ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka's United National Party will take 'drastic measures' to maintain public rust and carry out promises made in 2015, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said after a new opposition party swept local council polls.
Samaraweera said the coalition promised to abolish the executive presidency, restore the independence of the public service and enshrine the rights of all Sri Lankans. They also promised bring to book those who robbed funds and hold accountable killers of journalists.
"Most of all we promised you a government that would be free of the rampant corruption that defined the decade that came before us," Samaraweera said in a statement.
He said for the first time in the nation's history a government has investigated allegations of corruption within its own party and insisted that ministers must resign from the cabinet at the first sing of wrongdoing but "justice is yet to be served."
"Today the people told us that we have not done enough," he said. "The message from the people has sunk deep into the UNP, and we are committed to taking drastic measures to fulfil promises made three years ago and maintain the public trust."
Samaraweera for the first time an election has been conducted under independent public institutions, with no mis-use of state funds or independence.
He said the Sri Lanka Podujana Party, backed by ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa had got 4.9 million votes which was 44.7 percent of the voters, but the UNP and while President Sirisena's candidate had received 46 percent,
He said 55.3 percent had voted against a return to Rajapaksa rule.
"Our duty is to broaden our vote base by delivering results, while joining hands with all honest and democratic political forces to uplift our motherland and ensure that Sri Lanka never against returns to rule by the sword.
"That is our calling and we must not fail. Our democracy our republic depends on it."