Rivalry and Rapprochement Between Ranil and Sajith: What Did Happen?

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The political spectacle “Ekwa Idiriyata”(Forward Together) that unfolded on October 10th at Galle face green has elevated the morale of the green party to ecstatic heights. A mammoth crowd – estimated by some of being in the range of six digits – gathered on the shores of the Indian ocean to see, hear and cheer United National Party (UNP) leaders. A festive mood was much in the air as the UNP led Front’s Presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa launched his election campaign with the inaugural rally at the green.

Pic via: FB/UNP

What seemed to have pleased and energized the crowds most was the sight of UNP Leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appearing alongside party Deputy leader and presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa unitedly on a common platform to espouse the latter’s candidacy. Ranil made a rousing speech in support of Sajith while the candidate outlined the policy measures he hoped to undertake when elected president. The speeches were eagerly lapped up by a buoyant audience.
Continue reading ‘Rivalry and Rapprochement Between Ranil and Sajith: What Did Happen?’ »

Why the Petition Filed by Civil Society Activists Chandragupta Thenuwara and Gamini Viyangoda Seeking Writ of Certiorari Against SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Did Not Succeed in the Court of Appeal

By C. A. Chandraprema

Yahapalana activists Gamini Viyangoda and Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara filed an application with the Court of Appeal, seeking a writ of Certiorari to annul Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship certificate and an interim order preventing him from acting on the basis that he is a citizen of Sri Lanka. Their argument was that if GR’s Dual Citizenship Certificate was invalid, his Sri Lankan Passport and National Identity Card were also invalid.

The petition was heard before a three member bench comprising of Justice Yasantha Kodagoda, President of the Court of Appeal and Justices Mahinda Samayawardhena, and Arjuna Obeyesekere. At the outset, the Court pointed out that Counsel representing all parties agreed that the Court would pronounce its order on 4 October 2019, and deliver reasons on a subsequent date. (The reasons were delivered accordingly, on 15 October)

Continue reading ‘Why the Petition Filed by Civil Society Activists Chandragupta Thenuwara and Gamini Viyangoda Seeking Writ of Certiorari Against SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Did Not Succeed in the Court of Appeal’ »

Both Chief Presidential Candidates Engage in “Family Politics” With Sajith Talking About What His Father Did or Promised and Gotabaya Not Moving Away From His Elder Brother’s Performance or Record

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

As the polls campaign gets under way there is a growing similarity between the two lead players in what they offer to the people, and what they don’t.

The Green and Purple offers have strong links to one’s family. Sajith keeps reminding us of what his father did or promised – like preparing a title deed to the people on the political assets of one’s father. Gota sees no way of moving away from what his elder brother and former president did, in what is the best or worst known record of family politics in this country.

Free school uniforms, mid-day meals and such offers at public expense, and not from any private funds of those who make the promise, are the stuff of promise-politics that has dominated our national election campaigns from parliamentary politics to the presidential exercise. Let us not forget the amount of rice that Dudley Senanayake promised the people, and how Sirimavo Bandaranaike met that with the promise of rice from the Moon.

Continue reading ‘Both Chief Presidential Candidates Engage in “Family Politics” With Sajith Talking About What His Father Did or Promised and Gotabaya Not Moving Away From His Elder Brother’s Performance or Record’ »

Presidential Election Candidate Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha and Mr. Navin Gooneratne, Founder of the Movement to Unite Motherland Sign Memorandum of Understanding To Take Forward Envisaged System Changes To Develop the Nation.


The Movement to Unite Motherland (MUM) issuing a statement says it “joins with an outstanding academic and political visionary to take forward the system changes it promotes, through his candidature at the Presidential Election 2019.

“Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, who has three earned Degrees from the University of Oxford will combine his vision for change with the New Political Order presented by Movement to Unite Motherland, to provide a transparent, accountable, non-divisive political system ensuring people’s sovereignty and power to the people.

Continue reading ‘Presidential Election Candidate Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha and Mr. Navin Gooneratne, Founder of the Movement to Unite Motherland Sign Memorandum of Understanding To Take Forward Envisaged System Changes To Develop the Nation.’ »

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Issues Statement in Response to Comments Made by Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa at Media Conference.


(Text of Press Release Carrying Statement Issued by the Minister of Finance,Mangala Samaraweera, MP)

At a Press Conference on 15 October 2019, Presidential Candidate of the SLPP, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, dismissed Sri Lanka’s commitments to our citizens on human rights, rule of law, and processes for truth-seeking, reparations, and guarantees of non-recurrence including Resolution 30/1. He also dismissed the need to address the grievances of families from all parts of our country whose loved ones including security forces personnel are missing. With the arrogance of an authoritarian regent, he remarked that the “people in the North and East have more important issues: jobs, education, etc, and we can’t hang on to old things; we have to move forward”. By saying this, he claimed that he and he alone knows what is best for each and every individual citizen in this country including how they should think and feel including in the face of personal tragedy.

Listening to this, I thought that it is my duty to remind the citizens of our country about the history of how, during the Rajapaksa-era, we erred in dealing with our conflict-ridden past, isolating our country on the international stage and how we regained our stature following the January 2015 Presidential Election by reasserting our sovereign right to deal with our own issues locally.

Continue reading ‘Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Issues Statement in Response to Comments Made by Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa at Media Conference.’ »

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Thanks India for Helping War Affected Sri Lanka and Looks Forward to Closer Collaboration Between South India and Jaffna at Ceremonial Opening of International Airport at Palaly in Northern Sri Lanka.

By

T.K. Rohit

Amid pouring rain, an ATR 72-600 aircraft of Alliance Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, completed its maiden international flight and touched down at the Jaffna International Airport, marking an important moment in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province.

The flight carried Ashwani Lohani, Air India chairman and managing director; C.S. Subbiah, Alliance Air CEO; a delegation of Air India staff and a few Indian journalists. They landed a few minutes after President Maithripala Sirisena inaugurated the airport complex by unveiling a plaque.

“India has been helping us in the development of war-affected Jaffna. There is tremendous potential for collaboration between India and Sri Lanka, especially South India and Jaffna,” Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Thanks India for Helping War Affected Sri Lanka and Looks Forward to Closer Collaboration Between South India and Jaffna at Ceremonial Opening of International Airport at Palaly in Northern Sri Lanka.’ »

History is Made as Jaffna International Airport is Ceremonially Opened with Special Flight from Chennai ATR72-600 Operated by Alliance Air of India Lands at Palaly With Indian Dignitaries Aboard


President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe came together yesterday to mark the historic opening of the Jaffna International Airport (JIA) for regional commercial operations.

The opening of the airport was marked by a special flight from Chennai landing at JIA with a delegation of Indian dignitaries. The first flight into JIA was an ATR72-600 short-haul flight operated by Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India. This is Alliance Air’s first international flight.

Speaking at the occasion, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said that while the need for an international airport for the North was a long-felt need, it was in April this year that concrete measures were taken to make this a reality.

Continue reading ‘History is Made as Jaffna International Airport is Ceremonially Opened with Special Flight from Chennai ATR72-600 Operated by Alliance Air of India Lands at Palaly With Indian Dignitaries Aboard’ »

Despite Obstruction and Obstacles , Jaffna International Airport at Palaly Becomes Reality Today Through India’s Generosity and Persistence Along With Efforts by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Tamil National Alliance..

By N. Lohathayalan

The Palaly Airport was opened on 359 acres of land by the British Armed Forces, with the first flight to India being made on 10 December 1947. As of today, it will function as the Jaffna International Airport.

The ceremonial opening of the airport today brings joy not only to the people of Jaffna but for to those for whom Sri Lanka is home. The benefits to all Sri Lankans are immense (see S.R.H. Hoole ‘Our permanent umbilical connectivity to India’ Daily FT, 16 August 2019).

The request to upgrade the old Palaly Aerodrome was first forwarded by TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah in 2014 to the then-Indian Consul in Jaffna. Promising to take serious note of the request, the Consul carried it to the Indian Government, where upon reaching the Indian Prime Minister, it received the status of an agreement between the governments of Sri Lanka and India in 2015. Yet, to implement the agreement even after Budget estimates were made, all administrative arrangements were handled in secrecy.

With two governments involved, the veil of secrecy could not last long. By the end of 2015, when the plans became well-known, the Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe Government officially gave it the green light. When the matter reached the hands of administrators in Colombo, however, they applied the brakes.

Continue reading ‘Despite Obstruction and Obstacles , Jaffna International Airport at Palaly Becomes Reality Today Through India’s Generosity and Persistence Along With Efforts by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Tamil National Alliance..’ »

“War Victories and Heroic Deeds Belong to the Entire Country and not to a Political Party or Person Declares Election Commission Chairman. Mahinda Deshapriya.

By Chandani Kirinde

The Election Commission (EC) has written to the Secretary to the President as well as the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence seeking clarification on how a photograph of Army Commander Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva was used in election campaign propaganda for one of the candidates contesting the Presidential Election.

The EC’s decision to seek clarification came after it received a complaint from the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) on Sunday in relation to a full-page advertisement in support of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, published in several newspapers using an image and quote from Lieutenant General Silva from 2009. The present Army Commander was a senior military officer serving in the Army at the time.

Election Commission (EC) Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said the use of such material for election propaganda was a violation of both the Code of Conduct issued for contesting political parties and candidates as well as the directive issued to public officials which prohibits them from acting in a manner which promotes or causes prejudice towards any party or candidate.

Continue reading ‘“War Victories and Heroic Deeds Belong to the Entire Country and not to a Political Party or Person Declares Election Commission Chairman. Mahinda Deshapriya.’ »

October 17th 2019 is a Joyful Day for Country as Palaly Airport is “Reborn” Today as Jaffna International Airport .

By Capt Elmo Jayawardena

Today (Oct 17), Sri Lanka is scheduled to re-open the Palaly Airport as its third international aerodrome (It will be renamed the Jaffna International Airport). There will be many who will applaud and give praise for the refurbishment and upgrading of the new airport and there will be others who will criticize the very thought of another international airport.

This article will share with the reader some historical facts of Palaly and express my thoughts on what the progressive possibilities are of this project if sensible people are selected to plan and execute the project whereby Palaly could be classified as an international airport.

Continue reading ‘October 17th 2019 is a Joyful Day for Country as Palaly Airport is “Reborn” Today as Jaffna International Airport .’ »

SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Flanked by Brother Mahinda and Supportive Political Leaders Fields Wide Range of Questions From Media at Glitzy Press Conference Held at Shangri -La Hotel Ballroom

By Himal Kotelawala

In his first-ever press conference, amid increasingly awkward allegations of evading the media, presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa fielded questions today on his vision for the country as well as his performance and track record as Defence Ministry Secretary.

Flanked by his former president brother Mahinda Rajapaksa and leaders of the alliance led by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), Rajapaksa took questions on, among other things, the country’s human rights obligations, media freedom, foreign policy, reconciliation and development.

Held in a partitioned section of the glitzy ballroom of the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo — whose construction, incidentally, began in the Rajapaksa era on prime real estate that had once belonged to the Army Headquarters — the press conference had all the trappings of a Rajapaksa INC event. Two rows of high tables were reserved for the presidential candidate and his politically colourful entourage, against a mammoth digital backdrop displaying the SLPP’s now-iconic pohottuwa (lotus bud) symbol and the words ‘Vision in Action’, with blown-up images of the two Rajapaksa brothers on either end.

As far as inaugural press briefings for a presidential candidate go, this morning’s event was certainly one of the more impressive ones on record, even accounting for the Rajapaksa brand of pomp which rarely fails to impress. In terms of substance, however, there was much to be desired.

Candidate Rajapaksa himself appeared sufficiently confident that his first powwow with the press would be smooth sailing from start to finish — and to his credit, it was, for the most part — but one wishes that more satisfactory answers were provided to some of the more probing questions fired his way.
The very first question directed at Rajapaksa had to do with Sri Lanka’s commitments to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
Asked how a Rajapaksa government would proceed with the matter, the SLPP candidate was entirely dismissive of the agreement entered with the UNHRC by the Yahapalana Government.

Continue reading ‘SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Flanked by Brother Mahinda and Supportive Political Leaders Fields Wide Range of Questions From Media at Glitzy Press Conference Held at Shangri -La Hotel Ballroom’ »

“I can certify not once but twice that no journalist will be harmed”: Gotabaya Rajapaksa Guarantees Safety of Journalists in Sri Lanka under his Tenure at First Media Conference After Being Officially Named as SLPP Presidential Candidate

By Chandani Kirinde

SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa said yesterday that he did not recognise the UNHRC resolution co-sponsored by the Sri Lanka Government on ‘Promoting Reconciliation, Accoun-tability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ as a legal document and reiterated his public undertaking to release soldiers held in remand custody.

Addressing his maiden press conference since being named a presidential candidate, flanked by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera, with the leaders of the SLPP’s other constituent parties in attendance, Rajapaksa addressed a wide range of issues including disappearances that took place during the war, media freedom and foreign policy in a future government led by him.

He said he would always work with the United Nations (UN) but the policies of this Government and his were poles apart.

“I cannot recognise what they (this Government) have signed. My personal view is that this is not a legal document but we will always work with the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) to solve any issues. We have already publicly rejected that agreement (Resolution),” Rajapaksa said.

Continue reading ‘“I can certify not once but twice that no journalist will be harmed”: Gotabaya Rajapaksa Guarantees Safety of Journalists in Sri Lanka under his Tenure at First Media Conference After Being Officially Named as SLPP Presidential Candidate’ »

Preeminent Hindi Filmstar Amitabh Bachchan Gets Prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award For Contribution To Indian Cinema

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Legendary Hindi film actor Amitabh Bachchan will be the latest recipient of India’s celebrated Dadasaheb Phalke Award this year. The annual award honours a distinguished person in the field of cinema for his or her “outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema” each year.

India’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar announced on 24 September that Amitabh Bachchan who had entertained and inspired two generations of Indians was unanimously selected as the Dadasaheb Phalke recipient for 2018 and would receive the award at this year’s Indian National Film Awards event.

Amitabh Bachchan’s immediate response was characteristically modest. The 76-year-old actor tweeted that he was “deeply grateful and most humbled” to have been chosen for the honour. He also said “There is a paucity of words searching a response… for the generosity of words that pour in… I am but deeply grateful and most humbled… my sincerest gratitude.”
Continue reading ‘Preeminent Hindi Filmstar Amitabh Bachchan Gets Prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award For Contribution To Indian Cinema’ »

Buddharakkitha And Somarama Theras: Role Of Two Buddhist Monks In The Assassination Of Prime Minister S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Blood stained clothes and shoes

Sixty years ago on September 25th 1959 Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (SWRDB) the prime minister of Sri Lanka known as Ceylon then was shot and seriously wounded by a Buddhist monk named Ven.Talduwe Somarama Thero. Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike succumbed to his injuries the following day.The fourth Prime minister of Independent Ceylon/Sri Lanka passed away on September 26th 1959 exactly twenty-two hours after he had been shot.

The official Bulletin issued after his death stated as follows “The condition of the Prime Minister suddenly took a turn for the worse at about 7 a.m. There was a sudden alteration of the action of the heart and his condition deteriorated very rapidly. He passed off peacefully about 8 ‘O’ clock.”It was signed by Dr. P. R. Anthonis, Dr. T. D. H. Perera and Dr. M. J. A. Sandrasagara.Subsequently a verdict of homicide was recorded by the City Coroner J. N. C. Tiruchelvam, J. P. U. M. at the inquest. He said “death was due to shock and haemorrhage resulting from multiple injuries to the thoracic and abdominal organs.”

Events relating to the shooting of SWRD Bandaranaike and his demise were re-visited in detail in these columns last week. This article therefore will follow up with details of the probes, arrests, trial, acquittals and convictions pertaining to the assassination of SWRD Bandaranaike six decades ago.

pics courtesy of: SWRD Bandaranaike Museum

Lying in state at the funeral

The Inspector General of Police at the time of Bandaranaike’s assassination was the respected civil servant Walter F. Abeykoon who was SWRDB’s personal friend and partner at bridge. He had been appointed IGP on May 1st 1959 by Bandaranaike amid controversial circumstances. It is a tale worth recounting today at a time where the country’s Police force particularly senior Police officers are accused of being minions to their political masters.
Continue reading ‘Buddharakkitha And Somarama Theras: Role Of Two Buddhist Monks In The Assassination Of Prime Minister S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike’ »

Gotabaya’s Promise at Inaugural Rally That He would Free “War Heroes” in Jail Under “Bogus Charges” the Day After He is Elected President Shows the Rajapaksas Have Learnt Nothing at all From Their Defeat in 2015.


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Sri Lanka’s floating voters, struggling to find their feet in the unpromising pandemonium of November’s Presidential elections, can only flinch from ‘Pohottuwa’ Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s promise at his inaugural campaign rally following nominations in Anuradhapura on Wednesday, that he would free all ‘war heroes’ held in custody on ‘bogus charges’ the day after he is elected at President.

Who determines these ‘bogus’ charges?

‘Pohottuwa’ political propagandists, onetime Professor of law GL Peiris and onetime Chief Justice Sarath N Silva may no doubt be able to properly educate their candidate on what Presidents can and cannot do. This may amount to time better spent than appearing on political platforms spouting about the ruination of the Rule of Law under the ‘yahapalanaya’ Government. The monumental hypocrisy of such proclamations, given the record of utter lack of governance during the Rajapaksa-led decade, must be deplored at the outset.

But the bigger question is this. Who determines ‘bogus’ charges, war heroes or not? The flamboyance with which these claims are made speaks to the worrying point that the Rajapaksas have learnt nothing whatsoever from being taught a deserving electoral lesson in 2015 when they were tossed out from political power.

