- Warns against using democracy wrongly, says democracy was strengthened for the benefit of the country
Focusing on his detractors, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday emphasised achieving strengthened democracy since he came to power but contended that this had resulted in some parties misusing democracy and disregarding the best interests of the country.
Clearly directing his comments at former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as well as other detractors within the ranks of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), Sirisena gave the clearest indication yet that he was closely monitoring their behaviour.
“I ask all of you to examine your conscience and think for a moment where this country would be had I not been elected as President in January 2015. What would have been the fate of our democracy, of our institutions, of our law and order? Where do you think we would have been today as a country?”
He emphasised that despite remarks to the contrary, Sri Lanka was enjoying greater democracy than it had before and there were positive steps taken to heal rifts between the Sinhalese and other minorities. However, as a result social media platforms and other modes of communication were being generously used to criticise the President, the Government and its policies, he said, pointing out that at times this was done through baseless facts and hyperbole.
“When one sees this we are forced to wonder whether there is too much freedom in these spheres. Democracy should be used for the benefit of the country and its people. It should not be used to criticise progressive decisions made for the wellbeing of the country or in contravention of the collective responsibilities of Government decision-making bodies,” he said.
He also acknowledged that the Government should face problems head-on and admitted that changes did need to be made regarding certain issues but insisted that these should be done through discussions with stakeholders and not on the whims of a single person.
“Family rule and the culture of self promotion was what I came forward to end. That is why I appeal to all of you to join me in this journey,” he added.