Forces Supportive of Mahinda Rajapaksa work Against Reconciliation due to Thirst for Power

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

I write this on the 32nd anniversary of the beginning of Black July, the anti-Tamil pogrom, that saw the country move towards an exacerbation of separatist terror and a most violent internal armed conflict that lasted nearly three decades. Having been and seen through that period of national shame and tragedy, it can best be remembered with the determined hope that it shall never be repeated in any manner in this country, ever again.

Just now we are in the midst of a general election campaign, which provides a very good opportunity for the people to ensure that forces in any way able to encourage the rise of forces such as those that caused Black July, will never again be in any position to direct our people to such violence and brutality in our own society.

In the past six months, since the Silent Revolution of January 8, we have seen clear signs of the reduction of the fear psychosis among our people, and a greater desire to be understanding and accommodating among communities that may speak different languages or have different faiths.

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“Mellisai Mannargal” M.S. Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamurthy, the ‘Monarchs of Light Music’ in Tamil cinema

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Watching Tamil movies on screen and listening to Tamil film songs over radio was an integral part of life for me as a child growing up in Colombo. The Tamil ‘Varthaga Oliparappu’ or Commercial service of ‘Radio Ceylon’ was a treasure trove of film songs.

Apart from broadcasting the latest Tamil film songs even before the films concerned were screened in India, the commercial service also aired specific programs about films being currently shown in theatres in the island. Popular radio announcer Mailvaganam conducted these programs where film songs were featured regularly. Thus one was able to keep abreast of contemporary Tamil film music courtesy ‘Radio Ceylon’ in those wonderful days of yore.

My sister and I would also sing along with some songs being played out on radio. We were greatly aided in this by what was known as ‘Cinema Paatu Puthagam’ or cinema songbook. These were actually tiny booklets printed on cheap paper with the words of songs in a particular Tamil film. The average Tamil film in those days had about six to nine songs.

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Two publishers in Colombo M.K. Ponniahpillai and M.S. Lingam (M. Sockalingam) printed these songbooks. They were priced from 10 to 25 cents then. I also memorised many film songs from those books – something which stands me in good stead even nowadays while taking a shower at leisure.

All these happy memories of listening to Tamil film songs were kindled in me again as news about the death of a legendary composer of Tamil film music reached me. Music maestro M.S. Viswanathan known widely as “MSV” had passed away at a Chennai hospital in the early hours of the morning on 14 July. He was 87.
Continue reading ‘“Mellisai Mannargal” M.S. Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamurthy, the ‘Monarchs of Light Music’ in Tamil cinema’ »

United National Front for Good Governance(UNFGG)Releases 60 Month Plan to Change Sri Lanka for the Better in Five Key Areas

The rainbow coalition of 8 January came together yesterday in its new avatar as the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) to unveil its 60-month plan to change the socioeconomic and political landscape.

The UNFGG, which comprises dissident sections of the UPFA, the Jathika Hela Urumaya, the Tamil Progressive Alliance, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the All Ceylon Muslim Congress and several other political parties and civil society movements, pledged to usher in change within five years, with focus on five key areas.

Entitled ‘A new country in 60 months’, the UNFGG manifesto pledges that if it is elected to office on 17 August, the coalition will focus on strengthening the economy, implementing strong anti-corruption mechanisms and ensuring freedom and justice, infrastructure development and education reform.

“This is not an election manifesto. This is a development plan. It is to implement this plan that we are seeking a mandate from the people,” UNP Leader and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe told the gathering at the Vihara Maha Devi open air auditorium yesterday.

Wickremesinghe said the coalition would seek to govern consultatively, including by using input from civil society through a special civil society council.

The UNFGG economic policy will favour both competitive markets and social justice, the Prime Minister explained.

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“I pushed away a Strong SLFP Supporter who Clasped my Finger to Protect it”Explains Mahinda Rajapaksa

Commenting on the Akuressa incident where former President Mahinda Rajapaksa seemed to be moving towards a supporter angrily, the ex-president said that he just pushed away an individual, a supporter of SLFP, who grasped his finger very hard.

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Administrative Failures and Delay by Army Led to Controversy Over Mirihana Incident of a White Van with 3 Soldiers and a gun.

The “white van” which was taken into custody in Mirihana by Police on Tuesday had an altered number due to an administrative failure on the part of the Army, highly placed defence sources told the Daily News yesterday.

The van, in which three Army personnel attached to Major General Prasanna de Silva were travelling, had been a vehicle recovered from Vellimullivaikkal during the final phase of war.

“It was not unusual as vehicles recovered during the final phase of war are now being used by the Army for various purposes,” a top Army official said yesterday.

The van taken into custody on Tuesday, he said, had the same “altered number” it had when it was used by the LTTE. “Not re-registering the Van after its recovery was an administrative failure on the part of the Army,” he added.

By the time the van was taken into custody on Tuesday, Major General Silva was on his way to Kandy.

Three members of his security detail were travelling in the van, with his official weapon, to join the Major General in Kandy. However, the Van was stopped at Mirihana by Police and the Army personnel were arrested on the grounds that they had a weapon in their possession.

Continue reading ‘Administrative Failures and Delay by Army Led to Controversy Over Mirihana Incident of a White Van with 3 Soldiers and a gun.’ »

UNP Attacks Mahinda Rajapaksa Over Alleged “Attack”Incident at Akuressa Meeting while Video Clip of MR Goes Viral on Internet


By

Chaminda Perera

Commenting on the video clip being circulated in the social media in which former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is shown trying to attack a supporter at a rally held in Akuressa, Public Order and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said that people do not expect such a conduct from a former Executive President of the country.

Amaratunga said that the former President is in a mental strain after having lost his kingdom.

“There were reports that the UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha was attacked by him,.” he said.
Amaratunga said that the former President is in distress after having lost power as an Executive President in the country.