During their time, not only was a Chief Justice (Shirani Bandaranayake) ejected from office after a sham impeachment but also, judges were given phone calls and instructed to deliver court rulings, the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) was assaulted in broad daylight and the Attorney General of the day spent more time in the residences of the former President and his brothers than he did at Hulftsdorp.

Indeed, Solicitor Generals (past and present) who hold forth on being arm-twisted by Ministers to file cases against the Rajapaksas may be urged to come clean with all the gory details of far worse atrocities that occurred during that time. It must also be said that, despite all that alleged arm-twisting, very few cases were in fact, successfully filed to bring the former President and members of his family to justice. In contrast, the subversion of the law that occurred during the Rajapaksa decade was carried out very effectively.

Resorting to costly and self-defeating ‘quick fixes’

Much of these details did not become a matter of proved public record only because of the Government’s own failures. Quite apart from the stuttering prosecutions against the Rajapaksas, aided and abetted in by some state law officers, ‘yahapalanaya’ short circuited itself by resorting to self–defeating ‘quick fixes’. One obvious illustration was the sending home of the Rajapaksa Chief Justice Mohan Peiris by Presidential letter, as advised by UNP lawyers and civil society cheerleaders without resorting to proper impeachment procedure.

At the time, this was justified on political expediency and on the basis that this Chief Justice had never ‘sat’ on the Bench as his immediate predecessor Shirani Bandaranayake had not been properly impeached. As predicted at the time in these column spaces, that mistake was bound to haunt the ‘yahapalanaya’ regime.

The fact remains that a due and proper impeachment process would have set on record, the enormous subversion of the law that had occurred then. It would have deprived any hypocrite of the chance to ever brush aside those happenings as ‘unproved’ or ‘frivolous allegations as we see now. Most importantly it would not have set a precedent that we have reason to fear even as the country faces a turbulent and unstable political environment.

Then as now when we hear the ‘Pohottuwa’ presidential candidate promising to ‘release’ war heroes held on ‘bogus’ charges, the same question is in issue. Who determines if a ‘war hero’ ought to be released or if a Chief Justice had properly’ sat in his/her office or not?

Politicians, civil society or the judiciary? These are good lessons to absorb in retrospect as the ‘yahapalanaya’ dream dissolves and the national effort is to prevent that from turning into a nightmare.

So do the choices in front of us hover betweeneffectively deadly manipulation of the law by the Rajapaksas or chaotic handling of legal and judicial institutions by the United National Party-led alliance fronting Sajith Premadasa as its candidate?

Even so, let it be said that while it is one thing to accept penitent Rajapaksa leadership, conscious of the deep mistakes that it had made and contritely promising to reform, it is yet another to welcome that leadership back in all its grotesquely full flown defiance of the Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Rejecting a major cancer in the body politic

This must be resisted with force. There is little mistaking as to what a Rajapaksa-return will amount to. The recent spewing of racist invective against Muslims by a senior party leader of a constituent partner of the ‘Pohottuwa’-led alliance shows that in no uncertain terms.

The fact that this worthy later stepped down from all party positions is no reassurance. This is a temporary measure, meant to calm the public outcry that followed. And is this all the punishment that should follow hate speech?

The contradiction is stark.While a short story writer is arrested and prosecuted for inciting racial hatred under Sri Lanka’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights(ICCPR) for critiquing sexual abuse of minors in Buddhist temples, communalist politicians who directly engage in denigration of the minorities are left untouched.

This is the contradiction that a Rajapaksa regime promises to aggravate on the one hand while, on the other, ‘yahapalanaya’ politicians appear to be deaf, dumb and blind to the law being applied so unequally.

There is a major cancer in Sri Lanka’s body politic that must be treated and extracted forthwith. This is the blind assumption of the country’s main political parties that they can spout the same rubbish each time around when the electoral race starts and be taken seriously.

The well strategized rally of the UNP-led alliance held the day after the ‘Pohottuwa’ campaign certainly upped the odds in terms of playing the ‘Pohottuwa’ at its own game of subverted Sinhala Buddhist championship of ‘war heroes.’


A reform agenda that is genuinely local

That said, the beating of the drum re the imprisonment of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka out of Rajapaksa rage is an old refrain, as riveting as this still may be. And there is peculiar obscenity in UNP seniors talking about the death and assaults of editors and senior journalists with such panache while glibly ignoring their failure to ensure a reckoning. . These are not failures that can be forgotten so easily.

The UNPs led alliance Presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa must go beyond bland promises to respect the ‘independence of the judiciary’ and address systemic failures in that regard if he is to be taken seriously.
Sri Lanka deserves a long and hard look at why impunity is so deeply ingrained in our policies, institutions and processes.

The reform agenda must start there, not be dictated by international real politik in Geneva or New York or the vagaries of corrupt and compromised politicians, Tamil, Sinhala or Muslim. This is where ‘yahapalanaya’ failed.
Hopefully that failure can set right now, if the fates are so gracious.

Courtesy:Sunday Times

Sirisena and SLFP Prostrate Themselves Before SLPP Without Self – Respect After Undignified Begging On Their Knees to Pohottuwa Party On The Symbol Issue

By

Don Manu

No political party worth its salt, especially a major political force such as the SLFP, which dominated Lanka’s political stage for over sixty years, can afford to remain without fielding a candidate of its own or supporting a common one at any presidential election.

In the last dying days of his presidency, SLFP leader Maithripala Sirisena seems thoroughly obsessed in proving to the gallery that though he and his party were no more on the stage they were still in the cast, even if they were standing only in the wings, and had the will and the power to determine the final act of the drama being enacted under spotlights.

Here was the last ditch straw he clung steadfast to show the world that though his party had fallen to its nadir under his leadership, the SLFP should not be easily written off and he, in particular, be pensioned off in haste.

This he had made known to all and sundry when he announced last week that though it appeared the fire had died out in him, it still blazed within. And to those who thought otherwise, he had a strong message.

Last Saturday, speaking at a welfare centre opening in Polonnaruwa, President Sirisena declared that he is not ready to retire and a new step will be taken after December. “I am in good health and I would not retire in order to continue my agenda for the country and the people. Some people may be thinking that I will disappear since I haven’t said that I will contest for the presidential election. I will be making a dramatic transition and emerge in a new role.”

Continue reading ‘Sirisena and SLFP Prostrate Themselves Before SLPP Without Self – Respect After Undignified Begging On Their Knees to Pohottuwa Party On The Symbol Issue’ »

Did Gota’s Sri Lankan Patriotism Die When he Took the US Naturalization Oath and has it been Resurrected Again Because he Wants to Become First Citizen of Sri Lanka Now?


By

Gamini Weerakoon

Election time is when the Morality Theatre moves on to the political stage and begins its performance.

Since nomination day, candidates with their supporters and TV crews have been besieging sacred places of worship, temples with political orientation, kovils, churches and receiving the blessings of chief incumbents. Nationalist-religious sentiments have not been trumpeted out — at least not yet. A fragrant peace and calls for reconciliation pervade the air. Candidates want to be seen as pious, morally upright people. The purpose of the whole exercise is to project a ‘holier than thou’ attitude vis-à-vis, their rivals.

So far, so good the Elections Commissioner will say. But a Sri Lankan election sans mud- slinging, sticks, stones, placards, cut-outs and buntings?

The electors, despite the performance on the High Morality stage, know very well the candidates on the platform. They are all representatives of the same two packs of cards that have been elected and rejected many times before. But the wonderful paradox of Sri Lankan politics is that voters keep rotating the same jokers in the two packs at every election.

Continue reading ‘Did Gota’s Sri Lankan Patriotism Die When he Took the US Naturalization Oath and has it been Resurrected Again Because he Wants to Become First Citizen of Sri Lanka Now?’ »

Do we need self proclaimed patriots who decide that all who hold different opinions are traitors to the country which they describe as only their “motherland”?

By

Prof. Savitri Goonesekere

In October 2018 President Maithripala Sirisena replaced Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with Mr Mahinda Rajapakse, purporting to exercise his Presidential powers. He later dissolved Parliament. Political party leaders and citizens challenged these Presidential decisions in the courts of law. A Full Bench of the Supreme Court, presided by Chief Justice HNJ Perera decided unanimously that the dissolution of Parliament was illegal, and a violation of the President’s powers, functions and responsibilities under our Constitution, the fundamental law of the land.

Commenting on the status of the petitioners to come before the court, His Lordship said ” there is an inalienable right of every citizen of the country to invoke the fundamental rights jurisdiction of the Supreme Court… This is the corner stone of the sovereignty of the People, which is the grundnorm (I.e. core value) of our Constitution.” His Lordship said that in enforcing these rights the court is “giving life and meaning to the Constitution.” His Lordship was therefore saying that enforcing these rights is also a method of limiting State power, and the power of those who hold public office, helping to ensure that power is exercised in governance, with accountability to the people.

It is important to recall these views on citizens’ right to take their grievances to courts. Much publicity has been given recently to remarks made by lawyers in the Gotabhaya Rajapaksa dual citizenship case, villifying the petitioners for coming to court and raising the matter. This has contributed to a surge of hate mail against them on the internet, and apparently even death threats. Perhaps it is time for the Bar Association to set guidelines on ethical norms and standards in regard to the manner in which they present their case. Senior lawyers in that case could have been expected to reflect on what the Supreme Court said about citizens claiming rights in our courts of law in 2018.

In this Full Bench decision of 2018, the Supreme Court also gave an important interpretation on the scope of Presidential powers. The court said “since 1972 (acquiring Republican status), the country has known no monarch, and the President has not inherited the mantle of a monarch….. he has no plenary executive powers….His powers are not Royal Prerogatives, not subject to any restrictions….His executive powers are derived from the People….He is a creature of the Constitution, and only has the powers vested in him., and circumscribed by the Constitution.”

Yet a some weeks ago, the President removed Professors who were Vice Chancellors of the University of Jaffna and the University of Visual and Performing Arts. These officials are the highest academic and administrative officers of public universities. About the same time we heard that the President decided to reinstate Mr Yoshitha Rajapaksa in his post in the Navy, with full privileges, including a promotion and back pay for many years. The public does not know why the President chose to change the previous decision on terminating this officer. We saw this officer being felicitated with some Navy rituals at his recent wedding. So we see that two senior academics and heads of universities lost their jobs, while Mr Rajapaksa received the best wedding present he could have got when he married.

University autonomy has been eroded with the changes introduced by the JR Jayewardene government in 1985. Nevertheless the President is required to remove the highest academic and administrative authority of the university after consultation with the University Grants Commission (UGC), the responsible regulatory authority. That Commission in terms of its mandate and responsibilities in the area of higher education should have obtained the views of at least the UGC nominees in the university’s governing body, the Council. Since the Senate is the highest academic authority which the Vice Chancellor chairs, should they not have articulated a voice on this episode? Similarly, the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Directors, since any one of them, or several can be summarily terminated in this manner. The Commission should also have followed the norms of natural justice and given these officials an opportunity to be heard, before they gave their opinion to the President. The criticisms expressed by a few academics who have protested at the violation of norms on university autonomy, suggest that none of these procedures were followed in making the Presidential decision to terminate these Vice Chancellors’ appointments.

The President has followed these official acts by public statements, which indicate yet again an arrogant disregard of the Constitution he is bound to follow in exercising his powers and responsibilities. He was heard on TV recently describing how much he did for the Rajapaksa family, including making Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa Prime Minister in 2018 ! These statements were reinforced by the person who lost an election and was brought to Parliament, Mr S.B. Dissanayake. He described on TV how he had contributed to a patriotic regime change in 2018 that failed, because they could not get the required majority in Parliament. We all know that this former Minister led the notorious trading in crossovers that was stalled due to public criticism and protests.

The Presidential campaign is also surfacing incidents which demonstrate the manner in which serious issues of public concern are addressed. Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa declared at his first meeting in Anuradhapura that he would release all persons from the armed forces who are currently in custody. Some of these persons are accused of the extortion, abduction and killing of adolescents and youth, in identified and wealthy families. Mr Rajajpaksa went o the say that he will distribute free fertilizers to farmers: this despite the fact that this is an area where people have suffered greatly from CKD, and a strongly articulated point of view is that the disease is due to over use of fertilizers.

We as citizens called upon to elect the next President must reflect on these happenings. Should we not demand that all candidates give us a commitment to abolishing the Executive Presidency which fosters and encourages abuse of political power and even legitimizes such abuse. Witnessing the current abuse of power by politicians, we must ask ourselves whether we want to enthrone “strong leadership” and monarchical governance in our quest for national security, economic growth and development. All the members of the Eliya and Viyathmaga groups in the corporate sector must reflect on our history of violent protest and break down of law and order in religious and ethnic tensions and conflict, and decide whether dictatorial governance by “strong men” is what we must have to ensure peace and progress. Do we want to live in a country with “strong leaders” who do not respect the concept that there must be accountability to the citizens in the exercise of powers and functions in governance? Do we need self proclaimed patriots who decide that all who hold different opinions are traitors to the country which they describe as only their “motherland”?

Our collective failure in objecting to obnoxious and arrogant exercise of official powers whether in the country or our university system strengthens the public perception that there is nothing wrong with violating the basic law of the land, the Constitution or other laws, when people are invested with political power. The Supreme Court of our country in the Full Bench decision has articulated a strong voice on the importance of freedom and accountable governance. It is our duty as citizens to safeguard our rights and monitor and ensure this accountability. We are surely setting the stage for unchecked authoritarian governance and dictatorship and even a Presidential monarchy. Is this what we want for ourselves and the future generations in this country? Other countries have experienced the reality and the suffering, and know that dictatorships thrive for much longer than we can envisage, with our limited understanding of the toxic attraction of political power.

We are living in a difficult time when we may leap from a sizzling “thatchiya” into the coals and flames under it. Can we afford to forget the words of the eminent judge who said “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?”

Courtesy:Sunday Island

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Pledge at Maiden Campaign Rally in Anuradhapura That He Would Release all”War Heroes” in Custody for Alleged “Baseless” Charges on Nov 17th Morning After Being Elected President Sends Shock waves Throughout Country.

BY MANESHKA BORHAM AND ANURANGI SINGH

A pledge made by SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa at his maiden rally in Anuradhapura last week, that he would acquit and release ‘war heroes’ being held on ‘baseless’ charges on the morning of November 17, has left victim families reeling from shock and fear that already painfully slow investigations will be scuttled or scrapped.

Legal experts also insisted that any attempt to influence an ongoing investigation through the courts of law or law enforcement agencies would be tantamount to executive overreach and abuse of power.

The reference in the SLPP candidate’s speech appeared to be about suspects being held in custody over attacks on journalists, the murder of the Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, abduction and torture of journalist Keith Noyahr and the disappearance and probable murder of cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda. None of the suspects have been convicted, and many of them have been released on bail after originally being remanded based on evidence gathered by the CID.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Pledge at Maiden Campaign Rally in Anuradhapura That He Would Release all”War Heroes” in Custody for Alleged “Baseless” Charges on Nov 17th Morning After Being Elected President Sends Shock waves Throughout Country.’ »

Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa Jointly Address SLPP Presidential Campaign Inaugural Rally at Salgado Grounds in Anuradhapura with Gota Focusing on Plight of Paddy Farmers.

BY PRANAVESH SIVAKUMAR

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna’s (SLPP) Presidential aspirant, kicking off his first campaign for his maiden bid for the top job, used the stage to outline, an array of development activities, and agriculture was given the spotlight.

“Anuradhapura is a centre point of irrigation and agriculture of the country. We had a local culture centering the concept of ‘village, temple and tanks’. One third of the population of the country still relies on agriculture. The advisors to the Government are failing to comprehend this basic fact. Consequently, they’re treated in a second- class manner,” he said, at the Salgado grounds.

Rajapaksa claimed, that it was during the Mahinda Rajapaksa era, that the farmers were given a special place. The fertilizer subsidy, low interest rate, agricultural loans and a certified price for paddy, were provided during his rule. Sri Lanka became self-sufficient in rice and maize. However, the agriculture sector has collapsed today,

“The current government had not recognised that two-thirds of the population was engaged in agriculture. The government fertiliser subsidy scheme for paddy farmers had been halted. I pledge to revive the subsidy scheme if elected, reaching food security goals was of paramount for this nation.” Gotabaya gave a glimpse of the goals for Anuradhapura.

The former defence secretary urged the SLPP supporters gathered to do their duty by voting him in to power, and, thereafter, he will get down to business by creating a safe and secure Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa Jointly Address SLPP Presidential Campaign Inaugural Rally at Salgado Grounds in Anuradhapura with Gota Focusing on Plight of Paddy Farmers.’ »

Sajith Premadasa and Ranil Wickremesinghe Go”Forward Together”by Jointly Addressing Huge Crowds at Presidential Election Campaign Inaugural Rally at Galle Face Green.


BY PRANAVESH SIVAKUMAR

The New Democratic Front’s (NDF) Presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa kick starting his inaugural rally themed ‘Forward together’, left the sea of supporters by the sea to decide, as to what calibre of candidate they were wishing for.

Premadasa in his opening remarks, tendered an unreserved apology for referring to his mouth as sacred (Shri Mukaya). “I thought I should make this apology before the Maha Sanga and the masses here. I appeal for pardon for the mistake,” he said.

He posed the question to the thousands who had thronged the venue, “Is it the welfare of the people or a particularly family, that this nation needs? This country needs no leader, who has taken up militarism, tribalism and extremism on himself.”

