Sri Lanka’s former Prime Minister calls for everyone’s support to re-establish democracy
Sri Lanka’s former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today requested everyone to set aside political differences and rally around him to re-establish the democracy in the country to ensure a better future for the younger generation.
Addressing the constitutional crisis in the country at a special media conference in Temple Trees on Monday, Wickremesinghe said the rights of every citizen of Sri Lanka were blatantly violated on the 26th of October 2018 and undermining the constitution sets a dangerous precedent that erodes the very fabric of the society.
“Our government worked hard to regain the freedoms that were lost until 2015. We established the RTI Act, independent commissions, and an unprecedented democratic culture. Let us not allow these hard-won freedoms to be taken away from us again,” he said.
“The events of last Friday were blatantly illegal, unconstitutional, and opportunistic. The violent incidents that took place at ITN, Rupavahini, and Lakehouse on Friday are indicative of the possible fate of media freedom in our country,” he reminded the media.
The former Prime Minister categorically rejected every one of the allegations made by the President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday against him and against the Cabinet.
Calling on the Speaker of the Parliament to convene the parliament immediately Wickremesinghe said “We can save our country from this unfortunate and difficult situation only through re-establishing democracy within the Parliamentary system.?
He said a letter signed by 126 members of parliament requesting to reconvene the parliament prorogued by the President until November 16 has been forwarded to the Speaker.
The UNP leader said he is hopeful that the Speaker will use his powers to call Parliament next day or the day after.
The complete message of Ranil Wickremesinghe is as follows:
On 8th of January 2015, 62 Lakhs of people of this country got together as a common front to re-establish democracy in the country and to re-establish peace and reconciliation. We rallied together, against corruption, fraud and thuggery, and at the same time to economically develop this country.
8th of January 2015 all the political parties and the forces including Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Maha Thero and other priests, Civil society as well as former President Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga got together and made Maithripala Sirisena the President of this country. Thereafter, I was appointed as the Prime Minister and we continued as the Government. In August 2015 after the General Elections I became the Prime Minister as the Member of Parliament who commands the confidence of the majority of the Parliament.
Our Government functioned as a National Government. We took various measures to re-establish Democratic Freedom in this Country. We appointed Independent commissions. Through the enactment of Right to Information Act, National Audit Act, we created the democratic freedoms which we never enjoyed in this country. We protected human rights of all. We established the Freedom of Media. We provided various relieves to the people. We increased the salaries. We have implemented mega development projects to economically develop the country.
Yesterday afternoon President Maithripala Sirisena addressed the Nation and leveled few allegations against me and the cabinet. I refuse all those allegations. We all know that the powers of the President of this country were curtailed under the 19th amendment of the Constitution. According to article 42(4) of the Constitution the member of the Parliament who commands the confidence of the house should be appointed as the Prime Minister. In his address to the Nation President Sirisena said that in view of the political crisis, economic crisis and assassination plot against him the only option left to him was nominating former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister.
According to article 42(4) of the Constitution the Member of the Parliament who commands the confidence of the house should be appointed as the Prime Minister. Accordingly, I wish to express my regret to President Maithripala Sirisena declaring that he nominated the Prime Minister who has no command of the majority of the House. He is talking of assassination plots to cover up his misdeed. He tells stories even a kid would not believe.
In the history of Sri Lanka, we never heard of a crisis situation like this in our country. What happened on last Friday was an illegal, anti-constitutional and opportunistic act. The ill effects of this act were visible immediately. The incidents took place at ITN, Rupavahini and the Lake House during Friday night indicated what is going to happen to Freedom of the Media in this country.
The solution for this unfortunate situation prevailing in this country lies with the Parliament. Honorable Speaker, by a letter has informed the President that the prorogation of Parliament is against the traditions. Today, all political parties and civil society are requesting to summon the Parliament immediately. International community has informed to act within the available legal framework and the Constitution. Therefore, I would like to earnestly request honorable speaker to summon the Parliament immediately.
The instability prevailing in this country is not good. We witness today the problems people have to face due to this situation. The era of queues has commenced. The Government machinery has come to a halt. The economy we controlled with greater difficulty has crashed. This unfortunate situation is affecting adversely to the future of this country and future of our children.
I would like to clearly state that United National Party, all the other parties belong to United National Front and all other political parties represented in the Parliament are standing firm to re-establish the democracy in this country. We will never allow anti-constitutional dictatorship to rule this country.
Not only people of this small island, rest of the world are with us at this moment. I would like to finally request from all of you to forget political differences and rally around us to re-establish the democracy in this country in order to ensure a better future for our younger generations. We request Honorable Speaker to summon the Parliament immediately. We can save our country from this unfortunate and difficult situation only through re-establishing democracy within the Parliamentary system.