Justice Deputy Minister and UNP Colombo District candidate Sujeewa Senasinghe said Mahinda Rajapaksa had once again exhibited his heritage of detesting opposing views openly by assaulting an ordinary citizen at a public rally held in Akuressa.

Continue reading ‘UNP Attacks Mahinda Rajapaksa Over Alleged “Attack”Incident at Akuressa Meeting while Video Clip of MR Goes Viral on Internet’ »

Will Incident of Mahinda Rajapaksa “Losing his Temper” at Akuressa Rally Affect his Chances?

By

Dharisha Bastians

The boy-like astrologer rose to fame country-wide after he accurately predicted former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s electoral defeat in January. Astrologers being a threatened species during the Rajapaksa years, every other soothsayer on a show aired on a private television channel before the January presidential poll predicted a narrow win for Rajapaksa. Thotawatte disagreed.

The victory of Maithripala Sirisena on 8 January, the blind fortune-teller said, was a foregone conclusion.

In an interview with a State-owned newspaper last weekend, Thotawatte revealed that Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the country’s former Defence Secretary and arguably the most powerful official in the previous administration, had got in touch after the show.

“He asked if I could help them to win the presidential election. They didn’t want me to help them with publicity for the campaign. They asked if I knew any occult practices that would alter the course of events. But that was a certain defeat. Even the forces of nature had blessed Maithripala Sirisena’s victory,” Thotawatte told the Sinhalese weekly.

His latest prediction is that the defeated President could win a seat to enter Parliament in the 17 August poll, but his chances of winning the premiership remain slim. In fact, Thotawatte claims 17 August is a horrendously bad day, astrologically speaking, for Mahinda Rajapaksa. This is a strange twist, since eight is believed to be the former President’s lucky number. When the poll date was announced in June, it was pounced upon as being favourable to the ex-President who was battling hard to win a nomination on the UPFA ticket at the time.

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Personal Popularity of Mahinda Rajapaksa has Become the Sole “Selling Point” of UPFA Campaign in Polls

By

Rasika Jayakody

“You sit at the board and suddenly your heart leaps. Your hand trembles to pick up the piece and move it. But what chess teaches you is that you must sit there calmly and think about whether it’s really a good idea and whether there are other, better ideas.”…………Stanley Kubrick

The UPFA’s inaugural rally in Anuradhapura made one thing very obvious. That is, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his close allies and campaign managers are yet to recover from the aftershock of Rajapaksa’s defeat at the Presidential election in January.

The rally held in Anuradhapura in the presence of a large crowd was a mere extension of Rajapaksa’s extravagant election campaign in January. Thousands of supporters were transported in buses from every part of the country and they were incentivized by food and funding through respective electorate organizers. More than 100 ex-Parliamentarians of the UPFA, including the Opposition Leader and the General Secretaries of the UPFA and the SLFP, attended the rally to show their support to Rajapaksa.

Two large cutouts of the former President- which were heavily used during the Presidential election campaign – had been placed alongside the stage to demonstrate “larger than life” personality of Rajapaksa. The organizers of the rally had little or no knowledge of the fact that Rajapaksa’s “in-your-face” propaganda campaign was disadvantageous to him in January as it earned the ire of educated, urban middle class voters. The rally was all about Rajapaksa and UPFA official Chairman President Maithripala Sirisena seemed like a non-entity.

“Appachchi”, the theme song of Rajapaksa’s election campaign in January, was played before his speech, probably to boost the feel-good factor of the former President. Rajapaksa pompously looked around when everyone else on the stage stood on their feet and started clapping when the song was being played at the rally.

The former President, for a moment, regained his ‘royal status’ which he sadly lost with the defeat of Presidential election, six months ago. It appeared as if the UPFA had turned the Parliamentary election into a ‘Prime Ministerial election’ as its entire campaign only focuses on the Prime Ministerial candidate.

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Is Mahinda Rajapaksa Upholding the “Dignity of an Ex-President” that was Established by JR Jayewardena?

By

Upul Joseph Ferando

Late President J.R. Jayewardene was obstructed from paying his last respects to late Lalith Athulathmudali when the latter’s remains lay at his Flower Road, Colombo residence as an organized group of Lalith supporters who had been at Lalith’s residence was planning to jeer JR. However, JR got information to this effect in advance.

Late PresideI told them that I must uphold the dignity of a former President and protect the title called President. I told them to leave me alone”. Stating this JR explained that Lalith supporters may have thought he was protecting Premadasa and that was why they had ganged up to abuse him if he had gone to pay last respects to Lalith.

JR’s assumption was correct. After Lalith and Gamini brought the Impeachment Motion against Premadasa, the meets between JR, Lalith and Gamini appeared to be less. JR took that stand to avoid criticism countrywide that he was conspiring against Premadasa and not that he opposed Lalith and Gamini.

JR never liked a message of a conspiracy being spread in the country involving his name as he was in retirement. When drafting the 1978 Constitution, JR included the provision to provide an office to the former President, official residence, security and other privileges to safeguard the dignity of a former President.

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“Fascistic Mahinda, Please Shut up for Others may not be as Gentlemanly as the Prime minister”


By

Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

According to certain media reporting the People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) candidate for the Kurunegala District and former President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing the inaugural UPFA rally in Anuradhapura yesterday, lambasted United National Party Leader Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for reversing the development trend that was pursued by the previous regime! The former President, who took to the stage claiming as the Prime Ministerial candidate for the UPFA, said that the current good governance government led by the United National Party (UNP), has in just six months reversed the development process in the country that was initiated by the previous regime.