Premadasa in an unanticipated promise declared that if he emerges victorious, National Security and eradication of the drug menace will be delegated to Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka. He hailed him as a war-winning veteran commander, and said now with the proposal, he has a big responsibility.

“I leave it in the capable hands of the public to decide, whether you want a country where the law is implemented or one where there is lawlessness,” United National Party’s (UNP) deputy leader said.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa and Ranil Wickremesinghe Go”Forward Together”by Jointly Addressing Huge Crowds at Presidential Election Campaign Inaugural Rally at Galle Face Green.’ »

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Sweeps Elpitiya Pradeshiya Polls Winning 17 with 23,372 Votes:UNP gets 7 with 10,113 Votes While UPFA and JVP get 3 and 2 with 5,273 and 2,435 Votes Respectively

By Norman Palihawadane

SLPP won all 17 divisions of the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha at yesterday’s election. The SLPP obtained 23,372 votes while the UPFA and UNP received 5,273 and 10,113 respectively. The JVP polled only 2,435 votes.

Accordinlgy, the SLPP will have 17 seats out of 29. The UPFA and UNP will have three and seven seats respectively while the JVP will have two seats.

The voter turnout of the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha election was over 75 per cent according to Galle District Returning Officer Somarathna Vidanapathirana.

Votes were counted at the polling centres and thereafter the results were sent to the Elections Operations Center set up at Elpitiya Vocational Training Institute from where the final results were announced.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Sweeps Elpitiya Pradeshiya Polls Winning 17 with 23,372 Votes:UNP gets 7 with 10,113 Votes While UPFA and JVP get 3 and 2 with 5,273 and 2,435 Votes Respectively’ »

Malaysian Counter Terrorism Officials Arrest Seven Suspects For Allegedly Promoting and Raising Funds for LTTE; Melaka State executive Councillor G. Saminathan and Negri Sembilan Assemblyman P. Gunasekaren Arrested for Participation in LTTE “Maaveerar Naal” (Great Heroes Day)Celebrations


By
Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin

Seven suspects, including two state lawmakers from Melaka and Negri Sembilan, were arrested by Bukit Aman(Royal Malaysia Police Headquarters) counterterrorism operatives today for their alleged involvement in promoting, supporting and sourcing funds meant for the now-defunct terror group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter-terrorism Division (E8) principal assistant director, Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, confirmed during a press conference today that the two assemblymen were arrested for participating in an LTTE “Heroes Day” celebration in Melaka last year.

“They attended the celebration on November 28 last year and delivered speeches that contained elements that showed support towards LTTE.

“Both of them were also found to have leaflets and had distributed material at the event last year that were related to LTTE,” he said.

Ayob said the remaining five suspects were arrested at locations within the capital, Rawang and Sungai Buloh in Selangor, Sungai Siput in Perak, and Kulim Kedah.

Continue reading ‘Malaysian Counter Terrorism Officials Arrest Seven Suspects For Allegedly Promoting and Raising Funds for LTTE; Melaka State executive Councillor G. Saminathan and Negri Sembilan Assemblyman P. Gunasekaren Arrested for Participation in LTTE “Maaveerar Naal” (Great Heroes Day)Celebrations’ »

“People Must Carefully Decide Whether the Future of a Family or Future of the Country is Important States UNP led NDF Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa While Addressing Mammoth Crowds at Inaugural Rally in Galle Face Green.

By
Dharma Sri Abeyratne and Lahiru Fernando

The Galle Face green was a sea of heads with people from all corners of the country converging to Colombo yesterday to affirm their support to the Presidential candidate of United National Party (UNP) led New Democratic Front (NDF), Sajith Premadasa.

The inaugural rally of Premadasa’s presidential election campaign was held at Galle Face Green with the participation of UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and other NDF leaders and politicians.

The New Democratic Front Presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa told a huge maiden rally in Colombo, yesterday, that the people of this country should carefully decide whether it was the future of a family or the future of the country that was important at the forthcoming Presidential Election.

Continue reading ‘“People Must Carefully Decide Whether the Future of a Family or Future of the Country is Important States UNP led NDF Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa While Addressing Mammoth Crowds at Inaugural Rally in Galle Face Green.’ »

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Asks Whether The Country Should Elect a Killer of People or Leader of People as Sri Lanka’s President at “Ekwa Idiriyata” (Forward Together) Rally at Galle Face

By
Dharma Sri Abeyratne and Lahiru Fernando

Rivals of the United National Party-led New Democratic Front are against its presidential candidate, Minister Sajith Premadasa, as he is working to eliminate nepotism and family-based politics from the country, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.

“His father, late Executive President Ranasinghe Premadasa also strived to eradicate family rule, and therefore, it is not surprising that certain Hambantota-based politicians are opposed to Sajith Premadasa even 26-years after the assassination of his father, the Premier pointed out to the massive crowd at the maiden public rally organised by the NDF in support of its presidential candidate, Premadasa.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Asks Whether The Country Should Elect a Killer of People or Leader of People as Sri Lanka’s President at “Ekwa Idiriyata” (Forward Together) Rally at Galle Face’ »

Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Will Be Appointed as Defence Minister Responsible For National Security in Future Govt Announces Sajith Premadasa at Galle Face;Ex- Army Chief Pledges to Fulfill Duties if so Appointed

By
Dharma Sri Abeyratne and Lahiru Fernando

UNP parliamentarian, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka yesterday pledged to fulfil to the letter the duty he would be assigned as the Defence Minister of the country.

He was responding to the announcement by NDF presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa that he would appoint the Field Marshal as Defence Minister on coming to power.

Continue reading ‘Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Will Be Appointed as Defence Minister Responsible For National Security in Future Govt Announces Sajith Premadasa at Galle Face;Ex- Army Chief Pledges to Fulfill Duties if so Appointed’ »

Gota Reaches Out To Agricultural Sector at Inaugural Rally in Anuradhapura: Promises to Write off all “Govijana” Loans Incurred by Farmers,Revive Fertilizer Subsidy, Increase Guaranteed Price and Storage Facilities for Paddy and Introduce Pension Scheme for Farmers.

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday focused on sweeping promises and populist policies that emphasised writing off farmers’ debts, ensuring stable prices, establishing a pension scheme for farmers and continuing the fertiliser subsidy, while speaking at his inaugural rally held in Anuradhapura.

Addressing hundreds of supporters, Rajapaksa thanked the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) for extending its support to his candidacy, insisting that he was confident the SLFP would never turn its collective back on the Rajapaksas.

SLFP parliamentarian Duminda Dissanayaka was a notable presence at the rally, where he called on minorities to support Rajapaksa’s candidacy and also urged SLFP party members to unite to form a Government in the near future.

Addressing the gathering, Rajapaksa stressed that the current Government had not recognised that two-thirds of the population was involved in agriculture.

He charged that the Government fertiliser subsidy scheme for paddy farmers had been stopped. He pledged to revive the subsidy scheme if elected, pointing out that as a nation, reaching food security goals was paramount for Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa also pledged to wipe clean the debt owed by many farmers under the Govijana loan scheme.

Continue reading ‘Gota Reaches Out To Agricultural Sector at Inaugural Rally in Anuradhapura: Promises to Write off all “Govijana” Loans Incurred by Farmers,Revive Fertilizer Subsidy, Increase Guaranteed Price and Storage Facilities for Paddy and Introduce Pension Scheme for Farmers.’ »

SLFP Officially Announces Support to SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa; Memorandum of Understanding to be Signed With Party and Candidate.

By Aruna Bogahawatte

The SLFP yesterday announced that it had decided to support SLPP Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the 2019 Presidential election.

SLFP General Secretary MP Dayasiri Jayasekera told a press conference at the party headquarters in Colombo that President Maithripala Sirisena had made a decision to step down from the SLFP chairmanship temporarily to remain independent till the Presidential Elections was over.

The decision had been made at the SLFP parliamentary group meeting held at the President’s House on Tuesday night, Jayasekera said.

Continue reading ‘SLFP Officially Announces Support to SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa; Memorandum of Understanding to be Signed With Party and Candidate.’ »

Group Led by Gnanasara Thero in Violation of Court Order Took Body of Dead Buddhist Monk and Cremated it in Premises Specifically Prohibited by Courts While Police Led by SSP Did Nothing Except Prevent Hindu Devotees from Entering Temple Precincts Charges TNA Leader R.Sampanthan in Parliament

By Saman Indrajith

Neeraavi Pillaiyar Temple at Chemmalai in the Mulaitivu District was a site of controversy as the Sinhalese in the area tried to take over a Saivite temple, said TNA leader R Sampanthan in parliament, yesterday.

Making a special statement Sampanthan said that the Buddhist temple Gurukande Viharaya had been forcibly constructed between 2004 and 2009 when no civilian was permitted to visit the area.

MP Sampanthan said: “More recently an attempt was made to restore that temple. This led to unrest in that area between the people who are all non-Buddhists and the monks who had come there. Upon this matter being reported to the relevant Magistrate, an order was made prohibiting the reconstruction of the temple. The Chief incumbent of the temple filed an application in the Provincial High Court of the Northern Province district of Vavuniya and the matter is still pending.”

Stating the events that had taken place at the disputed location which recently led to a clash between the two groups, the TNA leader said, “In the meantime, on or about 21st September, 2019 the Chief Priest of the Gurukanda Raja Maha Viharaya passed away in Colombo after taking ill. The Mulaithivu Police filed intimation in the Magistrate’s Court in Mulaithivu stating inter alia that

Continue reading ‘Group Led by Gnanasara Thero in Violation of Court Order Took Body of Dead Buddhist Monk and Cremated it in Premises Specifically Prohibited by Courts While Police Led by SSP Did Nothing Except Prevent Hindu Devotees from Entering Temple Precincts Charges TNA Leader R.Sampanthan in Parliament’ »

2019 Sri Lankan Presidential Election Makes History as the First Presidential Poll Without an Incumbent President, Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition Contesting.

By P.K.Balachandran

The November 16, 2019 Sri Lankan Presidential election will go down in history for several firsts.

For the first time in the history of post-independence Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), a party of greats like Prime Ministers SWRD Bandaranaike and Sirima Bandaranaike, and Presidents like Chandrika Kumaratunga and Maithripala Sirisena, will not be fighting for the top post in the country, namely, the Executive Presidency.

The SLFP, which hived out of the United National Party (UNP) in the early 1950s on ideological grounds, and had been in power over long periods since then, is not contesting the November 16, 2019 Sri Lankan Presidential election.

Its present chairman, Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, was to contest the election but gave up the idea after he found that he had virtually no backers even within the SLFP, leave alone the general public.

His erratic conduct, Quixotic moves, brazen decisions and pronouncements, and inability to get on with his colleagues, won him few friends or supporters. Under his stewardship, the SLFP came a dismal third in the 2018 local government elections which were swept by the breakaway Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) led by former SLFP chief and Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Under the circumstances, Sirisena has been left with no option but to save the party from extinction by participating in the Presidential election as an ally of the SLPP.

Continue reading ‘2019 Sri Lankan Presidential Election Makes History as the First Presidential Poll Without an Incumbent President, Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition Contesting.’ »

After Weeks of “Suspense-ridden Delay” the Chief Presidential Candidates Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa Swing Into Full Gear With Their Election Campaigns.

By P.K.Balachandran

After severe hiccups on both sides of the political divide, the principal candidates in the Sri Lankan Presidential election (to be held on November 16 ) have now begun their campaigns in right earnest.

The hiccups were political in the case of the candidate of the ruling United National Party (UNP), Sajith Premadasa, and legal in the case of the candidate of the opposition Sri Lanka Podujana Permuna (SSLP) Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Sajith, as Premadasa is popularly known, had to resort to pressure tactics to force party leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to nominate him as the UNP’s candidate. As part of this, he had to project himself as the party candidate with posters, hoardings and mass rallies.

Continue reading ‘After Weeks of “Suspense-ridden Delay” the Chief Presidential Candidates Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa Swing Into Full Gear With Their Election Campaigns.’ »

35 Presidential Aspirants Out of The 41 Who Paid Deposits File Nomination Papers; 18 Candidates From Recognized Political Parties , 15 Independents and 2 from Non-Recognized Parties

By Chandani Kirinde

Thirty-five of the 41 presidential aspirants, who had paid their deposits, handed in their nomination papers at the Election Commission yesterday, officially kicking off the six-week-long election campaign.

Nominations were accepted between 9.00 a.m. and 11.00 a.m. last morning at the Election Commission office in Rajagiriya amidst tight security. All the nomination papers that were handed over were accepted by the EC while two objections that were raised were dismissed by the Commission.

Eighteen of the candidates will contest from recognised political parties, 15 as independent candidates and two from other parties. This is the highest number to ever contest a Presidential Election in the country and is almost double the 19 who contested the 2015 election.

Continue reading ‘35 Presidential Aspirants Out of The 41 Who Paid Deposits File Nomination Papers; 18 Candidates From Recognized Political Parties , 15 Independents and 2 from Non-Recognized Parties’ »

Even if Gotabaya Rajapaksa Wins Presidential Elections , Ranil Wickremesinghe will Remain as Prime Minister Until the Next Parliamentary Election says Ajit P. Perera.

By

Yohan Perera

Issues, if there are any, pertaining to UNP leadership could be amicably resolved in the same way which the question with regard to the presidential candidate was solved after the presidential election, Non-Cabinet Minister Ajith P. Perera said today.

Minister Perera made this remark in response to a question raised by the journalists as to who would become the leader of the party in the event New Democratic Front Candidate Sajith Premadasa emerges victorious at the presidential election.

“There is no issue on the leadership at the moment as the current leader will remain for five years till 2024. We can resolve any issue that may come up about it in the same way we resolved the issue pertaining to the candidacy,” Minister Perera said.

Continue reading ‘Even if Gotabaya Rajapaksa Wins Presidential Elections , Ranil Wickremesinghe will Remain as Prime Minister Until the Next Parliamentary Election says Ajit P. Perera.’ »

Acting IGP Wickramaratne Directs Colombo DIG Siriwardene to Provide Security if Requested to Petitioners and Their Lawyers in the Appeal Court Writ Case Against Gotabaya Rajapaksa Following Increasing Threats to Gamini Viyangoda and Chandragupta Thenuwara

by

Maneshka Borham

Acting IGP C.D Wickramatne has reportedly directed officials to provide security to civil society activists, Gamini Viyangoda and Chandragupta Thenuwara as well as their lawyers if requested.

The duo has come under attack, especially, on social media following their decision to file a writ petition challenging the citizenship of Presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Accordingly, the IGP is said to have directed DIG Colombo Champika Siriwardene to take necessary steps if the petitioners and their counsels request security.

Continue reading ‘Acting IGP Wickramaratne Directs Colombo DIG Siriwardene to Provide Security if Requested to Petitioners and Their Lawyers in the Appeal Court Writ Case Against Gotabaya Rajapaksa Following Increasing Threats to Gamini Viyangoda and Chandragupta Thenuwara’ »

Chandragupta Thenuwara and Gamini Viyangoda have Unwittingly done Gotabhaya Rajapaksa a Favour by Enabling him to Prove Conclusively Through Courts that There is no Problem About his Sri Lankan citizenship.

By C. A.Chandraprema

Sri Lanka has had presidential elections in 1982, 1988, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2010, and 2015 but never one like the present election. With just two working days to go to the close of nominations, a former local government head from Galle petitioned the Supreme Court seeking an order calling off the election. Thankfully, this was dismissed by the SC. But the attempt to knock out the principal opposition candidate from the race even before it began, was heard in the Appeal Court over three days throwing the entire opposition election campaign into a state of uncertainty. Several weeks ago, in an article titled “Geetha, Gota and the Elections Commission”, this writer pointed out that Gota’s citizenship matter had been sorted out to the maximum extent it could ever be, citing the Appeal Court and Supreme Court judgements in the Geetha Kumarasinghe case.

It was not as if the Appeal Court was hearing a case involving dual citizenship certificates and renunciation of foreign citizenship etc. for the first time. This is ground that the AC has already gone over. On Friday, after hearing the arguments presented, the Appeal Court dismissed the petition filed by two yahapalana activists Chandragupta Thenuwara and Gamini Viyangoda seeking an interim order prohibiting the recognition of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as a citizen of Sri Lanka. As things turn out, Thenuwara and Viyangoda have unwittingly done Gotabhaya Rajapaksa a favour by filing that petition and enabling the latter to prove conclusively that there is no issue with regard to his present Sri Lankan citizenship. This columnist warned in two full page articles published some weeks ago, of the power that the Elections Commission assumes in the event an objection is received regarding a candidate’s qualifications to contest a presidential election and the need to take precautions.

Now Thenuwara and Viyangoda have served up the best possible precaution on a platter. This is not something that the Gota camp could have done by themselves even if they had tried! According to the Presidential Elections Act, there are only three grounds on which objections can be raised to a nomination. Firstly, ‘that it is apparent from the contents of the nomination paper’ that the candidate is not qualified to be elected as President; secondly that the candidate is disqualified by reason of conviction by a court of law for a corrupt or illegal practice or an election malpractice; and thirdly, that civic disability has been imposed on the candidate by Parliament.

Continue reading ‘Chandragupta Thenuwara and Gamini Viyangoda have Unwittingly done Gotabhaya Rajapaksa a Favour by Enabling him to Prove Conclusively Through Courts that There is no Problem About his Sri Lankan citizenship.’ »

Rajapaksa Camp Followers Who Lambasted Judiciary Last Year After Supreme Court Ruled Against Mahinda’s Unconstitutional Prime Minister Appointment are Now Singing Praises to an Independent Judiciary After Appeal Court Dismissed Writ Petition Against Gotabaya

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

As leading lights of the United National Party (UNP) hastily scrambled to disassociate themselves from the petition challenging the legality of the dual citizenship certificate issued to Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP) presidential hopeful Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, summarily rejected by the Court of Appeal this Friday, a curious contradiction arose from the Rajapaksa ranks.

