Sunday October 21, 2018

Sri Lanka President hints at ditching UNP-dominated govt

By Our Political Correspondent

Dec 23, 2017 20:58 PM GMT+0530 | 8 Comment(s)

ECONOMYNEXT - President Maithripala Sirisena, who is at loggerheads with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP), has strongly hinted at a possible split of their coalition mid-way of its five-year term.

The President told his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) loyalists that he has decided to carry out the "second stage" of his daring political bravery of defecting  from the then strongman president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government in November 2014.

A rank outsider, Sirisena quit his Health ministry portfolio and challenged his former boss at the snap presidential election of January 2015. He won spectacularly with the support of a UNP-led rainbow coalition clamouring for good governance after a decade of autocratic rule.

On Friday evening, Sirisena said the way to save the country from the scourge of bribery and corruption was to strengthen his SLFP which he described as the only "clean political force in the country."

"Without strengthening the SLFP, I don't see any clean political force that could save the country at this time in its history....

"As I took a courageous and bold decision to leave the (then) government on November 21, 2014, I have today decided to take my next major step. It will be in the interest of the country and its people to ensure a clean political force," he said.

He said he did not fear consequences of his impending action out of his love for the country and its people.

"Whatever happens to me, I will do it. Otherwise we cannot save this country. Someone has to do this. The person who is doing it will have the support of  lakhs of people," he added without specifying what his action will be.

His comments come ahead of the February 10 local council elections at which his SLFP will take on Prime Minister Wickremesinghe's UNP as well as the Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP) loyal to Rajapaksas.

Last month, President Sirisena suggested that Wickremesinghe's government could be more corrupt than the previous regime.

He said the Rajapaksa was responsible for several mistakes, but the UNP-dominated government was no better.

"The SLFP made some mistake, but if the UNP is also making the same mistakes, and even exceeding (the corruption) of the SLFP regime, the people will not approve it.

"If there is any allegation against me, I am willing to give up all my posts and join the battle against corruption," he said amid applause at a public meeting in Nikaweratiya in November.

However, the UNP pointed out that Sirisena had since been in contact with Basil Rajapaksa, the then Economic Development minister under his president brother, and had been seeking rapprochement with SLFP dissidents in a bid to beat the UNP at the February local elections. Basil Rajapaksa had been accused of being a symbol of the Rajapaksa-ear corruption and is currently facing prosecution over his allegedly ill-gotten wealth. He has denied any wrongdoing.

The UNP is also blaming Sirisena for blocking the arrest of former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who is a person of interest in several high profile murder investigations and massive scale corruption.

However, President Sirisena has denied he was interfering with investigations.

He said his appointment of a commission to investigate controversial bond purchases under the current government was applauded by both Sri Lankans in the country and abroad.

After he was provided with a full report at the end of this year, he will appoint another commission to investigate state-owned Sri Lankan airlines and Mihin air, he added. The current board of Sri Lankan airlines, appointed by Wickremesinghe, has been accused of mismanagement and corruption and several ministers have already called for a clean-up of the airline’s top management. (COLOMBO, December 23, 2017)



  1. Park January 14, 10:45 AM

    We have unfortunately elected a President who won with UNP votes and after winning brought in SLFP lost candidates into the Govt. T
    hen he allows part of SLFP to sit in the opposition and delays elections. Subsequently appoints two commissions one to investigate mega rogues and the other for the bond sales. Unfortunately the mandate given to these two commissions were different. Bond Commission had stiffer terms than the Rogue Commission.
    Once the reports were presented to him he described in more detail the Bond report findings and skid through the Rogue report, may be his party members are all involved there. Then he delays giving the report to the Parliament when he clearly knows that there was going to be a debate on Bond Commission report. He also displays double standard when it comes to Women affairs.
    He is reversing the Women being able to work in liquor selling places and buying liquor and also does nothing to safeguard child marriages and divorce laws of Muslim Women. Its time we all give a deeper thought to whom we have elected.

  2. Futu December 25, 06:47 AM

    Wait wait Let me get this joke straight. Did he just say SLFP to be the cleanest political party in Sri Lanka? Ha ha ha No wonder he's being bashed at all corners of the society lol

  3. sacre blieu December 25, 08:44 AM

    With a weak and un-impacting leadership,mainly the premiere, the disregard for law and order, the frequent occurrences of fraud , bribery and corruption, the population is subjected to daily dose of humiliation of all forms. The experiences have become worse despite the claims been made otherwise. Our leadership is regarded as, not only weak but suspicious, and therefore the country gets bashed all round by powerful bullying countries who pummel us into submission, as now seen by the tea ban into Russia.

  4. jay ranaweera December 25, 12:28 PM

    sirisena is a treacherous coup master who secretly joined with ranil.sirisena had aappa with MR the day before the nominations day and the following day handed over nominations to contest for the presidency against MR.Ranil knew that he can never win an election so he secretly got hold of the traitor sirisena.

  5. sam December 24, 05:18 AM

    Known devil is better than unknown

  6. Gajaba December 24, 04:38 AM

    Sirisena can not be trusted. His this statement is a Joke. There are so many politicians with him, who has lost election but still in the parliament. Moreover, Sirisena is claiming the SLFP to be the only clean party. Really? Who is he kidding??

  7. anonymous December 24, 12:56 PM

    Sri Lanka President hints at ditching UNP-dominated govt Or, is it the other way around.The biggest mistake the coalition made was, picking this man for presidency. Sooner they leave the better.

  8. Champa December 24, 08:13 AM

    There is a possible split between Maithri and Ranil? Hard to believe. They are inter-dependent, no choice. Must be playing another game. Besides they both had deals with Basil SLPP to weaken the Joint Opposition. If not for his betrayal, Yahapalanaya duo dare not even think of going before the masses.
    Maithri's SLFP will win the election. That is the deal and there are other supporting factors like having a political appointee as the Chairman/Elections Commission. He says distributing goods during election time is ok if they were planned prior to the announcement of the election.
    This is totally bias. Whether they were pre-planned or not, distributing various goods and services at government expense especially, is bribing voters which is a clear violation of the Election Law.

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