That is obvious. The purpose of the interim government or the hundred day’s revolutionary regime was to reverse the dangerous development path pursued by the fascistic regime of Mahinda. This was in addition to the change of Constitution and steps to curb rampant corruption left behind by the fascistic rulers. At Anuradhapura Mahinda screamed “Look at what Ranil Wickremesinghe and the current government have done to all the development projects initiated during my tenure? They have been brought to a complete standstill. If in a short period of just six months they can undo all the progress we made in four years, imagine the damage they will do if they are given five years to govern the island?” The former President added that 58,000 rural development projects had been stopped by the current government.

Continue reading ‘“Fascistic Mahinda, Please Shut up for Others may not be as Gentlemanly as the Prime minister”’ »

In a Contest Between Ranil and Mahinda for whom will the People of the South Vote for?

By
Gomin Dayasri


Here is an election result…UPFA led by Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) secured the largest number of members of parliament: yet is unable to form a government, as it cannot muster a majority.”

“Here is another election result… Alliance led by Ranil Wickremesinghe (RW) lags behind the UPFA in the populous south of Sri Lanka but with the help of the SLMC vote is nearing the 113 members required. Yet, he cannot overrun the turnstile, as the southern vote is overwhelmingly unfavourable.”

These statements have a touch of George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty Four [1984]’ where events did not flow according to the script, but nevertheless was convincing at the time the book was launched.

It’s a gridlocked situation on the ground. President Sirisena is given a wide discretion to determine as to whom he should call to form the government according to the Constitution – a discretion that cannot be tested except in the precincts of Parliament.

Sirisena has his ear to the ground and is wise to know without winning that the bulk of the Sinhala vote lifespan of any government is stilted.Lonely Sirisena is indeed a man without a wise friend or a faithful dog- as to what he should do next. But he possesses intuitive shrewdness preferable to synthetic smoothness that needs fine tuning as he takes the country to the edge of a cliff.It’s best he leaves his many inconsistencies unexplained as they defy explanation. His action belittles his small frame.

Continue reading ‘In a Contest Between Ranil and Mahinda for whom will the People of the South Vote for?’ »

CID Probes Into Chinese Construction Company Transferring 149 Million Rupees to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 2015 Presidential Election campaign


The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) is investigating a case where the China Harbour Engineering Company has allegedly handed over a staggering Rs. 149 million to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election campaign, last year.

China Harbour Engineering Company was a company involved in a number of key construction projects in Sri Lanka – including the Hambanthota International Harbour- when former President Rajapaksa was in power.

The company is an international contractor that is a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC).

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How Mahinda Arrived Suddenly to Felix Perera’s House to “Discuss” with Susil Premajayantha “Quietly”

By Rasika Jayakody

The United People’s Freedom Alliance, with the launch of its election campaign, had a tumultuous week with the party leader, President Maithripala Sirisena, making a fiery statement over the party’s nomination. Apart from the President’s statement, the party had to deal with a myriad of issues with regard to nominations for the Parliamentary election.

The party was divided into various factions internally and every group tried to increase its ‘quota’ in every district. While loyalists of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga wanted to ensure nominations for their members in several districts, the pro-Rajapaksa group too attempted to gain control of the nomination process.

Interestingly, the UPFA General Secretary, who was supposed to take a middle path, tilted the playing field in favour of the pro-Rajapaksa group at the last moment. This led the UPFA nominations to a serious crisis just before the closing the day of nominations.

Finalisation of UPFA nominations was delayed unexpectedly on Sunday due to the protest by ex-MP Duminda Silva’s supporters in front of the Mahaweli Centre, Colombo, where candidates were signing nomination papers. Silva’s supporters staged a demonstration demanding nominations for their ‘boss’, and those who were at Mahaweli Centre received information that hundreds of Duminda Silva supporters had left Kolonnawa to join the demonstrators in Colombo.

Continue reading ‘How Mahinda Arrived Suddenly to Felix Perera’s House to “Discuss” with Susil Premajayantha “Quietly”’ »

Can Ranil Wickremesinghe or Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2015 do as well as Ranasinghe Premadasa in the Elections of 1989?

by Prasad Gunewardene

The United National Party (UNP) and the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) are now in the fray to contest the 17 August general elections. Both parties boast of obtaining the majority seats in the new Parliament. Either party should get 113 seats in the House to prove they are in majority to hold a strong government. This is a difficult task under the proportionate representation (PR) system for both parties at a time the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has emerged stronger than before in parliamentary politics. Late President J.R. Jayewardene introduced the PR with the 1978 Constitution, but he did not lead an election under that system.

Instead he held a referendum in December 1982 to extend the life of his Parliament for a further term to retain the five sixth majority he secured in 1977. JR knew that had he called a general election, the UNP would not secure a majority in the House under the PR system as his popularity was on the decline after five years in office. Hence, he rushed for an early presidential election in October 1982 dividing the SLFP of Ms. Bandaranaike who had lost her civic rights. He managed to get SLFP Deputy Leader Maithripala Senanayake and Anura Bandaranaike on his election platform to support him. JR was a master in divide and rule politics.

Having retired from the Presidency, JR dissolved Parliament much against the wishes of his deputy Ranasinghe Premadasa who wanted to retain the five sixth majority for some time to get certain Bills passed. Premadasa called on JR at the latter’s residence and requested JR not to dissolve Parliament. JR who said, ‘I will look into your request’ dissolved Parliament the same night for reasons better known to him. President Premadasa looked a dejected man on hearing the news that Parliament had been dissolved. It is no secret that JR did it to prevent Premadasa from having a clear majority in the House.

Continue reading ‘Can Ranil Wickremesinghe or Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2015 do as well as Ranasinghe Premadasa in the Elections of 1989?’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa says UPFA will win 117 Seats at Elections and form Govt Alone Without the UNP


By Chamodi Gunawardana

Former President and UPFA candidate for the Kurunegala District Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday rejected the idea of forming a national government post-election, vowing that the fractured alliance would obtain 117 seats and rule alone.

Addressing an election meeting held at the Battaramulla Samurdhi Hall, Rajapaksa said that it was the UNP which could not set up a government without the UPFA.

“Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that they expected to create a national government. This means that they cannot form a government without UPFA support. However, we do not want to create a joint government. We will form our own government,” Rajapaksa emphasised.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa says UPFA will win 117 Seats at Elections and form Govt Alone Without the UNP’ »

If Rajapaksa Keeps Spewing his Demagoguery Even President Sirisena Will have to Vote for the UNP

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

According to the Constitution, ‘the President shall appoint as the Prime Minster the Member of Parliament, who in his opinion is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament. In that sense, the choice is his discretion, however, should the SLFP Members of Parliament in a future SLFP government, insist on Mahinda Rajapaksa, and him alone, that would lead to a major political conflagration, which would end up in an impeachment motion of the President, presented by the MPs of his own party.

However, that possibility is fast diminishing, partly thanks to the President’s manoeuvring last week. His statement was a mortal blow to the SLFP/UPFA campaign. The Rajapaksa acolytes have all the right reasons to feel disappointed and even betrayed.

True that the momentum of January 8 had gradually been losing its metal in recent months amidst a cacophony of discordant voices (plus an allegation of a major Treasury bond fraud) and acrimonious fight back by the Rajapaksa camp.

However, the popular mandate of January 8 is still a potent force, obviously the only force that can overwhelm Mahinda Rajapaksa’s demagoguery.

I say it is a potent force because the overwhelming majority of Sri Lankan voters are pragmatists, who are likely to be content with the gradual democratic transformation of the country since January 8.

Continue reading ‘If Rajapaksa Keeps Spewing his Demagoguery Even President Sirisena Will have to Vote for the UNP’ »

Fake UN Report Naming Mahinda and Gotabhaya and 50 Others as “War Criminals” to be Released in August to Win Sympathy for UPFA in Elections.


by

Christi Mahesh de Silva

The government has received information that plans were afoot to release a “fake” UNHRC war crimes report to benefit the election campaign of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a top government spokesman told the Daily News.

The fake war crimes report is likely to be released locally within the first week of August, nearly two weeks before the Parliamentary election. In the report, nearly 50 names will be included as “war heroes” against whom war crimes charges have been leveled, the spokesman added.

“Among them will be former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, former commanders of the three forces and top army officers who played active roles during the final phase of war,” he said.

“The ‘fake report’ is being prepared to create public sympathy for the former President and his sibling,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Fake UN Report Naming Mahinda and Gotabhaya and 50 Others as “War Criminals” to be Released in August to Win Sympathy for UPFA in Elections.’ »

Ex-MP Shivajilingam of Valvettithurai “Challenges” Ex – President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Medamulana at Kurunegala in Polls

A relative of slain LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran has entered the fray for Sri Lanka’s parliamentary election to be held in 17 August to challenge former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

M.K. Shivajilingam, a leader of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), filed his nomination on 13 July.

Sivajilinagm said he is not contesting as TELO or as part of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), but as an Independent. He has put up a list of candidates as an “Independent Group”.

“I have filed nomination to contest as an independent group from Kurunegala. I aim to challenge the former President,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Ex-MP Shivajilingam of Valvettithurai “Challenges” Ex – President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Medamulana at Kurunegala in Polls’ »

India Wanted Mahinda Govt to Stop China Funded US $ 1.4 Billion Colombo Port City Project Reveals Ex Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa


India wanted the Rajapaksa government in Sri Lanka to stop the Chinese-funded US$ 1.4 billion Colombo Port City Project on the plea that it was inimical to India’s security, former Lankan Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said.

Gotabaya told a seminar organized by some professionals at the National Library here on Thursday that the request to stop the project was made to him personally by India’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval.

“His primary request was to stop the Colombo Port City project. The reason he gave was that the Port City was a threat to the security of India. I don’t know if the present government is facing such demands,” The New Indian Express quoted Gotabaya Rajapaksa as having said. “I assured the Indian National Security Advisor that the project posed no threat to India,” Gotabaya added.

Continue reading ‘India Wanted Mahinda Govt to Stop China Funded US $ 1.4 Billion Colombo Port City Project Reveals Ex Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’ »

“I dont have to Resign as Central Bank Governor Because I Have Convinced President Sirisena that there was no Treasury Bond Scam”says Arjuna Mahendran

By Ishara Gamage

Ceylon Finance Today: Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said yesterday that there was no tangible reason for him to tender his resignation

The Governor was responding to a question from Ceylon FT whether he was ready to hand over his resignation from office in the aftermath of President Maithripala Sirisena’s television address to the nation last Tuesday where he (President Sirisena) said that he had told Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that the Governor should resign in the aftermath of the Rs 10 billion bond scam.

There was no reason for me what so ever to resign following President Maithripala Sirisena’s television address to the nation last Tuesday, Mahendran told Ceylon FT

Continue reading ‘“I dont have to Resign as Central Bank Governor Because I Have Convinced President Sirisena that there was no Treasury Bond Scam”says Arjuna Mahendran’ »

Maithripala Fights back Against Rajapaksa Camp’s Plot to Impeach him After Elections and Make Mahinda President

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

“A morally blind politics…”
Thiery d’Holbach (Social Systems)

It was obviously a coincidence; but Maithripala Sirisena’s verbal blast against Mahinda Rajapaksa could not have been better timed. The President made his speech against the ancien régime’s comeback project on Bastille Day, the day the people of France took the momentous first step of a revolution which overthrew the Bourbons and upended a world.

In his speech President Sirisena used the word monarchy (rajanduwa) twice to identify the regime of his predecessor. Like the Bourbons, Mahinda Rajapaksa too has forgotten nothing and learnt nothing. He is surrounded by the same faces and he says the same things, two factors which contributed in no small measure to his January 8th defeat.