Suddenly, SLPP front-liners as well as its rudely cacophonous foot soldiers began expounding on the independence of the judiciary, literally sweating from their pores with relief as it were.

This posed a direct contrast to previous crude assaults on the judicial institution, most visibly late last year when the Supreme Court ruled the attempted coup installing former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as unconstitutional.

Then, these very same hypocrites offensively lambasted the judiciary, going so far as to cast aspersions on the religious beliefs of judges.

Continue reading ‘Rajapaksa Camp Followers Who Lambasted Judiciary Last Year After Supreme Court Ruled Against Mahinda’s Unconstitutional Prime Minister Appointment are Now Singing Praises to an Independent Judiciary After Appeal Court Dismissed Writ Petition Against Gotabaya’ »

Prof. Chandragupta Thenuwara Who Along With Gamini Viyangoda Challenged Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Citizenship Through Writ Petition in Court Contacts Police After Receiving Numerous Threats From Various Persons Allegedly Backing the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna

By

Arjuna Ranawana

Professor Chandragupta Thenuwara is facing death threats from various persons backing the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the renowned artist told RepublicNext.

Thenuwara, a long-time social and political activist was one of two petitioners who mounted a legal challenge to Gotabaya’s right to contest the election as doubts have been raised in the public sphere as to how he obtained his dual citizenship and then full-Sri Lankan citizenship.

The petition was heard over three days by the Court of Appeal, which on Friday Oct 4 evening dismissed the case. The full order detailing the reasons for the dismissal has not yet been released and it is yet not clear whether the Court has validated Gotabaya’s citizenship or not.

Thenuwara said that he has received numerous telephone calls threatening him, and on one occasion a three-wheeler driver who drove past him had screamed threats.

He said he is in contact with the Police who have offered him protection.

Continue reading ‘Prof. Chandragupta Thenuwara Who Along With Gamini Viyangoda Challenged Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Citizenship Through Writ Petition in Court Contacts Police After Receiving Numerous Threats From Various Persons Allegedly Backing the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna’ »

Office of Missing Persons to Raise Concerns to President Sirisena Over Confirmation of Commodore Rank to D.K.P. Dassanayake one of the key Suspects in Abduction and Murder of Youths Case where the Navy is Implicated

By

Maneshka Borham

The Office on Missing Persons (OMP) has decided to raise their concerns with President Maithripala Sirisena on the recent confirmation of rank granted by the Sri Lanka Navy to Commodore D.K.P Dassanayake. The former Navy Spokesman, Dassanayake is one of the main suspects connected to the infamous Navy abductions case where 11 youth are believed to have been abducted between 2008 – 2009 by an abduction ring allegedly carried out by a group of Naval officers.

Chairperson of the OMP, PC Saliya Peiris told the Sunday Observer the OMP will write to the President tomorrow (7) on the matter. Peiris said the recent turn of events could have a chilling effect on the witnesses of the case, especially, witnesses who continue to serve in the Sri Lanka Navy. “Seeing promotions and benefits being granted to suspects could give the witnesses the wrong message,” he said.

The State’s disregard for recommendations made by the OMP on Military and Police officers involved in enforced disappearances has made the task set out for the OMP more difficult, he said.

Continue reading ‘Office of Missing Persons to Raise Concerns to President Sirisena Over Confirmation of Commodore Rank to D.K.P. Dassanayake one of the key Suspects in Abduction and Murder of Youths Case where the Navy is Implicated’ »

How Different are the Policies of Sajith Premadasa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Those of Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa?

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

As the presidential election campaign moves to combat readiness among candidates and political parties, one must be pardoned for drawing the recent deaths of seven elephants in the Palugaswewa Forest Reserve into the political plot. With Sajith Premadasa choosing the Swan symbol for his candidacy, does it mean the end of the UNP’s elephantine decades?

As we await the full post-mortem probe into these deaths (or killings), we must get some insights into the elephant disaster in the UNP; when a party candidate – who is its deputy leader – has to think of swimming to victory on the back of a swan. The two previous swan candidates – former Gen. Sarath Fonseka and hopper cross-over Maithripala Sirisena were not UNP leaders, or even members. What we are now seeing is the Swan Ride of Sajith Premadasa to face the Pohottuva ride by Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Of course there are others in the presidency hopeful list too. But the trend of current politics puts these two in the lead, but why?

Can the country and the voters expect anything of national value from these candidates when the record of the past seven decades point to a complete failure of political candidacy on the larger issues of national development and social progress? Yes we know how the two violent uprising of the JVP were put down, and how the LTTE’s separatist terrorism was defeated. But are they good examples for social and national progress, when the post-event scenarios in both situations were those of massive corruption and political crookedness?

Continue reading ‘How Different are the Policies of Sajith Premadasa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Those of Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa?’ »

Court of Appeal Three Judge Bench Unanimously Dismisses Writ Application Challenging Validity of SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Citizenship;Reasons for Ruling to be Delivered in Writing at Later Date

In an unanimous decision a three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed the writ application filed challenging the validity of presidential aspirant Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Sri Lankan citizenship.

“Formal notices of this application should not be issued to the respondents, and the application should therefore be dismissed,” President of the Court of Appeal Justice Yasantha Kodagoda announced at a few minutes past 6 p.m. inside packed courtroom No. 301.

Hearings on the petition, initially scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, continued for a third day till about 1.30 p.m. last afternoon. Counsels were instructed to file written submissions by 3.15 p.m. The much-anticipated order was to be delivered by 6 p.m., having given the judges enough time for deliberations.

Based on the agreement reached when the Counsel for petitioners and respondents approached the Bench, the order read out last evening would not contain reasoning, due to time constraints. Reasons for the order were to be delivered in writing at a later date.

Continue reading ‘Court of Appeal Three Judge Bench Unanimously Dismisses Writ Application Challenging Validity of SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Citizenship;Reasons for Ruling to be Delivered in Writing at Later Date’ »

Three-judge Bench Comprising Justices Yasantha Kodagoda (President/CA), Arjuna Obeysekara and Mahinda Samayawardena Dismiss Writ Petition Against Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Citizenship Status After Four days of Continued Hearings at the Court of Appeal.

By

Shehan Chamika Silva

The three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal comprising Justices Yasantha Kodagoda (President/CA), Arjuna Obeysekara and Mahinda Samayawardena today unanimously decided to dismiss the writ petition filed against former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s citizenship status after hearing all parties over almost four days of continued court proceedings at the Court of Appeal.

This petition was initially filed invoking the writ jurisdiction by the petitioners. This petition had disputed the citizenship status of Gotabaya Rajapaksa based on the following scenarios that took place in 2005.

Petitioners said Mahinda Rajapaksa was the Prime Minister before November 18, 2005. He then assumed office as the president on November 18, 2005. Thereafter, the Cabinet and ministerial secretaries dissolved because the PM ceased to function. However, Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship certificate was signed by the former President on November 21, 2005, exercising the executive powers vested in the cabinet.

On December 08, the new cabinet was formed by the president.

Petitioners argued that If the cabinet was dissolved there were no ministers to sign the certificate and the president has no power to exercise all ministerial powers till the cabinet is appointed.

Continue reading ‘Three-judge Bench Comprising Justices Yasantha Kodagoda (President/CA), Arjuna Obeysekara and Mahinda Samayawardena Dismiss Writ Petition Against Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Citizenship Status After Four days of Continued Hearings at the Court of Appeal.’ »

“The President himself is a creature of the Constitutio and does not rule the realm by divine right exercising plenary powers” states Chanaka de Silva PC Counsel for Home Affairs Minister Wajira Abeywardena Before Court of Appeal

The argument that the President of the Republic holds plenary executive power was “emphatically rejected” by a seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in its judgment on the illegal dissolution of Parliament in November 2018, said Counsel for the Third Respondent Home Affairs Minister Wajira Abeywardena President’s Counsel Chanaka De Silva, as hearings on the high-stakes case challenging the validity of SLPP presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s citizenship commenced for a second day yesterday.

President’s Counsel Chanaka De Silva said the decision of the seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court was binding in relation to this argument, which was raised by the Attorney General appearing on behalf of the Controller General for Immigration and the Registrar of Persons on 2 October, to claim that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was within his lawful rights to sign Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship certificate on 21 November 2005.

“The President himself is a creature of the Constitution. He does not rule the realm by divine right exercising plenary powers. His powers are certainly not a divine right,” De Silva PC argued, in a lengthy but lucid submission before the Court of Appeal last afternoon. The Supreme Court had ruled in 2018 that plenary power was akin to “royal prerogative power”, enjoyed by monarchs, he added.

Continue reading ‘“The President himself is a creature of the Constitutio and does not rule the realm by divine right exercising plenary powers” states Chanaka de Silva PC Counsel for Home Affairs Minister Wajira Abeywardena Before Court of Appeal’ »

Sri Lankans Across the Political Divide are Waiting with Bated Breath for the Court of Appeal Ruling on Gotabaya Rajapaksa Citizenship Issue


By P.K.Balachandran

Since the entire complexion of the November 16 Sri Lankan Presidential election will change if the Court of Appeal upholds the plea that the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna’s candidate, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is not a Sri Lankan citizen, Sri Lankans across the political divide are waiting with bated breath for the verdict which is expected to be given on October 4.

For Gotabaya to remain in the Presidential race, the court will have to resolve two issues in his favour:-

(1) The controversy over the legality of the Dual Citizenship Certificate he possesses. This certificate has the signature of the then President of Sri Lanka (Mahinda Rajapaksa) but not the Secretary of the concerned Ministry. It has a “for” signature and not the Ministry Secretary’s.

(2) The non-availability, at the moment, of the original docket pertaining to his Dual Citizenship in the office of the Controller General of Immigration and Emigration.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankans Across the Political Divide are Waiting with Bated Breath for the Court of Appeal Ruling on Gotabaya Rajapaksa Citizenship Issue’ »

Special Convention Unanimously Endorses Sajith Premadasa as UNF Presidential Candidate and Ranil Wickremesinghe as UNP Leader.

By

Zacky Jabbar

A Special Convention of the UNP held at the Sugathadasa Stadium yesterday, unanimously endorsed Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa as the United National Front’s (UNF) Presidential candidate and confirmed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the UNP leader.

After the Convention accepted Wickremesinghe’s proposal to endorse the UNP Working Committee ( WC ) decision taken on September 26, to nominate Sajith as the UNF’s Presidential candidate, Sajith was accompanied onto the dais by his mother and former first lady Hema Premadasa.

In the audience were Sajith’s sister Dulanjali and wife Jalani. Also present on the occasion were Assistant UNP leader Ravi Karunanayake and constiuent party leaders of the UNF, Rauff Hakeem , Patali Champika Ranawaka, Palani Digambaram and Mano Ganeshan.

Continue reading ‘Special Convention Unanimously Endorses Sajith Premadasa as UNF Presidential Candidate and Ranil Wickremesinghe as UNP Leader.’ »

Lawyers for SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Argue that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was Repository of all Executive Power Before a Cabinet of Ministers was Appointed and Therefore Legally Empowered to Sign his brother’s Dual Citizenshi Certificate on 21 November 2005.

Lawyers for SLPP presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday insisted that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the repository of all executive power before a Cabinet of Ministers was appointed, and was therefore legally empowered to sign his brother’s dual citizenship certificate on 21 November 2005, the legality of which is being challenged in the Court of Appeal.

President’s Counsel Romesh De Silva, who explained the evolution of executive power of the President since the 1972 Constitution, said that the 1978 Constitution made it clear that the executive power of the people was exercised through the President. De Silva PC, arguing for Rajapaksa, who was the fifth respondent, decided he would avoid the question of whether the President had plenary powers, and insisted instead that in order to assign powers to Ministers, those powers must first be reposed in the President of the Republic. Article 44 (2) of the Constitution provides for how the President can assign Ministries and also how unallocated Ministries would remain with him, Counsel for Rajapaksa explained.

Counsel for Gotabaya Rajapaksa also raised a number of objections to the Writ Petition, setting out legal and logical reasons for why President Rajapaksa had the power to sign his brother’s dual citizenship certificate on 21 November 2005.

Continue reading ‘Lawyers for SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Argue that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was Repository of all Executive Power Before a Cabinet of Ministers was Appointed and Therefore Legally Empowered to Sign his brother’s Dual Citizenshi Certificate on 21 November 2005.’ »

UNP Convention Passes Six Unanimous Resolutions Regarding Sajith’s Presidential Candidacy, Ranil’s Party Leadership,Establishing UNP Govt in 2020,Continuing Constitutional Reform, Abolishing Executive Presidency and Commending Karu’s Role During Oct 26th Crisis

By Nuwan Senarathna

The United National Party (UNP) yesterday passed a slew of resolutions at their annual convention, including a commitment to take forward the constitutional reform process which began in 2015, including the abolition of the Executive Presidency, but in concurrence with the Prime Minister and other stakeholders.

During the convention, held at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium, six resolutions were passed by the UNP, to take forward constitutional reforms that were included in their earlier manifesto for the 2015 Presidential Elections. Prime Minister and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe presented the resolution, which was unanimously approved by party members.

The six resolutions included: fielding UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa as the presidential candidate; appointing Wickremesinghe as UNP Leader; working to form a majority government of UNP parliamentarians in 2020; and recognising Speaker Karu Jayasuriya’s role in resolving the constitutional crisis of 2018.

Continue reading ‘UNP Convention Passes Six Unanimous Resolutions Regarding Sajith’s Presidential Candidacy, Ranil’s Party Leadership,Establishing UNP Govt in 2020,Continuing Constitutional Reform, Abolishing Executive Presidency and Commending Karu’s Role During Oct 26th Crisis’ »

Romesh de Silva PC Appearing for Gotabaya Rajapaksa Submits to Special Three-Judge Bench of Appeal Court Hearing Writ Petition That Litigation Against his Client had been Brought by Political Opponents and was not in the Public Interest

Security was beefed up around the Superior Courts Complex as the high stakes litigation challenging the validity of SLPP presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Sri Lankan citizenship was taken up before a special three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal yesterday.

Appearing as Counsel for civil society activists Gamini Viyangoda and Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara, who filed the writ application, Attorney-at-Law Suren Fernando told the Court of Appeal during a lengthy submission that Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship certificate was a “nullity in law”, illegal on the face of it and “nothing but a blank sheet of paper” – a reference to the UK Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the prorogation of Parliament in that country.

Setting out his case, Fernando said that Gotabaya Rajapaksa was a citizen of Sri Lanka by birth but ceased to be a citizen under the Citizenship Act, when he swore an oath to become a citizen of another country on or around 31 January 2003. He had to subsequently make an application under the Citizenship Act section 19 (2) to resume status as citizen of Sri Lanka by virtue of dual citizenship.

Fernando told the court that Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship certificate was purportedly approved on 21 November 2005 after an application was made on 18 November 2005 which was a Friday. “It was also the day the results of the Presidential Election were released,” Fernando said. 21 November was the immediately following Monday, with a weekend in between.

Continue reading ‘Romesh de Silva PC Appearing for Gotabaya Rajapaksa Submits to Special Three-Judge Bench of Appeal Court Hearing Writ Petition That Litigation Against his Client had been Brought by Political Opponents and was not in the Public Interest’ »

Palaly Airport Vested Under Civil Aviation Authority to be Developed Into Sri Lanka’s Third International Airport: Regional Flights to Indian Cities from Jaffna International Airport (JIA) Likely To Commence From Mid -October

By Chandani Kirinde

Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Arjuna Ranatunga has vested the Jaffna International Airport (JIA) with the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAA) ahead of the commencement of regional commercial operations in mid-October.

The runway and the runway strip of JIA and the whole portion of the airport land located northwards abutting the runway has been vested with the CAA under the Civil Aviation Authority Act with immediate effect.

The order by the Minister has been made in keeping with the Cabinet decision of 6 August on ‘Development of Palaly Airport of Operation of Regional Commercial Flights’.

Continue reading ‘Palaly Airport Vested Under Civil Aviation Authority to be Developed Into Sri Lanka’s Third International Airport: Regional Flights to Indian Cities from Jaffna International Airport (JIA) Likely To Commence From Mid -October’ »

Sri Lanka Podujana Party Says Writs Filed Against Gotabaya Rajapaksa is an Attempt to Block the SLPP Presidential Candidate From Contesting the Presidential Elections


The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) yesterday said they were confident of facing legal challenges directed at their presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and said they have faith in the Judiciary to deliver a just decision.

A three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal (CA) yesterday commenced hearings on the Writ challenging Rajapaksa’s Sri Lankan citizenship.

Speaking to media at the Viyath Maga Head Office, SLPP Spokesman MP Dullas Alahapperuma said Rajapaksa had obtained dual citizenship in 2005 in accordance with law.

He argued that the entire sequence of events related to dual citizenship was a 15-year-old issue, and in his view, it was a baseless and irrelevant accusation.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Podujana Party Says Writs Filed Against Gotabaya Rajapaksa is an Attempt to Block the SLPP Presidential Candidate From Contesting the Presidential Elections’ »

If Frontrunner Gotabaya Rajapaksa is Unable to Contest Presidential Elections Due to Appeal Court Ruling, It willbe a Cakewalk then For His Closest Rival Sajith Premadasa.

By P.K.Balachandran

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a front-runner in the Sri Lankan Presidential election to be held on November 16, is facing a serious issue over his Sri Lankan citizenship, days before the date for filing of nominations.

