ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the coalition government will continue despite its defeat at last week’s local government polls with major reforms planned in his own party, giving more prominence to the younger generation.
He said there will be a transition to the younger generation after the members of local councils are appointed. Wickremesinghe said he came to the party 40 years ago but there were people who entered the party recently.
The second level people would be give the day-to-day running of the party, he said.
The new administration was badly hit by alleged cover-up of a securities scam involving ex-Central Bank Governor Arjun Mahendran, which undermined its stand on ending corruption.
He blamed the ruling coalition’s defeat on the effects of a severe drought, delayed implementation of reforms promised at the 2015 presidential and parliamentary polls which brought it to power, and delays in prosecuting members of the former Rajapaksa regime accused of corruption as well as the bondscam.
The coalition government, an alliance between the two main political parties, Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) of President Maithripala Sirisena, will act according to the constitution, Wickremesinghe told a news conference.
The coalition did badly at the February 10 local government polls, where the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), a proxy party of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, emerged as the single largest party.
Wickremesinghe, who fended off demands from within his own UNP and outside for his resignation, said there will be major reforms in the party.
The younger generation is to take over running of the party, he said.
Sirisena is also to hold talks with the opposition which emerged as the largest party in the local government polls. (COLOMBO, February 16, 2018)