There is no virtue in Basil or Gotabhaya Rajapaksa not seeking nominations. Their absence does not indicate a dilution of the familial nature of the comeback project. Post-19th Amendment neither can contest without giving up his American citizenship; and both opted to keep their ties to Uncle Sam. Basil Rajapaksa remains his brother’s campaign manager. As Namal Rajapaksa said in his first post-defeat interview, “….the leader needs someone they (sic) can trust… We always trusted each other….”i

The aim of the Rajapaksa project is nothing less than a full-fledged power-grab, a return to the status quo ante January 8th. Prof. Nalin de Silva let the cat out of the bag when he told the media that the UPFA intends to gain a two-thirds majority, deprive President Sirisena of party leadership and impeach him. The plan, said the professor, is already in placeii.

The comeback story is easy to imagine. UPFA wins the election. A cowed President Sirisena appoints Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister. PM Rajapaksa does in 2015 what President Rajapaksa did in 2010: use carrots and sticks to ensure a sufficient number of defections from a reeling opposition. A new amendment removes presidential term-limits. Maithripala Sirisena is impeached. Mahinda Rajapaksa becomes president. Paradise is regained.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Fights back Against Rajapaksa Camp’s Plot to Impeach him After Elections and Make Mahinda President’ »

Effective Control of SLFP Passes to Mahinda While Maithripala is Reduced to a Mere Figurehead

By
Don Manu

If it’s always lonely at the pinnacle of power where standing room is only for one, then the presidency for Maithripala Sirisena must seem like solitary confinement in a straitjacket with the four walls closing in on him.

Bereft of friends and besieged by enemies, with even the fundamental right of the 6.2 million people who voted him to office to hear again his heartbreak appeal to the nation on July 14th denied them by the arbitrary hand of the elections commissioner who has thought it as one of his duties to issue notice to all media organisations on Thursday asking them to immediately suspend telecasting the speech, life at the top must seem worse than a Siberian exile to the man who dared to topple the Rajapaksas from power and usher in a people’s revolution of democratic tenets.

The contrast between the old tainted regime and the new Maithri vision could not be more apparent than in what each has to offer the masses. For Maithripala Sirisena, he was able to create a climate free of fear for the people of this country to embrace the ideals of democracy, freedom, fundamental rights, human rights and freedom of the media. This was said in his speech to the nation on July 14 which has since been found to be offensive to some.

Continue reading ‘Effective Control of SLFP Passes to Mahinda While Maithripala is Reduced to a Mere Figurehead’ »

Maithripala Betrays his Loyalists in the SLFP and Strenghens Mahinda Further by his Speech

By

C.A.Chandraprema

The UPFA’s inaugural rally in Anuradhapura was a big event. It was certainly bigger than either the Nugegoda and Kurunegala rallies of the bring back Mahinda campaign. It was at least as big as the previous rally held in Matara, if not slightly bigger. As far as inaugural rallies go, size does matter. One thing that can be said is that last Friday’s UPFA show was way bigger than the UNP’s inaugural rally in Kandy. The UNP prefers to kick off their campaigns either in Kandy or Colombo because that is where they are strongest and can ensure the biggest participation. But this time, the UNP’s show in Kandy was not up to scratch. One of the highlights of the UPFA meeting was the attendance of the former Chief Justice Sarath N.Silva who occupied one of the front row seats.

Janaka Bandara Tennakoon who until recently was a Sirisena loyalist but with the latter’s controversial speech last Tuesday was the first to call for an emergency Central Committee meeting (obviously meant to remove Sirisena from the party leadership) also occupied a front row seat. He was well received by the people present. What made this rally different to the others was the presence of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Susil Premajayantha on the stage. The latter three gave the rally the feeling of an official UPFA event, but the format was the same as the past bring back Mahinda meetings.

President Sirisena is officially the UPFA leader but his photograph was not displayed anywhere and not a single speaker made even a passing reference to their leader. Nimal Siripala de Silva, Susil Premajayantha, and Anura Priyadarshana Yapa all pledged to make Mahinda Rajapaksa the prime minister with Nimal Siripala saying that it will be he who makes the official declaration that Mahinda enjoys the confidence of the UPFA parliamentary group to appoint MR as the prime minister in the event of a UPFA victory. The Anuradhapura rally went on for more than four and a half hours and people lost track of how many speeches were made. Everyone was exhausted by the time it ended. The first few bring back Mahinda rallies were short and crisp with only a few speeches being made but gradually as it gathered momentum, protocol requirements made more and more speeches necessary until the absolute limit was reached in Anuradhapura.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Betrays his Loyalists in the SLFP and Strenghens Mahinda Further by his Speech’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Spent more than Rs 785 Million Within 3 Years to Charter Sri Lankan Airlines Planes for his Visits Abroad

By Namini Wijedasa

Former President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, spent more than Rs. 785 million within three years to charter SriLankan Airlines aircraft for his visits abroad, documents obtained by the Sunday Times show. The airbuses would often remain idle in various airports until Mr Rajapaksa finished his tours.

SriLankan has billed his office a total of Rs 785,079,185 for 90 aircraft movements in 2012, 2013 and 2014. This figure does not reflect other multiple costs such as crew accommodation. These expenses were often met by Sri Lanka’s diplomatic missions abroad.

Mr Rajapaksa usually flew on one of two Airbus A340s owned by SriLankan. Their registration numbers are 4R-ADG(a 243-seater) and 4R-ADE (a 299-seater). These long-haul aircraft are the largest the company operates. The respective airbus would be unavailable to other paying passengers whenever Mr. Rajapaksa hired it. This could mean several days.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Spent more than Rs 785 Million Within 3 Years to Charter Sri Lankan Airlines Planes for his Visits Abroad’ »

42% of Sri Lanka’s Diplomatic Missions will be Headed by Non – Career Diplomats soon.