Nominations are to be filed on October 6 and the case against him, filed in the Court of Appeal by two civil society activists, was taken up on October 2.

If the court rules against him, Gotabaya, who is the candidate of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s popular Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), will not be able to contest the election. It will then be a cakewalk for his nearest rival, Sajith Premadasa, of the ruling United National Party (UNP).

Petitioners Gamini Viyangoda and Prof.Chandraguptha Thenuwara have questioned Gotabaya’s Sri Lankan citizenship and the issuance of a Lankan passport and a National ID card to him.

Continue reading ‘If Frontrunner Gotabaya Rajapaksa is Unable to Contest Presidential Elections Due to Appeal Court Ruling, It willbe a Cakewalk then For His Closest Rival Sajith Premadasa.’ »

Counsel Suren Fernando Appearing for Petitioners and Senior Deputy Solicitor-General Nerin Pulle Appearing for Attorney -General Make Submissions Before Court of Appeal In Writ Cases Filed Against Gotabaya Rajapaksa

By

Shehan Chamika Silva

Appearing for the Attorney General, Senior Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle today told that the former president, who had signed the dual citizenship certificate of Gotabaya Rajapaksa in 2005, actually had the power to do so as the relevant minister, because he had continued to exercise being the head of the government and the executive even in absence of a cabinet at that time.

Appearing for the petitioners, Counsel Suren Fernando at the onset of the writ inquiry stated that Gotabaya Rajapaksa was a former citizen of Sri Lanka before 2003 by decent. Thereafter, on or around January 31, 2003, he had become a citizen of another country i.e. the United States of America. From that day onwards, Gotabaya Rajapaksa ceased to be a Citizen of Sri Lanka under the Citizenship Act of Sri Lanka.

Subsequently, he had to obtain a dual citizenship status by applying to the relevant Ministry, in order to obtain a new Passport and a National Identity Card, because he was no longer a citizen of Sri Lanka at that time.

Mr. Fernando stated that, thereafter, Gotabaya Rajapaksa had possibly applied for a dual citizenship certificate to the relevant Ministry during the time period November 18 – 24, 2005, soon after his brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected as the President of Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Counsel Suren Fernando Appearing for Petitioners and Senior Deputy Solicitor-General Nerin Pulle Appearing for Attorney -General Make Submissions Before Court of Appeal In Writ Cases Filed Against Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

Romesh de Silva PC Appearing for Gotabaya Rajapaksa at Appeal Court Raises Preliminary Objection Over the Maintainability of Writ Application Against Ex-Defence Secretary.

By

Shehan Chamika Silva

Romesh de Silva PC appearing for Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the writ petition today brought up a preliminary objection over the maintainability of the writ application on several grounds.

He said the petition cannot seek the relief sought in the petition as they do not have the locus standi (right to bring the action) in the first place.

Mr. De Silva said that the subject matter relating to the petition is identical to investigation which is still in progress at the Chief Magistrate’s Court and therefore, without such investigation being come to a conclusion the petitioners cannot invoke writ jurisdiction and seek reliefs.

Continue reading ‘Romesh de Silva PC Appearing for Gotabaya Rajapaksa at Appeal Court Raises Preliminary Objection Over the Maintainability of Writ Application Against Ex-Defence Secretary.’ »

Suhada Gamlath Reiterates he wont resign Because he Spoke the Truth and Will wait for Action to be Taken Against him

By

Susitha Fernando

Former Solicitor General (SG) and Chairman of the Sri Lanka National Authority for the Protection of Witnesses and Victims, Suhada Gamlath reiterated that he spoke the truth and said telling the truth had been construed as politics.

He was responding to Justice Minister Thalatha Athukorala, who said he has talked politics while holding a position in the public service.

“If telling truth is construed as politics what is the use of living in this country,” Mr. Gamlath asked.

Continue reading ‘Suhada Gamlath Reiterates he wont resign Because he Spoke the Truth and Will wait for Action to be Taken Against him’ »

Justice Minister Thalatha Atukorale Urges President Sirisena to Take Action Against Suhada Gamlath for Stating Publicly that two Ministers Had tried to Influence him into Arresting Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

By
Yohan Perera

Chairman of the National Authority for Protection of Witnesses and Victims, Suhada Gamlath has said he would submit his resignation shortly but action is being taken by the Presidential Secretariat to remove him if he fails to do so by today, Justice and Law Reforms Minister Thalatha Athukorala said today.

She told a conference that Mr. Gamlath had committed an offence as a public servant by talking to the media on certain issues.

Continue reading ‘Justice Minister Thalatha Atukorale Urges President Sirisena to Take Action Against Suhada Gamlath for Stating Publicly that two Ministers Had tried to Influence him into Arresting Gotabaya Rajapaksa.’ »

Senior Journalist Bandula Jayasekera Diagnosed With Blood Cancer Appeals for assistance to Undergo Lifesaving Medical Treatment.



Senior journalist Bandula Jayasekera, diagnosed with Myelodyplastic Syndrome, a type of blood cancer in July this year appeals for assistance to undergo a lifesaving medical procedure in Singapore.


Here Bandula himself explains his plight:

“Doctors say the cure is a bone marrow transplant in Singapore because the transplant for this blood cancer (MDS) is considered a very high risk procedure and currently there are no facilities to perform this type of transplants successfully in Sri Lanka. They tell me that if not, 50% will live for two years and others live a little longer.

I am not greedy for life, but I am not finished here yet … since there is a cure. I am determined to get well.

I am appealing to you for help because the costs for treatment are exorbitant and this is unfortunately a matter of life and death and we need to raise the money soon as the doctors in Singapore are looking for a bone marrow donor.

Continue reading ‘Senior Journalist Bandula Jayasekera Diagnosed With Blood Cancer Appeals for assistance to Undergo Lifesaving Medical Treatment.’ »

Sajith Premadasa has been Suspiciously Vague and Over-cautious Making Observers feel that he is Lacking Substance and is Scheming to Thrive in Rhetoric.

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Last week, the United National Party Working Committee nominated Sajith Premadasa as the presidential candidate of the Grand Old Party, and effectively, of the UNP led alliance. Mr Premadasa’s candidature may not impress those who wanted a more forthright choice with a degree of policy substance.

But, alas, there was no such in the competition. One who could have somewhat made a difference, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya pulled out, ostensibly, after Mr Premadasa assured him of the Prime Ministership of a future UNP government.

The triumph of the former presidential scion and housing minister in the bitter internecine struggle is remarkable. Unlike in the past, when he had habitually caved into the party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Premadasa persisted this time around, until to the very end.

Once his victory was in sight, he rebuffed preconditions set by Mr Wickremesinghe, including that the latter be the prime minister of a future UNP government, and strangely enough that a UNP president should abolish the executive presidency- effectively handing power over to the executive prime minister, who according to the bargain, would be Mr Wickremesinghe.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa has been Suspiciously Vague and Over-cautious Making Observers feel that he is Lacking Substance and is Scheming to Thrive in Rhetoric.’ »

However Much as Sajith Premadasa has been the most Overrated Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has all Along, been Underrated.

By

Shyamon Jayasinghe

It is sad to announce! I hope I am wrong. But I see the end of the Grand Old Party. The Sajith faction wouldn’t stop at getting nomination to a position that is only a shade of what it had been after 19A. The presidential executive is, today, a monster that has been only half-killed. Yet, being a monster, it can astonishingly revive and resurrect by an evil resilience.

The faction that has proven its capacity for physical intimidation will move headlong, manipulating the power it derives from a presidential electoral triumph. If they win the elections, Sajith and his pals will keep pushing the boundaries until they oust the respected, visionary and venerable leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

One cannot think of the United National Party sans Wickremesinghe. Without the latter having legitimately and sanctimoniously passed on the mantle of leadership to a suitable successor, the party lies in the dark doldrums.

Remnants will continue to struggle, as we observe in the tragic happenings of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party that keep unfolding before our eyes. There being no hereditary line of succession, the end will come. I give Ranil Wickremesinghe just one year and he will be gone if he is not made to go.

Continue reading ‘However Much as Sajith Premadasa has been the most Overrated Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has all Along, been Underrated.’ »

Question Mark Over Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Eligibility to Contest Presidential Elections as Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara and Gamini Viyangoda File Writ in Appeal Court Challenging Ex -Def Secy’s Sri Lankan Citizenship.

By S.S. Selvanayagam

A three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal (CA) will commence hearings on a writ challenging the Sri Lankan citizenship of former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa running for president, just three days ahead of the nominations deadline for the 16 November poll.

A Divisional Bench of the Court of Appeal headed by its President Justice Yasantha Kodagoda will hear the case tomorrow and on Thursday. Court has also put all lawyers involved in the potentially consequential case on notice to be available for hearings on a third day on Friday.

Between 9 a.m. and 12 noon on 7 October, candidates contesting the Presidential Elections must file nomination papers at the Elections Commission in order to be eligible to contest.

The petition filed by civil society activists Gamini Viyangoda and Professor Chandraguptha Thenuwara argues that the SLPP presidential hopeful failed to obtain his dual citizenship legally in 2005 when he was a US citizen. The citizenship certificate conferred upon Rajapaksa is null and void, the petition argues further.

Continue reading ‘Question Mark Over Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Eligibility to Contest Presidential Elections as Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara and Gamini Viyangoda File Writ in Appeal Court Challenging Ex -Def Secy’s Sri Lankan Citizenship.’ »

Court of Appeal Issues Directive Calling for Documents Pertaining to Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s National Identity Card and Issuance of Passport.


By Chitra Weerarathne and A.J.A. Abeynayake

The Court of Appeal yesterday directed Public Administration Minister Vajira Abeywardena, ministry Secretary Gamini Seneviratne, Controller Immigration and Emigration and Commissioner General of Registration of Persons to furnish information/documents pertaining to the issuance of a passport and National Identity Card (NIC) to Gotabaya Rajapaksa in 2019.

The Court of Appeal issued the directive following Prof. Chandragupta Thenuwara and Gamini Viyangoda petitioning the court to issue a directive not to recognize Gotabaya Rajapaksa as a Sri Lankan national. The Court of Appeal will take up the petition tomorrow (2).The bench comprised President of the Court of Appeal Justice Yasantha Kodagoda and justice Arjuna Obeysekera.

Continue reading ‘Court of Appeal Issues Directive Calling for Documents Pertaining to Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s National Identity Card and Issuance of Passport.’ »

“Judiciary Will Determine my Innocence” Declares Gotabaya Rajapaksa : Says He Has Followed Relevant Procedure in all Matters and That Documents Concerning His Identity and Citizenship Being Challenged in Courts are Authentic.

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday reiterated that he had obtain dual citizenship in 2005, soon after Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected President, but he had renounced his US citizenship in April this year.

Speaking at an event held in Colombo, Rajapaksa said he had followed the relevant procedure and obtained his dual citizenship in 2005 in accordance with the law.

“Soon after Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected the President, he invited me to work as the Defence Secretary. As I accepted the invitation, I obtained dual citizenship before starting work as the Defence Secretary,” Rajapaksa said.

Rajapaksa argued that he had no reason to obtain any forged dual citizenship certificate when his brother was the President and the relevant ministries were under his portfolio. He noted the matter related to dual citizenship was a 15-year-old issue and in his view it was a baseless and irrelevant accusation.

“Mahinda Rajapaksa told me to renounce my US citizenship as I might have to contest an election. I have successfully renounced my US citizenship in April following my brother’s request. Now I only hold Sri Lankan citizenship.”

Continue reading ‘“Judiciary Will Determine my Innocence” Declares Gotabaya Rajapaksa : Says He Has Followed Relevant Procedure in all Matters and That Documents Concerning His Identity and Citizenship Being Challenged in Courts are Authentic.’ »

SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa May Become “Stateless” and Ineligible to Contest if Appeal Court Upholds Legal Challenge Questioning his Citizenship and Legality of Identity Documents

Sri Lanka’s main opposition presidential candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa faced a fresh legal challenge Monday as the Court of Appeal entertained a petition questioning his citizenship and the legality of his identity documents.

A formal hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, just five days before nominations for the November 16 polls close.

Two civil society activists, Gamini Viyangoda and Chandraguptha Thenuwara told the Court of Appeal in a Writ application that Rajapaksa had not obtained Sri Lankan nationality in addition to his US citizenship in 2005 when he returned to the country.

The petitioners say that a recent police investigation had shown that Rajapaksa’s purported dual citizenship certificate was not valid because it had been dated at a time when there was no cabinet of ministers or secretaries to issue such a certificate.

Documents filed in court showed that Rajapaksa’s dual nationality certificate was outside the normal numbering system of such certificates. Unlike other certificates, his had been signed by an unknown person on behalf of a ministry secretary.

Continue reading ‘SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa May Become “Stateless” and Ineligible to Contest if Appeal Court Upholds Legal Challenge Questioning his Citizenship and Legality of Identity Documents’ »

THE PRIME MINISTER IS DEAD ! : How and Why SWRD Bandaranaike Was Assassinated Sixty Years Ago

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“The Prime Minister is Dead” was the striking headline in extra – large, bold letters of a special edition published by the now defunct “Times of Ceylon” on the morning of Saturday, September 26th 1959. Though I was only a little kid at that time and sixty years have passed since, I still remember this heading vividly as the newspaper was among copies of newspapers with important news that were kept by my father for many years. The “Times of Ceylon” in those days was an evening daily with a first edition published at noon. But on this day the paper had brought out a special edition in the morning itself with the powerful headline.

The headline of course referred to S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike the prime minister of Ceylon as Sri Lanka was known then. I was five years old then and studying in the Lower Kindergarten class. I could not read English then as we the Tamil and Sinhala medium students started learning English only from the Upper Kindergarten at S.Thomas’ prep school, Kollupitiya. However I did understand what the headline meant when my father read it out loudly. The news was somewhat stale because I had already heard all about it over the radio earlier. “Radio Ceylon” was also airing special bulletins about the shooting . Later the radio played mournful, melancholy music over the air waves to denote the death of the prime minister on the 26th .

Buddha Jayanthi Celebrations – 1956 – pic: SWRD Bandaranaike Museum

The morning’s “Daily News” had details of how Prime Minister Bandaranaike had been shot on Friday September 25th. This was read and explained to me earlier by my father. Bandaranaike was hospitalized and was seemingly out of danger . The situation had taken a turn for the worse in the morning and the country’s prime minister passed away between 7.45 – 8.00 am. This necessitated the evening dailies like “Observer” and “Times of Ceylon” to bring out early special editions in the morning.
Continue reading ‘THE PRIME MINISTER IS DEAD ! : How and Why SWRD Bandaranaike Was Assassinated Sixty Years Ago’ »

No Action Yet Against Bhikkus Led by Bodu Bala Sena’s Gnanasara Thero For Defying Court Order and Cremating Buddhist Monks Body Within Hindu Temple Precincts While Police Did Nothing

By

Meera Srinivasan

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The recent passing away of a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka and his subsequent cremation in the northern district of Mullaitivu has brought to the fore an old concern — the power wielded by the Buddhist clergy and the impunity shielding them. It wasn’t the monk’s cremation that was the problem, it was the site.

On Monday, a group of saffron-robed men, led by controversial monk Gnanasara Thero (in picture) of the Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Power Force), gathered near the Neeravi Pillaiyar Kovil (temple) well in Mullaitivu, even as their supporters swiftly made arrangements for the cremation to be held there. They completed the final rites, defying a court order barring it on the temple’s premises. Around noon the same day, the Mullaitivu magistrate court had ruled that the cremation be held by the sea, near the Army camp facing the temple.

Continue reading ‘No Action Yet Against Bhikkus Led by Bodu Bala Sena’s Gnanasara Thero For Defying Court Order and Cremating Buddhist Monks Body Within Hindu Temple Precincts While Police Did Nothing’ »

The Pluses and Minuses of a Sajith Premadasa Presidential Candidacy

by C.A.Chandraprema

By fielding Sajith Premadasa as its presidential candidate, the UNP has put its best foot forward. As a political party, it would not have been feasible to ignore the demonstrations that the Sajith camp put up to prove the fact that he was by far the preferred candidate of the UNP rank and file. For the past decade, the UNP’s style of electioneering was to come to an arrangement with like minded political parties to add the latter’s vote to the UNP’s base vote in contesting presidential elections and indeed even other elections. For instance, at the last local government elections held in February 2018, what appears as the ‘UNP’ vote includes the bloc vote of the SLMP, ACMC and the Tamil Progressive Alliance as well. In such a situation, the base vote of the UNP is all important.

Unless the candidate they put forward is able to galvanize and obtain the base vote of the UNP, the whole exercise will be doomed to failure. So the UNP had no option really from the time Sajith threw his hat into the ring. Neither did the UNP’s partners have any choice even though they may not have had as cosy a relationship with Sajith as they did with RW or even with Karu Jayasuriya. The elephant symbol has been ditched once again in favour of the swan. The JVP which had an issue with supporting a candidate contesting under the elephant symbol is no longer in the UNP led coalition and all the other parties that are now with the UNP have no issue with contesting under the elephant symbol.

The only reason for selecting the swan symbol this time as well appears to be to enable the TNA to channel votes to Sajith the way they did to the common candidate at the previous two presidential elections. By adopting the swan symbol, Sajith too can be portrayed as a common candidate of sorts in a situation where there would be a certain reticence among the Tamil voters of the north and east to explicitly vote for a southern political party. Perhaps there was also the fear that the elephant symbol would evoke certain bitter memories of the 1980s in the north and east and thereby act as a damperner on voter enthusiasm in those areas.

