President Maithripala Sirisena, yesterday, told newly appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and other UNP MPs at a meeting at the Presidential Secretariat, that he was still of the view that Wickremesinghe should not have been appointed Prime Minister.
A media statement issued by the President Secretariat, yesterday quoted President Sirisena as having said: “When I said that I would not appoint Wickremesinghe PM even if all 225 MPs supported him that was my personal opinion. That hasn’t changed. But as someone who respects parliamentary traditions and democracy I have decided to appoint him Prime Minister. Neither Parliament nor courts, to my knowledge, can tell me who should be appointed PM.”
The President said that his decisions to appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa Prime Minster, prorogue Parliament and dissolve it had been taken after obtaining expert legal opinion,”I did so in good faith.”
The President said: “I took those decisions in the national interest and not with the intention of violating the Constitution. I believe that the best way to end the crisis is to go for an election. The 15.5 million Sri Lankan voters are more important than all the MPs in Parliament. Placing the matter before people is the best way to respect their sovereignty and I wanted to let the people decide.
“Establishing independent commissions was a positive of the 19th Amendment, but it also created a political deadlock.”
“The government kept on delaying amending the anti-bribery laws that would have allowed us to punish the culprits responsible for the Treasury bond scams. The non-allocation of subjects to ministers on a scientific basis, the non-implementation of the recommendations of the presidential commission on the bond scam, antagonising Buddhist monks and the imprisonment of the war heroes created a backlash. I was extremely disappointed and they contributed to my decision.
“Therefore, history will judge my decisions favourably even if an impeachment motion is brought against me. “Even if I am imprisoned, history will judge me favourably for making the right decision. I would like to work with this government without conflicts.”
Sirisena added that only a political movement that loved the nation and respected its cultural norms could establish good governance”.
Meanwhile, according to a televised version of his speech, the President expressed his displeasure at the fact that the names of most senior judges submitted to the Constitutional Council for promotions had not been recommended. He lashed out at the UNP for ignoring the plot to assassinate him. He said the CID had failed to turn up in Courts and when he made inquiries he had been told by the CID that it was sorry about the lapse.
President said yahapalanaya had failed and the first bond scam had been committed within weeks of the formation of the yahapalana government in 2015. He said experts opined that the loss the country had suffered due to the scam was incalculable.
The President asked why only the military personnel who had battled the LTTE should be brought to justice over allegations against them while no action was taken against the LTTE cadres, some of whose cadres were living abroad. “If LTTE suspects have to be released, then the military personnel in custody must also be treated similarly.”