By Namini Wijedasa

After taking over as Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera pledged that seventy percent of Sri Lanka’s missions abroad will be headed by career diplomats. Six months later, he has fallen well short of that target. Some stations that have long been manned by senior Foreign Service officers — such as Beijing and Vienna — are now to be administered by political appointees. The practice of sending non-career diplomats to important capitals such as Tokyo and Singapore also looks set to continue.

Both missions will be manned by political heads, according to a list of names approved by the Parliamentary High Posts Committee. It was under the previous regime that these stations first started to be headed by non-career diplomats.

Once the selections are cleared by the respective governments, around 42 percent of the Sri Lanka’s missions will be headed by non-career diplomats while the remaining 58 percent will be members of the Foreign Service.

Continue reading ‘42% of Sri Lanka’s Diplomatic Missions will be Headed by Non – Career Diplomats soon.’ »

President Sirisena was Vilified Because he was Silent, Wishy-washy and kept People Guessing.

By

Malinda Seneviratne

So finally the President has spoken. That’s good. He was correct when he said that he had been vilified no end during the past few weeks. He added for good measure ‘as no other president before me had been vilified’. That of course is not true. What’s true is that he was vilified. He has no one to blame but himself though. He was silent. He was wishy-washy. He kept people guessing and on their toes. He may have done this deliberately, we don’t know. But that’s not important. He brought it all on himself.

Last week the ‘Ravaya’ claimed in its lead that ‘Maithripala had betrayed his mandate’. That’s because it was reported that President Maithripala Sirisena had given the green light for his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest on the United People’s Freedom Party (UPFA) ticket. Well, now Sirisena claims that he had nothing to do with it. Indeed, he had opposed this, he claimed. The ‘Ravaya’ for its part has been silent on other mandate-betrayals such as the scuttling of the 20th Amendment, the effective nullification of the COPE report on the Central Bank Bond Scam courtesy dissolution, the non-mention of the Right to Information Act. The ‘Ravaya’ didn’t blame the President and uttered not a word against the UNP. By these acts of commission and omission, the ‘Ravaya’ showed its hand. It’s Ranil Wickremesinghe’s hand, so to speak.

One wonders what the ‘Ravaya’ would have to say now, after the President’s ‘statement of purpose’ on Tuesday. ‘Maithripala had us fooled!’ would be a nice headline, under the circumstances, but it would take some humility and courage to come up with something like that.

So what did Sirisena say? He said a lot of things. He said that he is not concerned about who wins as long as those who subscribed to his yahapaalana plan came out on top never mind the fact that there was little or no ‘yaha’ (good) in the paalanaya (governance) of the last six months. He said that there’s no love lost between himself and his predecessor. No surprises there.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena was Vilified Because he was Silent, Wishy-washy and kept People Guessing.’ »

Roaring Address by Mahinda Rajapaksa is Highlight of UPFA Inaugural Election rally at Anuradhapura


By

Dharisha Bastians

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the star attraction and central focus of the UPFA’s inaugural rally in Anuradhapura yesterday, with SLFP top brass and alliance leaders pledging to work towards his election as Sri Lanka’s next prime minister.

Thousands gathered at the Salgado grounds in Anuradhapura for the UPFA’s campaign kick-off, where SLFP office bearers and UPFA party leaders pledged to uphold election laws and make Mahinda Rajapaksa Prime Minister following their polls victory.

The UPFA’s Anuradhapura District Leader and Sirisena loyalist Duminda Dissanayake declined to attend the rally and the party’s MPs and leaders from other districts appeared to take a lead role instead. The rally was distinctly presidential in nature, with the former President looking like the only candidate on the UPFA ticket.

“Ranil Wickremesinghe and certain foreign missions tried hard to stop me from getting the nomination for this election. The people managed to defeat that conspiracy,” Rajapaksa told the crowds, in a message that was strongly focused on national security issues.

Continue reading ‘Roaring Address by Mahinda Rajapaksa is Highlight of UPFA Inaugural Election rally at Anuradhapura’ »

Ranil is able to go around Country Bad mouthing me Because I Destroyed Terrorism” states Mahinda in Anuradhapura

Dasun Edirisinghe reporting from Anuradhapura

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday alleged that the present Yahapalana government had destroyed within six months what his administration had achieved in four years.

The former President asked at the inaugural UPFA parliamentary election campaign rally what would have happened if the Maithripala Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration had continued for five years.

Addressing a massive rally the former President said that the unprecedented Central Bank bond scam had caused a massive loss to the national economy. He said that the country had so far suffered a loss amounting to Rs 60 billion.

Rajapaksa said that the conduct of the so-called Yahapalana administration reminded one of the UNP administration which came to power in 1977. He declared that he would sacrifice anything without any hesitation to safeguard the SLFP and the UPFA for the sake of the people.

Continue reading ‘Ranil is able to go around Country Bad mouthing me Because I Destroyed Terrorism” states Mahinda in Anuradhapura’ »

Presidential Commission Appointed to Recommend Action to be Taken About Ex-LTTE chief Selvarasah Pathmanathan alias KP


By Cyril Wimalasurendre

KANDY – A Presidential Commission had been appointed to recommend the action that should be taken regarding the controversial LTTEer Pathmanathan (KP), Deputy Justice Minister Sujeeva Senasinghe told the media in Kandy yesterday (17).

The report of the commission had not yet been made available to the Attorney General (AG), the Deputy Minister said.

Continue reading ‘Presidential Commission Appointed to Recommend Action to be Taken About Ex-LTTE chief Selvarasah Pathmanathan alias KP’ »

President Sirisena Must Appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister if he has has Parliamentary Majority says Ex-Chief Justice Sarath Silva

By Dasun Edirisinghe reporting from Anuradhapura

There was no legal barrier to former President Mahinda Rajapaka becoming Prime Minister according to the Constitution, former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva said yesterday.

Addressing the UPFA inaugural election rally in Anuradhapura, Silva said that according to the Constitution a person who commanded the confidence of MPs should be appointed the Prime Minister.