Continue reading ‘The Pluses and Minuses of a Sajith Premadasa Presidential Candidacy’ »

Is the Killing of Civilian Tamils During the Rajapaksa Decade to Be Reckoned as a Necessary Evil?


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Two manifestly glorious ironies occurred this week. A former President cautioned against a return to what he termed ‘the Premadasa era’ and a former Chief Justice lamented that, during the ‘yahapalanaya’ years, the independence of the Sri Lankan judiciary had been lost.

Strange logic and stranger contradictions

These claims may have been dismissed with nary a scornful sniff if it was not for the stunningly hypocritical context in which they were made. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s reference to the ‘tyre killings’ of Sinhalese youth during the Ranasinghe Premadasa Presidency at an event hosted by local entrepreneurs in Colombo drew, on predictable cue, cries of assent from an adoring crowd. But these repeated references by the former President sharpens a major paradox of which surely he must be all too aware.

The pointing of one finger at killings of civilian Sinhalese during the quelling of the second Southern insurrection during Ranasinghe Premadasa’s time as inhumane butchery invariably results in four fingers of that same accusing hand being directed backwards at the Rajapaksas themselves. So when civilian Tamils were killed during the Rajapaksa decade, was this reckoned to be a necessary evil?

Legend has it that when King Dhutugemunu was mourning over the killing of the invader, King Elara and hundreds of Chola soldiers, his sages came to him and asked him why he was disturbed. On being told the reason, they asked him not to grieve, saying ‘O King, do not be sad, only one and a half persons have died.’ Is this the logic employed to explain the strange contradiction whereby a politician can wax eloquent on ‘Southern’ killings as it were, but summarily disregard their ‘Northern’ equivalent? Let us not forget further that the Rajapaksa Presidency was marked quite extraordinarily by the killings of editors, journalists and dissenters and for good measure, anyone who offended the ‘first family’, (of which the most egregious example was the murder of ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen). As the former President lectures to the public regarding ‘the Premadasa era’, he may well keep in mind that this is a loathsomely slippery slope that he is on.

Continue reading ‘Is the Killing of Civilian Tamils During the Rajapaksa Decade to Be Reckoned as a Necessary Evil?’ »

What Can Sri Lanka Expect Under “President” Gotabaya Rajapaksa or “President” Sajith Premadasa?


By P.K.Balachandran

On Thursday, after a month-long bitter inner-party struggle, Sajith Premadasa was nominated as the ruling United National Party’s candidate for the November 16 Sri Lankan Presidential election.

The entrenched faction led by party Leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had to bite the dust eventually, and grant Deputy Leader and Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa the party nomination “unconditionally.”

With the issue of UNP’s candidature settled at last, there are two main contenders for the Sri Lankan Presidency, namely, Sajith Premadasa of the UNP-led Democratic National Front (DNF) and Gotabaya Rajapaksa of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP)-led front of ten parties. For convenience, one is leaving out minor candidate Anura Kumara Dissanayaka of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).

With Sajith and Gotabaya in the arena, two questions arise in one’s mind: (1) What are the issues on which the campaign will be fought? (2) What will be the policies of the Lankan government under Sajith or his principal rival, Gotabaya?

Continue reading ‘What Can Sri Lanka Expect Under “President” Gotabaya Rajapaksa or “President” Sajith Premadasa?’ »

“How Can Sajith Premadasa Win The Entire Country When he Cant Even Win Tissamaharama Electorate or Hambantota District ? Asks Mahinda Rajapaksa.

By

Lahiru Pothmulla

Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa today said Minister Sajith Premadasa was not a challenge to them at the presidential election and asked how a person who could not even win the Tissamaharama electorate and Hambantota district, could win the entire country.

He expressed these views in response to the questions asked by journalists at the Opposition Leader’s Office.

When asked for his comments over the UNP Working Committee nominating Minister Sajith Premadasa’s name as the presidential candidate, Mr. Rajapaksa said he was extremely happy.

Continue reading ‘“How Can Sajith Premadasa Win The Entire Country When he Cant Even Win Tissamaharama Electorate or Hambantota District ? Asks Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »

“I am supremely and absolutely confident of winning against Gotabaya Rajapaksa, because I know the majority of the people of this country are with me” -An Upbeat UNP Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa Tells Media

By Chandani Kirinde

Unanimously endorsed as the party’s presidential candidate, an upbeat UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday said he was supremely and absolutely confident of winning the upcoming election.

“I am supremely and absolutely confident of winning against (SLPP candidate) Gotabaya Rajapaksa, because I know the majority of the people of this country are with me,” Premadasa told a packed media briefing at the UNP headquarters Sirikotha in Kotte.

Premadasa faced the media after the UNP’s Working Committee (WC) unanimously endorsed him as the party’s candidate for the 16 November presidential poll. His name was proposed to the WC by UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Later, the UNP Parliamentary Group unanimously ratified the WC decision.

Continue reading ‘“I am supremely and absolutely confident of winning against Gotabaya Rajapaksa, because I know the majority of the people of this country are with me” -An Upbeat UNP Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa Tells Media’ »

Will Ranasinghe and Sajith Premadasa Be The First Father-Son Duo To be Presidents of Sri Lanka?

By D.B.S.JEYARAJ

The eighth Sri Lankan presidential election is expected to be held on or before December 7th this year. Though dates have not been announced yet, many names are being bandied about as potential candidates. Among such names is Hambantota district parliamentarian and cabinet Minister of Housing and Construction and Cultural Affairs Sajith Premadasa who is also the United National Party (UNP) deputy leader.

June 23, 1989. Sajith with President R. Premadasa at Mahiyanganaya Rajama Viharaya on his Birthday

Sajith Premadasa is the son of former Sri Lankan president Ranasinghe Premadasa who was assassinated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) on May 1st 1993. Sri Lanka known formerly as Ceylon was the first country in the South Asian region to adopt the practice of dynastic succession in political leadership. The first prime minister of Independent Ceylon D. S. Senanayake was succeeded by his son Dudley Senanayake in 1951. In 1960, Sirimavo Bandaranaike the widow of , Prime minister S.W.R. D. Bandaranaike assassinated in 1959 , became Prime minister. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga the daughter of two past Prime Ministers became Prime minister in August 1994. When she became the President in October 1994, her mother Sirimavo Bandaranaike was appointed Prime Minister. Mother and daughter being Prime Minister and President simultaneously is a world record. If therefore Sajith does indeed become a President like Ranasinghe Premadasa they would be the first father and son ti be Sri Lankan presidents. If that happens Sri Lanka would have added another notch to its Totem pole of dynastic politics.

Continue reading ‘Will Ranasinghe and Sajith Premadasa Be The First Father-Son Duo To be Presidents of Sri Lanka?’ »

Sajith Premadasa Named Officially as UNP Presidential Candidate at Party Working Committee Meeting Where Prime Minister and Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Proposed the Deputy Leader as the Sole Nominee.


Ending months of speculation, heated debates and emotionally charged proclamations, the United National Party formally named Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa its candidate for the upcoming presidential election a short while ago.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe proposed Premadasa’s name at the Working Committee meeting held at party headquarters Sirikotha at 3.00pm today, which was endorsed by all members present.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa Named Officially as UNP Presidential Candidate at Party Working Committee Meeting Where Prime Minister and Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Proposed the Deputy Leader as the Sole Nominee.’ »

Sajith Premadasa Chosen as UNP Presidential Candidate Because Party Circles Felt He was “The Only Candidate Who Can Beat Gota”.

By

Meera Srinivasan

United National Party (UNP) deputy leader and Cabinet Minister Sajith Premadasa will run for President, Sri Lanka’s ruling party announced on Thursday, ending weeks of uncertainty and apparent infighting over candidacy.

Mr. Premadasa, 52, is the son of late President Ranasinghe Premadasa. In the November 16 election, he will face Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a former Defence Secretary and brother of Leader of Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa, from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, and Anura Kumara Dissanayake, who leads the leftist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).

The UNP’s working committee on Thursday unanimously endorsed Mr. Premadasa, nominated by party leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The development follows an internal struggle among supporters of three contenders — Mr. Wickremesinghe, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Mr. Premadasa. With the party grassroots throwing its weight behind Mr. Premadasa, he emerged the final choice, party sources said, adding that he was the “only candidate who can beat Gota”.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa Chosen as UNP Presidential Candidate Because Party Circles Felt He was “The Only Candidate Who Can Beat Gota”.’ »

Sajith Premadasa Speaking at Meeting in Matugama Declares he would not Yield to any “Conditions” on His Political Journey and that No Force Could Obstruct His Path this time.

UNP Deputy Leader and Housing and Construction Minister Sajith Premadasa yesterday insisted that he would not yield to any condition on his political journey and that no force would be able to block his path this time.

He made this observation with reference to news paper reports appearing on Tuesday which said that his name was approved as the Presidential candidate subject to conditions. The minister was addressing a public rally organized at the public grounds in Mathugama.

Premadasa, thanking the cheering crowd that turned up to welcome him despite the bad weather, pledged that he would safeguard the people’s mandate at all times and that it would be used for empowering the ordinary masses.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa Speaking at Meeting in Matugama Declares he would not Yield to any “Conditions” on His Political Journey and that No Force Could Obstruct His Path this time.’ »

Sri Lankan Military Wont be Deployed in UN Peacekeeping Missions in the Future Due to Appointment of Shavendra Silva as Army Commander Despite Facing war Crime Allegations: Lankan Personnel Currently Serving as Peacekeepers Will be Repatriated and Wont be Replaced

The UN peacekeeping department has decided to ban the deployment of non-essential Sri Lankan army troops in UN peacekeeping missions citing the appointment of new Army Commander who is alleged to have committed war crimes, a UN spokesperson has told the Foreign Policy News.

It said Lt. General Shavendra Silva’s appointment as the chief of the Sri Lankan army elicited criticism from the UN, the United States, and the European Union.

The UN High Commissioner for the United Nations, Michelle Bachelet, announced last month that Silva’s appointment was “deeply troubling” given the “serious allegations of gross violations of international human rights and humanitarian law against him and his troops during the war.”

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Military Wont be Deployed in UN Peacekeeping Missions in the Future Due to Appointment of Shavendra Silva as Army Commander Despite Facing war Crime Allegations: Lankan Personnel Currently Serving as Peacekeepers Will be Repatriated and Wont be Replaced’ »

Bodu Bala Sena’s Gnanasara Thero Convicted for Contempt of Court and Released by President Sirisena Commits Same Offence Again by Defying Magistrate ‘s Court Forbidding Cremation of Buddhist Monk’s Body Within Disputed Precincts of Hindu Temple.

By P.K.Balachandran

The General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Ven.Galagoda Aththe Gnansara Thero held a Sri Lankan court in contempt for the second time when on Tuesday, he defied a magistrate’s order not to cremate the body of a Buddhist monk within the disputed precincts of a Hindu kovil in the northern district of Mullaitivu.

The Sinhala-Buddhists in the Chemmalai area in Mullaitivu district wanted to cremate the body of Ven. Kolampe Medhalankara Thero, the chief priest of a Buddhist temple on land which is claimed by the Ganesha kovil.

The Kovil management and Hindu its devotees objected to the cremation there saying that cremating or burying a body within temple premises or adjacent to it, would amount to desecrating the holy place.

Continue reading ‘Bodu Bala Sena’s Gnanasara Thero Convicted for Contempt of Court and Released by President Sirisena Commits Same Offence Again by Defying Magistrate ‘s Court Forbidding Cremation of Buddhist Monk’s Body Within Disputed Precincts of Hindu Temple.’ »

Ranil Willing to Nominate Sajith as UNP Presidential Candidate if He would Agree in Writing to Abolish Executive Presidency, Usher in a Devolution Package and Consent to Wickremesinghe Being PM and Party Leader

By

Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera

There was general agreement among the seniors of the United National Party (UNP) to nominate Minister Sajith Premadasa as the presidential candidate but on certain conditions to be stipulated in writing, Daily Mirror learns.

The UNP seniors backing both Party Leader Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mr.Premadasa met on Tuesday (24) to work out some arrangement to agree on candidacy.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Willing to Nominate Sajith as UNP Presidential Candidate if He would Agree in Writing to Abolish Executive Presidency, Usher in a Devolution Package and Consent to Wickremesinghe Being PM and Party Leader’ »

Demonstration in North Urging Attorney -General to Commence Legal Action Against Bodu Bala Sena’s Gnanasara Thero and Others for Allegedly Violating Court Order and Cremating Buddhist Monk’s Body Within Hindu Temple Premises;

By

T.Virushan S. Thavaseelan and Sivam Packyanathan

Over 2,000 protestors yesterday demonstrated in Mullaitivu against an alleged attack on two lawyers in relation to the controversy surrounding the cremation of the remains of Mullaitivu Gurukanda Purana Raja Maha Vihara Chief Incumbent, Ven.Colomba Medhalankarakitti Thera.

The demonstrators demanded legal action against the performance of last rites of the Chief Incumbent within the temple premises in violation of a court ruling and also action against the physical assault on two lawyers.

The demonstrators demanded that the Attorney General to take legal action within three days against all those who are involved in the incident including Ven.Galagoda Aththe Gananasara Thera, General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) who was heavily involved in the controversial incident along with another Buddhist monk who had openly protested against the court order on the cremation of the Chief Incumbent.

Continue reading ‘Demonstration in North Urging Attorney -General to Commence Legal Action Against Bodu Bala Sena’s Gnanasara Thero and Others for Allegedly Violating Court Order and Cremating Buddhist Monk’s Body Within Hindu Temple Premises;’ »

National Integration and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister Mano Ganesan Accuses Bodu Bala Sena Of Trying to Construct a Sub -national Sinhala Buddhist State in the Island While the Govt is Building an Inclusive Sri Lankan State Encompassing All Ethnicities and Religions

A Government Minister has accused the Bodu Bala Sena led by the Venerable Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero of attempting to build a sub-national Sinhala Buddhist state.

Minister of National Integration, Official Languages, Social Progress and Hindu Religious Affairs Mano Ganesan said that while the Government is building a Sri Lankan state encompassing Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Islam and Catholic Sri Lankans, the BBS is building a sub-national Sinhala Buddhist state.

Ganesan’s comments came after a tense situation arose in Mullaitivu over the final rites of a monk.

Continue reading ‘National Integration and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister Mano Ganesan Accuses Bodu Bala Sena Of Trying to Construct a Sub -national Sinhala Buddhist State in the Island While the Govt is Building an Inclusive Sri Lankan State Encompassing All Ethnicities and Religions’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Refers to Maithripala Sirisena as a Liar Indirectly: “Therefore, I like to point out kindly that the statements made by the President are not true”says the Prime Minister


Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, yesterday, accused President Maithripala Sirisena of misleading the public with regard to former Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe.

Issuing a statement, the Prime Minister said that he could not fathom why the President was raising false allegations against him after a presidential election had been announced.

“The President has made an allegation against me with regard to a statement by former Bribery Director General Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Refers to Maithripala Sirisena as a Liar Indirectly: “Therefore, I like to point out kindly that the statements made by the President are not true”says the Prime Minister’ »

Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne Orders CID to Probe the US and Sri Lankan Citizenship of SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Report to Court Upon Conclusion of Investigation.

By

T. Farook Thajudeen

Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne ordered the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to probe the American and Sri Lankan citizenship of former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and report its progress to court upon conclusion of the investigation.

The magistrate also laid by the brief without fixing a date for inquiry.

The magistrate made this order consequent to a complaint filed by the CID before court alleging that human rights activists Professor Chandraguptha Thenuwara and L.A.C. Uyangoda had complained to the CID that former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, while being an American citizen, had come to Sri Lanka on tourist visa and was engaged in propaganda for his candidature at the forthcoming presidential election.

Continue reading ‘Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne Orders CID to Probe the US and Sri Lankan Citizenship of SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Report to Court Upon Conclusion of Investigation.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Decides to Hold United National Party (UNP) Working Committee Meeting on Thursday Se[ 26th to Conduct Secret Ballot to Decide Party’s Presidential Candidate.

By

Kelum Bandara

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, after a discussion with a team of his party seniors, decided last night to call for a meeting of the working committee on Thursday and conduct a secret ballot to select the presidential candidate, Daily Mirror learns.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Decides to Hold United National Party (UNP) Working Committee Meeting on Thursday Se[ 26th to Conduct Secret Ballot to Decide Party’s Presidential Candidate.’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Seven Others Discharged and Released From the Avant Garde Floating Armoury Case by the Colombo Magistrates Court Following an Acquittal Order by the Court of Appeal.

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa and 7 others have been discharged and released from the Avant-Garde floating armoury case.

This is as per the order of the Colombo Magistrate’s Court after receiving the Court of Appeal judgment on the case.

A copy of the acquittal order from the Appeals court was produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne when the case was taken up today (23).

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Seven Others Discharged and Released From the Avant Garde Floating Armoury Case by the Colombo Magistrates Court Following an Acquittal Order by the Court of Appeal.’ »

How Many Tamil Votes Can EPDP chief Douglas Devananda Canvass for Gotabaya Rajapaksa At Presidential Poll?

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Ever since the name of Gotabaya Rajapaksa began to be bandied about as a potential candidate at the Sri Lankan presidential elections, doubts have been raised as to whether the former defence ministry secretary could win at the hustings. This skepticism has intensified in recent times after former president Mahinda Rajapaksa formally announced his brother’s candidacy at the Sri Lanka Podujana Party(SLPP) Convention on August 7th this year.

