By Saman Indrajith
Ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, yesterday, told Parliament that he would strive to find a political solution to the ethnic problem within an undivided country.
Addressing Parliament soon after a motion of confidence in him was passed Wickremesinghe said:
“The words of former US President Abraham Lincoln that “government of the people, by the people, for the people” come to mind. The government should be formed by the people and not by the President. There cannot be a government of the President but a government of the people.
“The Constitution is the supreme law. Sri Lanka is a country which upholds the rule of law. Therefore, we have to abide by the Constitution irrespective of our political differences. Even the MPs from the Flower Bud party have stated that they would not approve unconstitutional politics.
“The Speaker has contributed immensely to protecting parliamentary democracy. This House passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution to prune down the Presidential powers and to set up the independent commissions. We all acted to maintain the independence of those commissions. As per the work we did now people could now enjoy their democratic rights. People had been afraid to enjoy their democratic rights earlier.
“Progress we achieved may have been slow. But it was steady. We progressed while paying back loans. Our work was also affected by the floods and drought. We faced natural disasters and some people had to be provided with relief. We continued to allocate funds for welfare measures such as education, free healthcare and housing.
“I thank the MPs who came forward to join hands with us in spite of the problems, pressure and intimidation.
“I tell MP Mavai Senthiraja that we are committed to striving to find a political solution which comes within the framework of an undivided country. We would strengthen the provincial council system. We will also work for the abolition of the executive presidency. Our position on negotiating a political solution has not changed.”