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Mangala steps down from Parliamentary politics: “Gotabaya is inefficient and shortsighted”

ECONOMYNEXT – Veteran politician Mangala Samaraweera is saying he is stepping down from Parliamentary politics and asked voters not to cast their preferential vote for him at the upcoming Parliamentary General Elections.

Samaraweera has represented the Matara district for more than thirty years in Parliament and has held important ministerial portfolios in a number of governments.

He was at first Foreign Minister and after that Finance Minister in the last United National Party government.

“This is in no way retirement from politics or giving it up completely. I seek to develop democracy, reconciliation and development beyond Parliament,” he told a group of supporters at his residence in Matara today.

He said that he has informed Samagi Jana Balavegaya leader Sajith Premadasa as well UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe of this decision.

He asked his supporters not to mark their preference for him at the Parliamentary General elections as he does not wish to return to Parliament.

He said that in the six months that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has ruled he has shown himself to be an inefficient and shortsighted leader.

He said that under President Rajapaksa, “ethnic, racial and religious divisions among the people of the country are being widened while the state is being militarized and that the opposition does not seem to have a clear understanding of what its role and duty should be at a time when the nation is faced with such grave challenges.”

“This has brought the country into a deep crisis, and I wonder what I would do as an Opposition politician in this situation,” he said in a statement released to media.

Samaraweera said that the UNP should go back to its roots and its basic principles must be implemented to rebuild Sri Lanka. The former Minister stated that, in his view, “if our nation is to be resurrected it is necessary that the fundamental values and principles of the United National Party are activated. He, therefore, expressed his deep regret at the division that has occurred in the Party.”

In the statement, Samaraweera stressed that “it is necessary to initiate a movement towards a progressive political trajectory in Sri Lanka in partnership with the people in this country who respect democracy, and the different social identities and cultural traditions in the country, and people who are not overwhelmed and consumed by hatred towards one another.”

He urged the people in this country who are not governed and guided solely by their racial, caste, religious, ethnic and gender identities at birth and those who are free of political, cultural and social hypocrisy to come together and join forces for this purpose.

“I seek a new direction,” he said. (Colombo, June 9, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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