EPDP Meeting Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Earlier there was much pessimism about Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s eligibility to contest as a dual citizen holding US citizenship. It was strongly believed that Gota would not be allowed to relinquish his US citizenship on time to contest presidential elections and would be disbarred from contesting as a dual citizen in terms of the 19th Constitutional amendment. These misgivings seem to have somewhat diminished after Gota produced documents as proof of having lost his US Nationality.
Continue reading ‘How Many Tamil Votes Can EPDP chief Douglas Devananda Canvass for Gotabaya Rajapaksa At Presidential Poll?’ »

Will Sajith Premadasa Split From The UNP And Contest Presidential Poll Separately Or Remain in the Party Even if Denied Candidacy?

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

There is political excitement in the air in anticipation of Presidential elections before the end of the year. Even though no dates have been specified there is much speculation about prospective candidates and their prospects. Among those being spoken of as a potential presidential election contender is Hambantota District Parliamentarian and Cabinet Minister of Housing and Construction Sajith Premadasa who is also the United National Party (UNP) deputy leader. Sajith is the son of Ranasinghe Premadasa who served as Prime minister of a United National Party (UNP)Government from 1978 to 1988 and as President of Sri Lanka from 1988 to 1993.

pic: facebook.com/sajithpremadasa

The simmering tensions within the UNP over this issue are now coming to light In a big way. The latest incident being the UNP working committee meeting held on August 1st to approve the proposal by party leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to form a new political alliance named National Democratic Front (NDF) and face Presidential elections.
Continue reading ‘Will Sajith Premadasa Split From The UNP And Contest Presidential Poll Separately Or Remain in the Party Even if Denied Candidacy?’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Firmly Refutes “False”Allegations Made Against Him by Maithripala Sirisena About Special Cabinet Meeting to Discuss Abolition of Executive Presidency.

The fallout from last week’s hurried move to abolish the executive presidency continued to reverberate through Government ranks as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday rejected the claim by President Maithripala Sirisena that it was the UNP leader who wanted an urgent Cabinet meeting convened for the purpose.

“The President telephoned me at 8.16 a.m. on the morning of 19 September (Thursday) morning. He asked me whether he should call a Cabinet meeting to discuss the 20th Amendment. I informed the President that the civil society had made a request that we do so. (TNA MP M.A) Sumanthiran had also informed me of the President’s stand on the matter. Therefore, I told the President that it is appropriate to call the Cabinet and discuss it. I said that we should call that meeting on Thursday or Friday,” the Prime Minister told party activists.

His remarks came hours after President Sirisena told a public gathering on Saturday that he had called the Special Cabinet meeting on Thursday only because Wickremesinghe wanted to present a Cabinet paper on the abolition of the executive presidency and that the Prime Minister message was conveyed to him by Minister Ravi Karunanayake.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Firmly Refutes “False”Allegations Made Against Him by Maithripala Sirisena About Special Cabinet Meeting to Discuss Abolition of Executive Presidency.’ »

It is Not a Tough Man who Would Save Sri Lanka at the Present Juncture But a Democratic Man who Would Observe the Rule of Law and Protect Property Rights of the People


By

W.A. Wijewardena

Recently, a former CEO of a leading private company expressed his personal view to me of the type of the ruler whom Sri Lanka should have today. Driven by conviction, he said that Sri Lanka at the present juncture needed a dictator to rule the country. He presented his reasons for this suggestion. All the top leaders of the country today, according to him, have disappointingly failed the nation. They have promised so many good things to the electorate when they sought power at elections. But, once in power, those promises had been kept in abeyance.

The list was long, but he mentioned some of the key promises that had been broken. Among them were the promises to take those who had been accused of committing acts of corruption to courts, abolish executive presidency, establish a ‘rule of law based government system’, and revert to good governance practices. Hence, the ex-CEO had been an angry man. His anger had made him rationalise that the problem had been due to the softness of the people in power.

He presented evidence from the region where tough administrations had been successful in delivering the promises. In Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew had been a tough ruler though he had been elected to power through elections. In South Korea, General Park had seized power through a coup d’état. He is said to have used his military prowess to enforce discipline on otherwise undisciplined South Koreans. The results had been dramatic. Within a single generation, both countries had been able to elevate themselves to the status of rich countries. Hence, the golden path to economic prosperity, according to the ex-CEO, was to have an authoritarian rule.

Continue reading ‘It is Not a Tough Man who Would Save Sri Lanka at the Present Juncture But a Democratic Man who Would Observe the Rule of Law and Protect Property Rights of the People’ »

Cold Calculation Marks Choices Ahead of the November 16 Sri Lankan Presidential Election.

By P.K.Balachandran

Whatever the issue may be, a politician’s or a political party’s stand on it is determined by immediate political interests and not ideology, principles or long-standing commitments.

Cold calculation marks choices ahead of the November 16 Sri Lankan Presidential election. This has come out clearly in the stand taken by Lankan political leaders and political parties on the question of electoral alliances and issues like the abolition of the Executive Presidency (EP).

Abolition of the EP has been on the agenda of all Lankan political parties since 1995. Every candidate would pledge to abolish it if voted to power. But for one reason or the other, the promise would never be kept. However, come elections, the promise would be re-iterated and arguments mustered for the abolition of the EP.

But again, the promise would be broken because the office is so powerful that no occupant and his or her followers would want to give it up.

However, the opposition would not allow the incumbent to forget his or her pledge. Abolition of the EP would be raked up by the opposition to show the incumbent President as a power-hungry dictator misusing his powerful office. Abolition of the EP would be made an election issue the next time round.

Continue reading ‘Cold Calculation Marks Choices Ahead of the November 16 Sri Lankan Presidential Election.’ »

Thirty Years After: Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama’s Lasting Impact.

By

Dr.Rajan Hoole


( Text of Speech delivered by DR. Rajan Hoole at Trimmer Hall, Jaffna, on 21st September 2019 to mark the 30th anniversary of Dr.Rajini Thiranagama’s assassination)

Ever since Rajani was killed, on 21st September 1989, many around the world have seen her as a heroic figure that stood for human values, not in a legalistic sense, but in the full-blooded sense that evokes an emotional and intellectual response; that moves those around her to commitment and action that is contagious. Accepting that we are living in a world that is not pacifist, her activism was towards solutions that avoided violence. The other view of Rajani was simply that she is a traitor. For those who felt helpless when the Tigers carried all before them, she inspired them as a symbol of resistance to the emerging fascist order, where to dissent was to court death.

Between these ways of seeing her, something crucial is lost. That is her role as a public intellectual, a word she viewed with deep reservation. She was an academic extraordinary, not one whose fame owed to a numerical count of obscure papers. She wrote in the Broken Palmyra:

“In this sketch an encompassing view is attempted, within the framework of historical analysis. … [It] rather breaks into emotional and descriptive scenarios. This has been inevitable for us, as we are participants in the pain and agony of a nation. This sketch is attempted principally to bring out into the open the little known side of our nation (already people are adapting themselves to living with reality, pushing and smothering the pain into the recesses of memory) and the underlying causative processes and forces.”

As ‘pain and agony’ in the passage suggests, for Rajani, intellectual activity was entwined with our emotions and feelings, and flowing with these it gives direction to our actions. This is evident in everything she wrote, but within a rigorous discipline that demanded truth and accuracy. Everything had to be properly reasoned out and the reader should not be taxed with obscurities and ambiguities.

When she got the co-authors together and edited the first typed scripts of the Broken Palmyra, in 1988, one had to put up with passages from one’s writing being pencilled out or being asked to redraft certain portions. One was made to take one’s ego less seriously and the pain was ameliorated by her kindness and charm. Finally, the book was improved tremendously by the pains she took and our co author Sritharan’s quick, sharp and unfailing analysis.

Continue reading ‘Thirty Years After: Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama’s Lasting Impact.’ »

The More we are Connected Through Social Media the Greater the Risk of Being Rent Asunder by Stories that Weaponise Incomprehension, Anxiety, Suspicion and Myth.

by Sanjana Hattotuwa

What binds a community together? Initially one might assume it is to do with having the same language, external enemies or economic interests. However, something generally precedes all that: common ideas that are passed down from generation to generation and that shape the development of the community.

These ideas lend a distinctiveness to the collective and eventually form the foundation of a national identity.

‘Ideen Schweiz’, or ‘Ideas of Switzerland’, is a permanent exhibition at the Swiss National Museum in Zurich. The text introducing the exhibits features the excerpt above. The Director of the museum, Andreas Spillmann, goes on to expand some of these ideas in a blog post, stressing that the supranational Swiss identity is defined by narratives, independent of an individual’s background. Stories, in other words, matter.

In Switzerland, stories around a common identity and shared history are, to Spillmann, more consequential than personal origins, religion or ethnicity. The question driving him and the exhibition is of trans-national importance. What makes a country what it is?

What are the ideas that bind, around a common, shared set of stories that capture the past, frame the present and help envision shared futures? As crucial in Sri Lanka – a country about as far removed as possible from Spillmann’s thesis of narratives as social glue – what are the stories that divide us? How are they selected, told and amplified? Can we capture the socio-political dynamics of a country through stories?

Continue reading ‘The More we are Connected Through Social Media the Greater the Risk of Being Rent Asunder by Stories that Weaponise Incomprehension, Anxiety, Suspicion and Myth.’ »

Former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake Reveals The True Story Behind Her Impeachment by the Rajapaksa Regime Through Two Books in Sinhala and English – “Uththareethara Doshabiyogaye Athulanthaya and “Hold Me In Contempt – A Memoir”

By
Aanya Wipulasena

Most of it happened behind closed doors. The public knew only what was shown on television and what they read in the newspapers, and one caught a glimpse (perhaps) of the true story, depending on which television channel one watched, or which newspaper one read.

Now, six years later, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, the 43rd Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, is breaking her silence for the first time with two books that detail her harrowing impeachment, which, to date haunts the country’s legal system.

On January 13, 2013 Dr. Bandaranayake, (the first woman ever to head the country’s judiciary), was removed by the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa who accused her of corruption, and two years later reinstated by incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena. The President’s office branded the impeachment a ‘procedural’ error. Twenty-four hours after her name was cleared, Dr. Bandaranayake retired.

Continue reading ‘Former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake Reveals The True Story Behind Her Impeachment by the Rajapaksa Regime Through Two Books in Sinhala and English – “Uththareethara Doshabiyogaye Athulanthaya and “Hold Me In Contempt – A Memoir”’ »

“Old Identity Card Number Appears in the Electoral Lists Though I Filled out Forms With the New No and Elections Dept was Informed of Change by Registration of Persons Dep” Clarifies Gotabaya Rajapaksa

With reference to the Daily Mirror news story on the appearance of the invalidated national identity card number of Gotabhaya Rajapksa in the electoral registers of 2017, 2018 and 2019, Mr. Rajapaksa said that although he filled the form with the new ID number and the Department of Registration of Persons had informed the Elections Department of the new identity card number what appears in the electoral list is the old ID number.

Continue reading ‘“Old Identity Card Number Appears in the Electoral Lists Though I Filled out Forms With the New No and Elections Dept was Informed of Change by Registration of Persons Dep” Clarifies Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

Attorney -General Dappula de Livera to Refer Matter Concerning Alleged Telephone Conversation Between Solicitor -General Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe and Avant Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi to Public Services Commission For Further Action

By

Anurangi Singh

Attorney General Dappula De Livera will refer the matter of a leaked telephone conversation allegedly between the chairman of the controversial private security firm Avant Garde and the former Director General of the Bribery Commission, to the Public Service Commission (PSC) tomorrow, his office told Sunday Observer.

The move comes as the former Bribery Commission Director General Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe finally broke her silence on her personal Facebook account last week, posing counter questions to Avant Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi who admitted he had leaked the conversation. “As a public officer I am not permitted to make public or press statements, Wickremasinghe noted, adding that Senadhipathi should reveal the entire telephone conversation without editing, doctoring and distorting the contents. “Secondly, please disclose to the public the name of the Minister whose telephone you called and the reasons why the said minister passed the telephone to me,” the post added.

Continue reading ‘Attorney -General Dappula de Livera to Refer Matter Concerning Alleged Telephone Conversation Between Solicitor -General Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe and Avant Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi to Public Services Commission For Further Action’ »

Media reports State the National Identity Card Used by Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Register as a Voter in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Electoral Lists had been invalidated by the Department for Registration of Persons in October 2016.

By

Anurangi Singh

A day after the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna made a deposit on behalf of its presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Elections Commission, fresh controversy has erupted over the former defence secretary being registered to vote since 2017 under a NIC number that has been defunct since October 2016.

The revelations followed confirmation by the Police Headquarters that the CID had reported progress to the Colombo Chief Magistrate on its investigation into alleged irregularities pertaining to Rajapaksa’s passport and “other matters” last Friday, and disputing media reports that the CID’s request to arrest the former Defence Secretary had been rejected by the Chief Magistrate.

Media reports yesterday said the NIC used by Gotabaya Rajapaksa to register as a voter in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 electoral lists had been invalidated by the Department for Registration of Persons (DRP) in October 2016.Economic Reforms and Public Distribution Minister and UNP Organiser for Kotte, Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday further reinforced the revelations publicly yesterday, by tweeting extracts of the Kotte Electoral Register that clearly shows Rajapaksa was registered to vote under his pre-2016 NIC.

Continue reading ‘Media reports State the National Identity Card Used by Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Register as a Voter in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Electoral Lists had been invalidated by the Department for Registration of Persons in October 2016.’ »

“Those in the Cabinet who Say They are for Executive Presidency Abolition But this is not the right time Can Help Pass the Bill Now in Parliament and hold the referendum Afterwards Suggests TNA Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran


TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran said yesterday that the emergency Cabinet meeting summoned on Thursday to discuss the abolition of the executive presidency was done with the agreement of both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

“The primary promise of the 2015 Presidential Election campaign was the abolition of the executive presidency, and this is one issue on which the TNA has been talking to both the President and the Prime Minister for some time. Hence Thursday’s Cabinet meeting was fixed for this purpose, as the President said the proposal needs to be approved by the Cabinet and he was confident it would be passed,” Sumanthiran said.

Continue reading ‘“Those in the Cabinet who Say They are for Executive Presidency Abolition But this is not the right time Can Help Pass the Bill Now in Parliament and hold the referendum Afterwards Suggests TNA Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran’ »

The Nelum Kuluna will stand out and rise as the tallest symbol of the corruption that has been the operational principle of governance in this country in the past three decades or more

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

SLFP’s Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekera will have to give up on his calls for the SLPP and the Gotabaya Rajapaksa team to have a common symbol if contesting the polls in an alliance between the two parties.

President Maithripala Sirisena has now sent the symbol of Gotabaya and the SLPP into celestial heights with the opening of the Nelum Kuluna – the Lotus Tower of political display and pain of expenses.

The Lotus Bud at the peak of the Nelum Kuluna stands out in both day and night, giving a big boost to the symbol of the political forces that support the candidature of Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the presidency, and the hopes of Mahinda Rajapaksa to be the next prime minister.

The same Lotus Bud also reminds one of corruption that was the core feature of the Rajapaksa regime, the failure of the yahapalana successors to curb such corruption, and promote more of such massive frauds in governance.

Continue reading ‘The Nelum Kuluna will stand out and rise as the tallest symbol of the corruption that has been the operational principle of governance in this country in the past three decades or more’ »

Sajith Premadasa is also for Abolition of Executive Presidency and will Announce it after he is Nominated as the Presidential Candidate Says Thalatha Atukorale.

By Himal Kotelawala

United National Party (UNP) seniors backing Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa in the race to the executive presidency defended their decision yesterday to oppose the 11th hour move to abolish it.

Speaking to the media in Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s official residence in Colombo this afternoon, Ministers Thalatha Atukorale, Ranjith Madduma Bandara and Ravindra Samaraweera said that all party leaders of the UNP-led United National Front (UNF) alliance were not only vehemently opposed to the move, but were also fully behind the candidacy of Premadasa.

Insisting that they were not opposed to abolishing the executive presidency, Atukorale said a majority of the UNP and the UNF were merely against the indecent hurry with which it was being pushed, with an election just weeks away.

Atukorale also defended President Maithripala Sirisena who, as President, has the sole power to convene the Cabinet of Ministers.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa is also for Abolition of Executive Presidency and will Announce it after he is Nominated as the Presidential Candidate Says Thalatha Atukorale.’ »

In Heated Cabinet Meeting Group of UNP Ministers Led by Mangala Samaraweera Along With Minority Party Ministers Rauff Hakeem, Mano Ganesan and Palani Digambaram Oppose Move to Abolish Executive Presidency Before Presidential Election is Held.

By Chandani Kirinde

A Cabinet meeting was hurriedly summoned last afternoon to obtain approval to rush the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, which seeks to abolish the Executive Presidency, through Parliament, but was stopped on its tracks after a group within the United National Party (UNP), as well as three minor parties, opposed the move.

There were heated arguments at the meeting, with Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera strongly objecting to the move, saying the proposal must be withheld until the Presidential Election is concluded, while Ministers Rajitha Senaratne and Ravi Karunanayake spoke in support of pushing the 20th Amendment through Parliament before the poll.

The opposition from minor parties came from Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakeem, Democratic People’s Front leader Mano Ganesh, and Tamil Progressive Alliance leader Palany Thigambaram.

However, it was not clear who had initiated the proposal, with sources at the Prime Minister’s office saying that it was President Maithripala Sirisena who wanted the matter discussed, while others hinting Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was behind the move.

Continue reading ‘In Heated Cabinet Meeting Group of UNP Ministers Led by Mangala Samaraweera Along With Minority Party Ministers Rauff Hakeem, Mano Ganesan and Palani Digambaram Oppose Move to Abolish Executive Presidency Before Presidential Election is Held.’ »

Joint Attempt by President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to Abolish the Executive Presidency Thwarted as Ministers Decide After Heated Arguments not to Discuss Issue Due to Presidential Elections Being Announced

by

Kelum Bandara

A last ditch attempt to abolish the executive presidency by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was thwarted in the Cabinet today.