Responding to President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent statement that he (Sirisena) would not appoint former President Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister even in the event of UPFA winning the general election, the former Chief Justice said that President was misleading the people as he could not appoint a Prime Minister without the consent of Parliament majority according to the Constitution.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Must Appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister if he has has Parliamentary Majority says Ex-Chief Justice Sarath Silva’ »

Split in UPFA Over Mahinda Becoming Prime Minister will Make People Vote for UNF in Large Numbers Predicts Ranil Wickremesinghe

by Zacki Jabbar

With the UPFA deeply divided over the issue of prime ministerial candidate, the people were certain to vote in large numbers for the United National Front for Good Governance at next month’s general election, UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe predicted yesterday.

Addressing a UNFGG election rally in Katana, Wickremesinghe said that the failure of leading figures in the SLFP-led UPFA to listen to President Maithripala Sirisena’s advice, had led to the entire coalition being treated like a joke.

While a section of the UPFA claimed that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was their prime ministerial candidate, President Maithripala Sirisena had categorically stated that he would appoint a more deserving senior in the SLFP as Prime Minister if the UPFA were to win the Parliamentary Polls.

With such confusion prevailing the masses would ensure the election of a UNFGG government, since it not only spoke with one voice but had also delivered on most of its Jan. 8, presidential election pledges, the UNP leader noted.

Continue reading ‘Split in UPFA Over Mahinda Becoming Prime Minister will Make People Vote for UNF in Large Numbers Predicts Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Arjuna Mahendran will lose his Self-respect if he does not Resign as Central bank Governor After President Sirisena’s Comment

By

D. B. Tennakoon

The Central Bank of a country is charged with the crucial task of regulating a country’s economy. It decides how much money should be in circulation, the relationship of the assets of the country to its loans, the relationship between a country’s currency and those of other countries and so on.

Actually its function in the country’s economy can be compared to the heart that keeps a body alive. There is no need here to labour the point that the integrity of the person who heads this institution is crucial to the image it has nationally and internationally.

We in Sri Lanka have been disturbed for some time about the allegations leveled against the Governor of our Central Bank. If we leave aside the politics involved it is quite obvious that there is a problem to be resolved urgently. The Governor has very clearly tried to prove his innocence and we appreciate that.

Continue reading ‘Arjuna Mahendran will lose his Self-respect if he does not Resign as Central bank Governor After President Sirisena’s Comment’ »

Machiavellian Politics of President Maithripala Sirisena Hurts his “Friends” More

By

Dharisha Bastians

The pictures taken at the SLFP’s Darley Road headquarters on Wednesday have a déjà vu quality about them.

Mahinda Rajapaksa sits at the head of the table, in the biggest chair in the room. He is flanked by the two General Secretaries of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the political coalition it leads, the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). In one picture, SLFP General Secretary Anura Yapa stands like a sentinel on Rajapaksa’s left, a slightly deferential air about his posture.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the head of the table at the SLFP’s Darley Road headquarters, flanked by the two General Secretaries of the SLFP and the UPFA

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the head of the table at the SLFP’s Darley Road headquarters, flanked by the two General Secretaries of the SLFP and the UPFA

“It’s been six months since I’ve been here and met the press,” boomed the former President, who was ousted by 400,000 votes in the January election he had himself, in his infinite wisdom, declared two years ahead of schedule.

The meeting ‘chaired’ by Rajapaksa took place the morning after President Maithripala Sirisena’s blistering speech against the ex-President’s candidacy, and his prediction before the nation that Mahinda Rajapaksa would be defeated again in the 17 August election. The meeting at Darley Road on Wednesday morning was an act of defiance against the President who had demanded the meeting be cancelled. As Chairman of the SLFP, President Sirisena also holds the mantle of UPFA Chairman, yet the General Secretaries of both these parties stood beside the ex-President, in a defiant show of solidarity.

The SLFP is livid about the President’s address on Tuesday, in which he disassociated himself from the decision to grant Rajapaksa nominations from the UPFA. The remarks took the wind out of the party’s sails, because SLFP seniors had been crowing for days about a rapprochement between President Sirisena and his predecessor.

Continue reading ‘Machiavellian Politics of President Maithripala Sirisena Hurts his “Friends” More’ »

President Sirisena is the Wrong man at the Right Place in the Wrong Time

By

N. Sathiya Moorthy

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has made the nation and the international community and observers interested in the nation’s affairs, to sit up and take notice. After maintaining a seemingly ambivalent position on the political re-entry of predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa in the January 8 polls, he has now come out strongly against the latter, who had scored a highly respectable 48 per cent vote-share at the time. This can also be the source of controversies after the August 17 parliamentary polls.

In a recent public statement, President Sirisena not only declared that he would uphold the mandate (for change and good governance) that his election portrayed, but would also not invite Rajapaksa to become prime minister if their Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)-United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), now under the latter’s hold, won a majority in parliament. More importantly, he has distanced himself from the parliamentary polls, a very healthy precedent, whatever the reason – worthy of being followed up with a legislation to the effect.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena is the Wrong man at the Right Place in the Wrong Time’ »

“I Hope to Spend the next five Years Performing my Duties by Keeping the Promises I made on Jan 8”


By

Maithripala Sirisena

(Following is the full text of special statement made by President Maithripala Sirisena on 14 July 2015 on the current political situation in Sri Lanka)

This is the first time I am making a statement to the media since 21 November. My main objective today is to make a clarification as to the prevailing political situation in the country.
However, in order to do that, I believe it’s pertinent to draw your attention to the election manifesto which paved the path for me to be appointed as the President of this country on 8 January.

