Sri Lanka’s President Maithri blasts Mahinda’s PM hopes
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena blasted his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa’s prime ministerial hopes by declaring today that he will give the job to anybody but the former leader.
In a scathing attack on Rajapakse, Sirisena also cautioned him to refrain from carrying out a "communal" campaign that could heighten religious and ethnic tensions and lead to violence in a country recovering from a decades-long separatist war.
"Should the party secure a majority, the prime minister should be another senior, but not you," Sirisena said in a five-page letter to Rajapakse. "Even if I have to intervene to form a coalition, you will not be the prime minister."
Sirisena said although Rajapaksa had been visiting temple after temple in the past six months drumming up support for himself, he does not appear to have benefited spiritually.
"From the private conversations that you have been having with our party members, it is clear that you are still spewing hatred and anger and you are full of yourself," Sirisena said. "I am sorry that you have not spiritually gained from the time you spent in temples."
Should the UPFA win Monday’s election, the prime minister post will be given to one among Nimal Siripala de Silva, John Seneviratne, Chamal Rajapaksa, Athauda Seneviratne, A. H. M. Fowzie, Susil Premajayantha and Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, he said.
"I hope you will be flexible and generous enough to bless my choice for the prime minister post."
"For the benefit of the party and the country, I urge you to refrain from making any communal statements."
– Photo snapped Sirisena-
Political sources said President Sirisena snapped when he saw the Rajapaksa camp use his photo in campaign advertisements to drum up support for Rajapaksa.
He made it clear that the photograph had been used without his consent, but told Rajapaksa that many who were with him were also secretly in contact with him (Sirisena) to join a national government after Monday.
"Those who support you now want to do politics with me after the elections. They want ministerial portfolios," Sirisena said without naming names.
Political analysts see Sirisena’s letter as a sign of the bitter enmity between him and Rajapaksa.
The latest salvo from Sirisena is not expected to drastically alter the electoral fortunes of any party, but it would certainly discourage Rajapaksa’s party workers. (Update) (Colombo/August 13 2015)