned, all whom Mahinda Rajapaksa wanted would have received nominations,” President Sirisena said.
“I informed SLFP leaders including Dinesh and Vasudeva that I am against granting nominations to Mahinda Rajapaksa. I continue to stand against Mahinda Rajapaksa,”
“Whoever wins the next election my hope is to implement the wishes of those who voted for me on Jan 8th, There are many other SLFP seniors who are qualified to be the Prime Minister of this country,”
President Sirisena said he is committed to making the upcoming election a free and fair one and applaud those who criticize him.
“I am very happy that I was able to restore the freedom of expression in this country. But we should enjoy that freedom with a sense of responsibility.”
However, the UPFA has already indicated that Mahinda Rajapaksa will be the Prime Minister if they secure the parliament at the August 17th elections.
President Sirisena expressing his commitment to conduct a free and fair election said whoever wins the next election his sincere wish is that they would implement the wishes of those who voted for him on January 8th.
A statement from the President Secretariat said:
Speaking to media on the current political developments at the Presidential Secretariat today (July 14) the President said that if the SLFP wins the election there are several senior politicians in the party to be the Prime Minister. Former President Rajapaksa who did not allow the deserving seniors to get their due posts is now trying again to deny party seniors the premiership by attempting to be PM even after completing two terms in the presidency.
I will continue to give leadership to the change the ushered in on January 8 with the newly elected members after the nest General election, President Maithripala Sirisena said. He said he will form a government with the victorious political parties after August 17 election and he has no intention of appointing Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister.
President Sirisena said that his first intention was to dissolve the parliament on January 10 immediately after resuming as President on January 9. However he could not do so as he had to fulfill the task given under the 100 day programme. As promised I made Ranil Wickremesinghe as PM though the UNP had only 47 members in Parliament and succeeded in implementing the 100day program that included the 19th amendment to curtain excessive powers of Executive Presidency, he said.
The President said at when the vast majority of UPFA members demanded that Mahinda Rajapaksa should be given nomination and made the Prime Ministerial candidature he pointedly refused these demands. However, when he had to dissolve the parliament to prevent Mahinda Rajapaksa from becoming Prime Minister by defeating Ranil Wickremasinghe in a no confidence motion and enter parliament through the National list he prevented these designs by dissolving parliament.
Once the nomination and election day were announced UPFA members demanded that Mahinda Rajapaksa should be given nomination. Then I was left with two options. One is to resign from the party leadership. But if he had done that Mahinda Rajapaksa would have become the party President and appointed only his people as candidates for the election leaving out all those who supported the common candidate at the presidential election.
To prevent that he decided to retain the party leadership but allow to nominate Mahinda Rajapaksa as a candidate, though he is still opposed to it. This led to political analysts and the media vehemently attacking him as a villain and betrayer. This reflects the blooming of democracy and media freedom which was lacking prior to January 8.
The people will realize in the future that that there should be a bicameral party system for the survival of democracy and to prevent annihilation of a political party after an electoral debacle, as happened in 1970, 1977 and in 2010, the President said.
President Sirisena said despite many obstacles the government formed on January 8 provided benefits to people, salary increase to public servants, reduce fuel and gas prices and take effective steps to reduce powers of the president and transfer them to parliament constitution council and other institutions.
The President said that his role in the general election is to ensure that a free, democratic and an impartial election is held and to extend the fullest support to the election commissioner, police and the officials for that purpose. “I will remain impartial at the coming election and urge the people to select those who are suitable to march forward with the January 08 mandate” said the President. After the election results are declared I will take forward the transformation that began on January 8 for the next five years and I am certain that the people will judge me by the end of that period.
President Sirisena appealed to the media not to misuse the media freedom and enjoy the blooming of democratic rights and media freedom in the country objective.