President Maithripala Sirisena has expressed his unwillingness to offer premiership to Mahinda Rajapakse after the polls. He assured that he would work with the victorious party to implement the mandate of the people given on Jan 8.
President Sirisena was speaking to media on the current political developments at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday. He said:
If the SLFP wins the election there are several senior politicians in the party to be the Prime Minister. Former President Rajapaksa who did not allow the deserving seniority get their due post is now trying again to deny party seniors premiership by attempting to be PM even after completing two terms of presidency.
My first intention was to dissolve the parliament on January 10 immediately after resuming as President on January 9. However I could not do so as I had to fulfill the task given under the 100 day programme. As promised I made Ranil Wickremesinghe as PM though the UNP had only 47 members in Parliament and succeeded in implementing the 100day program that included the 19th amendment to curtain excessive powers of Executive Presidency.
When the vast majority of UPFA members demanded that Mahinda Rajapaksa should be given nomination and make him the Prime Ministerial candidature he pointedly refused these demands. However, when he had to dissolve the parliament to prevent Mahinda Rajapaksa from becoming Prime Minister by defeating Ranil Wickremasinghe in a no confidence motion and enter parliament in National list member I prevented these designs by dissolving the parliament.
Once the nomination and election days were announced, UPFA members demanded that Mahinda Rajapaksa should be given nominations. Then I was left with two options. One is to resign from the party leadership. But if I had done that Mahinda Rajapaksa would have become the party President and appointed only his people as candidates for the election leaving out all those who supported the common candidate at the presidential election.
To prevent that I decided to remain the party leadership but allow them to nominate him as the candidate, though I am still opposed to this. This led to political analysts and media vehemently attacking me as a villain and betrayer. But I take all these criticisms in my style as this reflects the blooming of democracy and media freedom which was lacking prior to January 8.
But you will realize in the near future that my actions due to my belief that there should be a bicameral party system for the survival of democracy in a country and I always wanted to prevent annihilation of a political party after an electoral debacle, as happen in 1970, 1977 and again in 2010.
Despite many obstacles, the government formed on January 8 would provide benefits to people, salary increase to public servants, reduce fuel and gas prices and take effective steps to reduce powers of the president and transfer them to parliament constitution council and other institutions.
His role in the general election is to ensure free democratic impartial election is held and to extend fullest support to the election commissioner, police and the officials for that purpose.
I will remain impartial in the coming election and urge the people to select those who are suitable to march forward with the January 08 mandate.
After the election results are declared for the next five years I will take forward the transformation that began on January 8 and continue in the same past for the next five years, and I am certain that the people will judge me by the end of that period.
I appeal to the media not to misuse the media freedom and enjoy the blooming of democratic rights and media freedom in the country objective.’