Talk straight Mr. President: Purawesi Balaya

Tuesday, 7 July 2015 02:03 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

An alliance of civil society organisations that strongly backed Maithripala Sirisena’s bid for the presidency in January this year, demanded that the President address the nation and clarify his position with regard to granting nominations from the UPFA to his defeated predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Purawesi Balaya (Citizens’ Power) held a news conference yesterday, strongly criticising the moves to bring Rajapaksa back into power through Parliament and said the President was now facing a crisis of credibility.

Convenor of the movement, senior journalist and academic Gamini Viyangoda told reporters that 6.2 million people had voted for Maithripala Sirisena at the January election, not because of his 40-year political history, but because of his anti-Rajapaksa stand.

Viyangoda said it did not matter what the President said to rationalise the decision, whether it was to protect the SLFP or the implement the Bandaranaike policies in the country.

“None of these excuses are sufficient to justify bringing Mahinda Rajapaksa back into Parliament,” he charged.

President Sirisena has a moral responsibility to uphold the mandate of 6.2 million voters who elected him on 8 January, Viyangoda said.

“President Sirisena must tell the country publicly whether he intends to stand with Mahinda Rajapaksa at this election or not,” he asserted.

“Stop killing time and delaying. Stand up before the country and talk to us straight. Are you going to take the people’s aspirations forward? And in order to do this, is he prepared fulfill the fundamental requirement of meeting those aspirations by discarding Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cronies? We will not accept anything else,” the Convenor asserted.

The citizens’ movement noted that there was a groundswell of public opinion mobilising against President Sirisena’s decision to allow Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest election.

Trade Union leader Saman Ratnapriya said it has become clear over the past four days that the people have no patience with this move to bring back the former President.

“Not only political parties and political movements, but the general public, young people are expressing their disgust over this move,” Ratnapriya said.

Ratnapriya urged the President to make a statement to the nation to clarify his position.

“It’s like the lights have gone out in this country over the past four days. What does the President have to say now? In Matara he says he will not betray the peoples’ revolution of 8 January. But at the UPFA meeting he agrees to give Mahinda Rajapaksa nominations,” the trade unionist charged.

He said the whole country knew the issue would not end with the nomination.

“The nomination will be only the beginning of the political movement. Then by hook or by crook, he will become President,” Ratnapriya warned.

Ratnapriya said that they had held discussions with the President on this matter, but they were yet to get a clear reply. “There is a huge problem believing what he says now, so that is why we have asked him to prove it by his actions and a clear statement to clarify,” he said. (DB)