Brushing up his credentials as a leader that supports democratic principles, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said the country needs a leader who will promote democracy and not a “Terminator” who will destroy the gains made by democratic institutions in the past four years.
Referring to comments made by Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa on Thursday, Wickremesinghe noted he has championed democratic rights since 2015 and worked to provide equitable freedoms to all people.
He called on all stakeholders to act sensibly and protect the country’s future from a terminator that will destroy the democratic gains that have been achieved by this Government.
Addressing local Government members of Colombo, Galle and Kurunegala, at Temple Trees on Friday, the Prime Minister said: “SLPP National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa has said their presidential candidate will be a Terminator.
If a Terminator comes to power he will destroy all development we started. That person will destroy the economy, education, democracy, media freedom and independence of the judiciary.”
He noted the country needs a leadership that preserves the values and rights of a democracy so all citizens can live a peaceful life. He said the citizens should decide wisely before electing their next leader.
“The Government had started numerous development projects during the past few years to boost the economy and improve the livelihoods of the people. Our goal is to lead the country to more development. The country’s acceptance by the international community has improved during the last few years, therefore I request all to come forward to protect the country’s future. The people must make the right decision because the future of the country will be decided on it,” Wickremesinghe added.
Wickremesinghe said democratic qualities were important in a leader as it allowed space for criticism, which is essential for a democracy to thrive. Pointing out the sometimes severe barrage of criticism he has faced in the last four years, the Prime Minister questioned whether the media would have been allowed to dish out such criticism if a Terminator was in power.
“I have been heavily criticised by media in the past but they have faced no repercussions because of it. But will they be able to do the same if a Terminator comes to power? What will happen to the future of the country and freedom of speech if that were to happen? Who will protect our democracy?” Wickremesinghe questioned.