Minister Mano Ganeshan said the government has decided at the special cabinet meeting on the abolishment of the Executive Presidency not to discuss the matter at the moment.

“Special cabinet meeting on abolishing executive presidency unanimously decided after heated arguments not to discuss this matter now when the Election Commission has gazetted presidential elections. A vast majority of government ministers declared that ‘we will go for presidential elections and win’,” the minister tweeted.

Continue reading ‘Joint Attempt by President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to Abolish the Executive Presidency Thwarted as Ministers Decide After Heated Arguments not to Discuss Issue Due to Presidential Elections Being Announced’ »

“Pro-UNP Group of the SLFP Will Back Sajith Premadasa if he is Nominated as the UNP Candidate or Slant Towards the JVP in a Presidential Election “Says Dilan Perera MP.

By

Sandun A Jayasekera

The UNP group of the SLFP would either back UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa if he gets the ticket to contest the Presidential poll or slant towards the JVP as the once great political party has become politically destitute today, SLFP rebel Parliamentarian Dilan Perera said today.

He added that the SLFP has no option now but to hang on to another party as it put unrealistic conditions to the SLPP to prevent the formation of the proposed political alliance.

“The SLFP has no problem in supporting Sajith at the polls. Their grudge is with Ranil,” he added.

Continue reading ‘“Pro-UNP Group of the SLFP Will Back Sajith Premadasa if he is Nominated as the UNP Candidate or Slant Towards the JVP in a Presidential Election “Says Dilan Perera MP.’ »

Sajith Premadasa Says he will Obey any Decision Taken by the UNP Working Committee and Parliamentary Group on the Presidential Candidacy Issue.

United National Party (UNP) Deputy Leader and Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa yesterday doubled down on being his party’s presidential candidate, calling for the Working Committee and the Parliamentary Group to meet promptly to take a decision.

Speaking at an early morning press conference at Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s official residence, Premadasa addressed the media, flanked by UNP ministers Mangala Samaraweera, Malik Samarawickrama, Kabir Hashim, and Rajith Madduma Bandara, and recapped the request he had made to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday, regarding his desire to be the UNP’s presidential candidate and the need for a democratic decision to be made soon.

“I expressed my own intentions to come forward, and if there are contra opinions and various other interested persons who are keen on becoming the candidate, to follow the democratic procedures within the party, to go ahead and make the selection. I requested that there is an immediate meeting of both the Parliamentary Group and the Working Committee,” he said. He was of the opinion the meeting should be called as soon as possible.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa Says he will Obey any Decision Taken by the UNP Working Committee and Parliamentary Group on the Presidential Candidacy Issue.’ »

Presidential Election to be held on November 16th 2019. Nominations Accepted from 9 am to 11 am on October 7th 2019. Deposits Payable From September 19th 2019 to October 6th 2019

The National Elections Commission has decided to hold the Presidential election on November 16.

The Gazette notification declaring the date of the Presidential Election was issued today.

Deposits for the Presidential election will be accepted from tomorrow (19) till 12 noon on the 6th of October.

Nominations for the election will be called from 9am to 11 am on the 7th of October.

Courtesy:Colombo Gazette

Ex- President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sets the Record Straight Regarding the Accusation by President Sirisena About a Chinese Company Disappearing with Two Billion Rupees in the Lotus Tower Project;Describes Maithripala’s Utterances as “Unfounded Allegation” and “Complete Falsehood”.


(Text of MEDIA RELEASE issued on September 18th 2019 by former president and Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa under the heading Allegation regarding the disappearance of Rs. two billion in the construction of the Colombo Lotus Tower)

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Colombo Lotus Tower, the President made a statement to the effect that back in 2012, one of the Chinese contractors involved in the project – a company named ALIT – had taken the advance payment of Rs two billion (Around 15 million USD at that time) made by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRC) and disappeared.

The President also stated that the government had sent the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Beijing to the address given by ALIT and discovered that there was no such company at that address.

This allegation was flashed around the world by international news agencies including Reuters and it became a major news story in many Asian countries.

At the time that this payment was made in 2012, the TRC which was in charge of this project was directly under me as the President. Therefore I wish to make a clarification regarding this matter.

In 2012, the total cost of the Lotus Tower project was estimated at 104.3 million US Dollars. The Exim Bank of China agreed to provide a loan facility of 88.6 million USD or up to 85% of the total project cost. The remaining 15% of the cost had to be borne by the TRC. The contractors for projects financed by the Exim Bank of China are nominated by the Chinese government. Accordingly, the China National Electronics Corporation and ALIT were nominated by the Chinese government.

Continue reading ‘Ex- President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sets the Record Straight Regarding the Accusation by President Sirisena About a Chinese Company Disappearing with Two Billion Rupees in the Lotus Tower Project;Describes Maithripala’s Utterances as “Unfounded Allegation” and “Complete Falsehood”.’ »

Poor Attendance in Jaffna for “Ezhuha Thamizh”(Rise Tamil) Event Organized by Ex-Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran’s Tamil People Council; Over 8000 Food Parcels Ordered by Organizers Thrown Away Due to Lack of Takers

By N. Lohathayalan

Eluha Thamil demonstrations were called by the Tamil People’s Council of which former Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran is the Co-Chairman and essential catalyst.

The parades and demonstrations were held over several issues: Sinhalese colonisation of Tamil homelands, the prosecution of war criminals, the release of Tamil political prisoners, an international inquiry into the disappeared, the militarisation of Tamil areas and the resettlement of those displaced during the war.

Wigneswaran badly needed a political blood transfusion – an infusion of new life. There were few takers for his party. It was just a week ago that his contempt of court case for defying the court order to reappoint NPC ministers whom he had discontinued unlawfully was to be taken up. Lady luck smiled on him as the case was put off. If he had been convicted, he would have lost his political rights and that would have put to rest his plans for his political party. He has been given time before the final reckoning, 18, 20 and 21 November, when the matter will be heard and finished; that is all.

Continue reading ‘Poor Attendance in Jaffna for “Ezhuha Thamizh”(Rise Tamil) Event Organized by Ex-Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran’s Tamil People Council; Over 8000 Food Parcels Ordered by Organizers Thrown Away Due to Lack of Takers’ »

Ven.Dambara Amila Thero and Prof.Chandraguptha Thenuwara File Fundamental Rights Petition in Supreme Court Seeking Cancellation of Gazette Notification Bringing “Rupavahini” Under Purview of Defence Ministry.

By Manopriya Gunasekara

A Fundamental Rights Petition requesting the cancellation of the Extraordinary Gazette notification which brought the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) under the Defence Ministry has been filed in the Supreme Court.

Ven. Dambara Amila Thero and Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara filed the FR Petition yesterday. According to the Petitioners, the President, under the 19th Amendment, is only allowed to assign two Ministries to himself.

Continue reading ‘Ven.Dambara Amila Thero and Prof.Chandraguptha Thenuwara File Fundamental Rights Petition in Supreme Court Seeking Cancellation of Gazette Notification Bringing “Rupavahini” Under Purview of Defence Ministry.’ »

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Expresses Willingness to Contest Presidential Election as UNF Candidate;Pledges to Make Abolition of Executive Presidency his Main Campaign Issue.


Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday indicated his willingness to be the United National Front (UNF) candidate for the upcoming Presidential Election, saying he would run only on the assurance that the Executive Presidency would be abolished within a fixed time frame.

“I can consider running for the office of President based on our Party’s pledge since 1995 to abolish the Executive Presidency. My intention is to abolish the Executive Presidency within a limited period of time. I am not coming forward in in expectation of serving in the post of President, “Jayasuriya said in a statement released yesterday.

It’s the first official intimation from Jayasuriya that he would take up the candidacy of the UNF, and came hours after the UNP‘s Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa reiterated that he wants to be the UNF candidate.

Continue reading ‘Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Expresses Willingness to Contest Presidential Election as UNF Candidate;Pledges to Make Abolition of Executive Presidency his Main Campaign Issue.’ »

Has Sajith Premadasa Agreed to Sri Lanka Signing the US Millennium Challenge Corporation Agreement and if so Why is he Keeping Mum About It?

By
Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

As party infighting continues to dominate the political landscape, voters are still left guessing as to the nature of programmes the main contenders in the forthcoming presidential election hope to introduce if they win. This is with only a couple of months to go before the poll. The uncertainty comes against a backdrop where competing big powers are showing increased interest in Sri Lanka for their own reasons of strategy.

It is known that external powers meddled in ways that affected the outcome of the 2015 presidential poll. With big power competition intensifying, the prospect of external influence being at play during this election arises again.

The candidate of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in his wide-ranging policy statement at the 2019 Viyath Maga convention, showed a sophisticated awareness on the importance of the international dimension in the backdrop of the upcoming presidential election. It was the opening subject of his speech published in the media.

Continue reading ‘Has Sajith Premadasa Agreed to Sri Lanka Signing the US Millennium Challenge Corporation Agreement and if so Why is he Keeping Mum About It?’ »

Sajith Premadasa “Wishy-Washy” on Abolition of Executive Presidency Issue Suggesting that the 2015 Mandate May be Outdated and Saying that no Scientific Survey has been done About Maintaining or Abolishing it.

Formally declaring his presidential ambitions to his leader, United National Party (UNP) deputy leader Sajith Premadasa last night wrote to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe requesting a “consensus-building” meeting of the party’s Working Committee and Parliamentary Group. Members of the two groups are expected to reach agreement on the contentious issue of its presidential nomination at the proposed meeting, failing which a secret ballot may be held to decide the party’s candidate.

In a hurriedly put-together press conference held at the Stanmore Crescent residence of Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera early this morning, Premadasa expressed his desire to see a democratic resolution to the ongoing deadlock in the UNP over its nomination for the upcoming presidential election.

“The UNP is a united party that represents all communities – a party in which decisions are made democratically. We don’t select our candidates huddled up in a room, at the whims of a single family. It’s the difference between democracy and autocracy. Our objective is to give prominence to the people’s representatives when arriving at these decisions,” said Premadasa.

“My view is that we must immediately convene both the Working Committee and the Parliamentary Group for discussions and arrive at a decision very soon,” he added.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa “Wishy-Washy” on Abolition of Executive Presidency Issue Suggesting that the 2015 Mandate May be Outdated and Saying that no Scientific Survey has been done About Maintaining or Abolishing it.’ »

President Sirisena Alleges that a Two Billion Rupee Advance for the Lotus Tower Project was Paid in 2012 by Sri Lanka Telecom Regulatory Commission to a Non -existent Fake Chinese Company Aerospace Long March International Trade Co. Ltd, (ALIT)

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena had bared a scam running into billions of rupees in building a massive tower by Chinese firms, draining funds from Sri Lanka’s cash rich telecom regulator.

One apparently non-existent Chinese company had vanished with two billion rupees in the process.

The contract to build the tower had been awarded in 2012 to China National Electronics Importers and Exporters Corporation (CEIEC) and Aerospace Long March International Trade Co. Ltd, (ALIT) by the Cabinet of ministers.

The Export Import Bank of China had agreed to finance the 104.3 million US dollar project (about 19 billion rupees) through a loan to be repaid in 14 years, according to the telecom regulator.

President Sirisena said a two billion rupee advance had been paid to the company called ALIT, which apparently did not exist.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Alleges that a Two Billion Rupee Advance for the Lotus Tower Project was Paid in 2012 by Sri Lanka Telecom Regulatory Commission to a Non -existent Fake Chinese Company Aerospace Long March International Trade Co. Ltd, (ALIT)’ »

President Sirisena Insinuates That the Mahinda Rajapaksa Govt in Which he was a Minister Allegedly Siphoned off Two Billion Rupees from the Lotus Tower Construction Project by Making an Advanced Payment in 2012 to an Untraceable Non -Existent Chinese Company

Addressing the opening of the Lotus Tower in Colombo, President Maithripala Sirisena revealed that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government siphoned off Rs. 2 billion in the guise of an ‘advance payment’ for the project.

“We came to know that Rs. 2 billion had been paid in 2012 to a Chinese company as an advanced payment. The said Chinese company is also a signatory to the tripartite agreement relating to the construction of the project. When we inquired, there was no Chinese company under that name. I directed the then Sri Lankan Ambassador in China, Dr. Karunasena Kodithuwakku, to visit the address of the company, and he informed us that there was no company at the address mentioned in the agreement,” Sirisena said.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Insinuates That the Mahinda Rajapaksa Govt in Which he was a Minister Allegedly Siphoned off Two Billion Rupees from the Lotus Tower Construction Project by Making an Advanced Payment in 2012 to an Untraceable Non -Existent Chinese Company’ »

Karu Jayasuriya Willing to be Presidential Candidate on an Abolition of Executive Presidency Platform if such Nomination was Supported by All Progressive Forces Including Various Factions of the UNP

By

Nirmala Kannangara

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in a candid interview with the Daily Mirror said the country could have saved billions of rupees had the respective Presidents elected since 1994 to date got the presidential system abolished as promised on election platforms.He also criticizes the current presidential system, ‘designed to serve the interests of one man or woman’ as going against the fundamentals of democracy.

The Speaker pledges to ensure that the presidency is abolished in his lifetime. “My position is that the next President should be the last President,” he says, calling for a candidate who will ensure its abolition.

The Speaker set out several policy proposals ranging from devolution of powers, measures to strengthen the independent commissions and prevent crossovers in parliament, as well as a vision for enhancing the abilities of the Various Factions of the UNPthe intelligence services and preventing their abuse in the future. He said the intelligence services need ‘enabling legislation, facilities and credibility with their peers on the world stage’ and not a licence to kill journalists and MPs. Those who abused and denigrated them in the past, he said, must be held accountable.

On his prospects for becoming a ‘common candidate’ for the presidency, Jayasuriya said he would be willing to accept the candidacy on an abolition platform if such a nomination was supported by ‘all progressive forces’ including the various factions of the UNP.

However, the Speaker stressed the importance of uniting all progressive forces behind a single candidate who is democratically elected. He warns direly that if progressive forces split across multiple candidates, “we will end up being the enablers, or the people who opened the door to fascism in Sri Lanka”

Excerpts-

Q

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) have both announced their presidential candidates, but your own United National Party (UNP) has not. Who do you believe would be the best candidate for the UNP to put forward?

A

First, we should be asking why we are having another presidential election. Since 1994, every presidential candidate has come in on a promise of abolishing the presidential system. In 2010, the Rajapaksa government amended the Constitution to remove the two-term limit. In 2015 we promised the people that President Sirisena would be the last executive president of Sri Lanka.

The power of the presidency has been diluted, but it is still there. The presidency consumes the officeholder over time. The people have seen it. This is why at every election the country votes to abolish the presidency. It is also why Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero’s movement to abolish appealed to me from the beginning. As long as the presidential system is in place, there is no changing the political culture of this country. A system designed to serve the interest of one man or woman goes against the fundamentals of democracy.

The only President who has ever fought to weaken his powers is Maithripala Sirisena. He did it as soon as he took office. We do not have to agree on everything that has happened since, but if President Sirisena had not rallied the SLFP behind the 19th Amendment in 2015, Sri Lanka would still be facing a Constitutional crisis.

As Speaker, it is improper for me to involve myself in deciding on candidates. My position is that the next president should be the last. I have to see that the presidency is abolished in my lifetime. I owe that to my grandchildren and every grandchild in this country. The only way to make sure it happens is to find a candidate who will ensure it is abolished. That should be the primary objective.

Continue reading ‘Karu Jayasuriya Willing to be Presidential Candidate on an Abolition of Executive Presidency Platform if such Nomination was Supported by All Progressive Forces Including Various Factions of the UNP’ »

Sajith Premadasa, who has led a Self-harm Campaign for the Presidential Candidacy May not be the Best Choice for the UNP if it is to take on Gotabaya Rajapaksa


By
Ranga Jayasuriya

The UNP’s all lose–no winners cold war over the Presidential candidacy seems to be heading to a saner end.

Party heavyweights, including the leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, and constituent parties of the UNF are gradually leaning towards Karu Jayasuriya, the Speaker of the House as the national candidate, who will pledge to abolish the Executive Presidency within a set time.

Mr Jayasuriya is a decent political choice, who can command the support of the Buddhist clergy and a sizeable number of Southern voters, who might place an added premium on the Sinhala Buddhist identity in the aftermath of public uproar over the Easter Sunday attacks.

An overly Anglicized choice would dissuade a good part of this audience. Also, an unimaginative imitator would not impress them. Whereas a moderate, cosmopolitan Sri Lankan nationalist would offer promise and a way out from the Hobson’s choice, which the Sri Lankan voters would be confronted with if the things proceed as they threaten to do.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa, who has led a Self-harm Campaign for the Presidential Candidacy May not be the Best Choice for the UNP if it is to take on Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

Sajith Premadasa Writes to Ranil Wickremesinghe Formally Requesting UNP Leader to Announce the Party ;s Presidential Candidate Without Further Delay.


United National Party (UNP) Deputy Leader, Housing and Cultural Affairs Minister Sajith Premadasa says he has formally requested UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in writing to announce the party’s Presidential candidate, without further delay.

Speaking at a ceremony to vest with the public two Uda Gammana villages in Tissamaharama, yesterday, the Minister said he strongly believed the delay in naming the UNP presidential candidate was detrimental to the interests of the party, the ministry media unit said in a media release.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa Writes to Ranil Wickremesinghe Formally Requesting UNP Leader to Announce the Party ;s Presidential Candidate Without Further Delay.’ »