Following is the full text of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s address to the nation on Oct 29th 2018).
Venerable Maha Sanga, venerable priests of all other religions and friends.
On 8 January 2015, 62 lakhs of people of this country got together as a common front to re-establish democracy in the country and to re-establish peace and reconciliation. We rallied together against corruption, fraud and thuggery, and at the same time, to economically develop this country.
On 8 January 2015, all the political parties and the forces, including Maduluwawe Sobithamaha Thero and other priests, civil society as well as former President Chandrika Kumaratunga got together and made Maithripala Sirisena the President of this country. Thereafter, I was appointed as the Prime Minister and we continued as the Government. In August 2015,after the General Elections, I became the Prime Minister as the Member of Parliament who commands the confidence of the majority of the Parliament.
Our Government functioned as a national Government. We took various measures to re-establish Democratic Freedom in this country. We appointed Independent commissions. Through the enactment of the Right to Information Act and National Audit Act, we created the democratic freedoms which we never enjoyed in this country. We protected human rights of all. We established the freedom of media. We provided various reliefs to the people. We increased the salaries. We have implemented mega development projects to economically develop the country.
Friends, last afternoon, President Maithripala Sirisena addressed the nation and levelled few allegations against me and the Cabinet. I refuse all those allegations. We all know that the powers of the President of this country were curtailed under the 19th Amendment of the Constitution. According to article 42(4) of the Constitution, the Member of Parliament who commands the confidence of the House should be appointed as the Prime Minister. In his address to the nation, President Sirisena said that in view of the political crisis, economic crisis and assassination plot against him, the only option left to him was nominating former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister.
According to article 42(4) of the Constitution, the Member of Parliament who commands the confidence of the house should be appointed as the Prime Minister. Accordingly, I wish to express my regret to President Maithripala Sirisena, declaring that he nominated the Prime Minister who has no command of the majority of the House. He is talking of assassination plots to cover up his misdeed. He tells stories even a kid would not believe.
In the history of Sri Lanka, we never heard of a crisis situation like this in our country. What happened last Friday was an illegal, anti-constitutional and opportunistic act. The ill effects of this act were visible immediately. The which incidents took place at ITN, Rupavahini and Lake House on Friday night indicated what is going to happen to freedom of the media in this country.
The solution for this unfortunate situation prevailing in this country lies with the Parliament. The Speaker, by letter, has informed the President that the prorogation of Parliament is against the traditions. Today, all political parties and civil society are requesting to summon the Parliament immediately. The international community has informed to act within the available legal framework and the Constitution. Therefore, I would like to earnestly request the Speaker to summon the Parliament immediately.
The instability prevailing in this country is not good. We witnessed today the problems people have to face due to this situation. The era of queues has commenced. The Government machinery has come to a halt. The economy we controlled with great difficulty has crashed. This unfortunate situation is adversely affecting the future of this country and future of our children.
I would like to clearly state that United National Party, all the other parties belonging to the United National Front, and all other political parties represented in the Parliament are standing firm to re-establish the democracy in this country. We will never allow anti-constitutional dictatorship to rule this country.
Not only people of this small island, but the rest of the world is with us at this moment. Finally, I would like to request from all of you to forget political differences and rally around us to re-establish the democracy in this country in order to ensure a better future for our younger generations. We request the Speaker to summon the Parliament immediately. We can save our country from this unfortunate and difficult situation only through re-establishing democracy within the Parliamentary system.