UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya yesterday after a great deal of thought skipped the Hyde Park rally but vowed to fight emerging dictatorial trends in the country.
Jayasuriya had been under party pressure to abstain from the Hyde Park rally and in a statement issued yesterday to explain the decision, the MP also expressed hope UNP will cease and desist from penalising and exacting revenge from those members who answer the call of conscience.
“To do so would only serve the interests of the ruling administration that thrives on a weakened and fractured opposition,” Jayasuriya added.
Here is the full text of his statement.
As a rule, before I make major political decisions, it has been my practice to consult with stakeholders across the spectrum of opinion, my political colleagues, faithful supporters and most importantly, the Buddhist clergy and other religious leaders of this country in the knowledge that their counsel will never lead me on the incorrect path. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the outpouring of love and support I received in the last few days as I grappled with my conscience in making this decision.
When the United Bhikku Front invited me to attend the rally calling for the abolishing of the Executive Presidency, I had little hesitation in agreeing to support the cause. It has always been my opinion that the Executive Presidential System is the bane of this country and since the enactment of the 18 Amendment to the Constitution, the danger it poses to democracy and the principle of the separation of powers grows ever stronger. The United Bhikku Front deserves our unreserved respect and honour for attempting to gather the forces of opposition to this system on to one platform to campaign for change.
But I remain, first and foremost a member of the United National Party. I have been a UNP Chairman, a UNP Mayor and the party’s Deputy Leader. I hold public office today, as a Parliamentarian as a member of the UNP and as such, I consider it my bounden duty to keep faith with the people who voted me into office. I may disagree with the decisions made by the party and while I might express that difference of opinion, I will ultimately bow to the majority will of the party, as exercised through the UNP Working Committee.
Most importantly, I cannot in good conscience take a step that will almost certainly further divide and weaken my party. Therefore after a great deal of thought I have decided not to attend the rally at Hyde Park today. I hope my party will cease and desist from penalising and exacting revenge from those members who answer the call of conscience. To do so would only serve the interests of the ruling administration that thrives on a weakened and fractured opposition.
The campaign to abolish the Executive Presidency is not the struggle of a single day. I believe that as the agitation continues, more and more right-thinking leaders and citizens will join the cause. I will continue to do everything within my power to battle the emerging dictatorial trends in this country and remain convinced that the Executive Presidential system is the harbinger of autocracy and a destroyer of democracy.