The democratic revolution that occurred on 8 January became a reality within a short spell of 42 days between my leaving the then-government in November last year. It is within this short period of 42 days that the people of this country embraced ideals of democracy, freedom, fundamental rights, human rights and the freedom of media, thereby giving me the opportunity to establish this new government. The election manifesto I brought forth, as all of you clearly remember, was based on a compassionate form of governance. Even prior to the manifesto, there were significant reasons for people selected me as their common candidate.

During the 49 years of my political career, I have served the people as a Member of the Parliament, a Deputy Minister and also a Minister. During those 49 years, I believe that the People had an understanding of me as a person who respects and protects freedom and democracy, and as a person who does not engage in corruption or the abuse of powers. I believe that this understanding is what qualified me to become their common candidate. My character, my personality, the gamut of experience I gained during my political career and the image I have built within the hearts of the people are the reasons why they supported me and stood by me, when I took up the challenge as their common candidate.

When I left the Government on 21 November, with the trust the people placed on my shoulders, as I have clearly stated before, I had not met Ranil Wickremesinghe even once prior to making my decision. I had met Chandrika Bandaranaike only once and even that for less than an hour. And I was able to come into a consensus with 49 organisations, political parties and groups to align with my election manifesto.

Continue reading ‘“I Hope to Spend the next five Years Performing my Duties by Keeping the Promises I made on Jan 8”’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Planned his Return to Power for Months at Meetings Held at a Buddhist Temple in Colombo.

By

Dharisha Bastians


COLOMBO, Sri Lanka —
Former President Mahinda Rajapakse of Sri Lanka, who was defeated in January, now has a chance to make a major political comeback after his successor cleared the way for him to run for a seat in Parliament in elections scheduled for Aug. 17.

President Maithripala Sirisena said this week that he did not have the power to block Mr. Rajapakse’s run for Parliament, because the alliance of parties he leads is still dominated by people loyal to the former president. But Mr. Sirisena has come under fire from some of his former supporters.

“We never thought he would consent to bring the corrupt Rajapakse regime back to power after we defeated him,” said Saman Ratnapriya, a trade union activist whose collective was part of 49 civil society organizations that backed Mr. Sirisena’s presidential bid. “He has betrayed us.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Sirisena sought to reassure those groups, vowing that he would not allow the former president to be named prime minister, even if Mr. Rajapakse’s alliance gained a majority in the August elections.

Mr. Sirisena said that he “strongly disagreed” with the decision to nominate Mr. Rajapakse as a parliamentary candidate.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Planned his Return to Power for Months at Meetings Held at a Buddhist Temple in Colombo.’ »

♫ Kaadhal Mannan ♫ Gemini Ganesan, Romantic Actor King of Tamil Cinema ♥

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

In writing last week about legendary film actor Tony Ranasinghe, I referred to the comment by Malani Fonseka about Tony being the greatest romantic lover in Sinhala films. The queen of Sinhala cinema who has acted in about 40 films with him said of Tony Ranasinghe “I find him the most romantic lover we’ve had in our films.”

GG JUL 10

Malani Fonseka’s description of Tony Ranasinghe as most romantic lover of the Sinhala screen will certainly be endorsed by many. However, her comment about Tony struck a chord in my memory about another actor in Tamil cinema who was also regarded widely as the greatest romantic lover. In fact he was dubbed “Kaadhal Mannan,” meaning ‘King of Romantic Love’. I am of course referring to the actor Gemini Ganesan who is no more now. I have written about him earlier when he passed away 10 years ago. I shall rely upon some of these writings as this week’s ‘Spotlight’ focuses upon “Kaadhal Mannan” Gemini Ganesan.

Romantic hero par excellence

Gemini Ganesan has visited Sri Lanka several times and had many good friends in the island. In a career spanning more than five decades Gemini Ganesan made his mark in Tamil films as the romantic hero par excellence. Though he played a number of diverse roles he made his mark as a lover on screen. It was this which earned him the sobriquet “Kaadhal Mannan”.

GG111713B

Interestingly his on-screen and off-screen persona got intertwined in this respect. While the evergreen actor Gemini crooned his way into the hearts of many lovely heroines on screen, the off-screen hero in real life had four wives plus several liaisons with attractive women. He himself admitted to his numerous affairs with other married women to an Indian magazine. When the magazine wanted more details, Gemini declined to elaborate saying, “Gentlemen don’t tell!”
Continue reading ‘♫ Kaadhal Mannan ♫ Gemini Ganesan, Romantic Actor King of Tamil Cinema ♥’ »

♫ M.S.Viswanathan Helped Inspire a Deep Love for the Thamizh Language ♥

by Sudha Ragunathan

M.S.Viswanathan

M.S.Viswanathan

Thamizhukkum amuthendru paer, andha Thamizh inba Thamizh engal uyirukku naer, uyirukku naer ! This melodious number came wafting in the air from the grandfather radio playing ‘Ungal Viruppam’ during family time at home.

As a child I would hear this song so often that I began following the lyrics as well, which inculcated in me a deep love for the Tamizh language while I lived in Bangalore then — thank you MSV Sir for inspiring me to love Tamizh.

While Mellisai Mannars M.S. Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamurthy conquered the turf from the early ‘50s to mid ‘60’s giving us some unforgettable lyric-laden numbers, post Aayirathil Oruvan MSV Sir was on a roll on his own from 1965.

Sudha Ragunathan

Sudha Ragunathan


Continue reading ‘♫ M.S.Viswanathan Helped Inspire a Deep Love for the Thamizh Language ♥’ »

SLFP in Deep Crisis After President Sirisena Denounces Candidacy of Mahinda Rajapaksa on UPFA Ticket

By Dharisha Bastians

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) was plunged into crisis yesterday, after President Maithripala Sirisena denounced his predecessor’s candidacy on the UPFA ticket and Rajapaksa loyalists renewed attempts to wrest control of the alliance.

A high-stakes game of political chess between Presidents incumbent and former continued yesterday with Mahinda Rajapaksa securing an appointment as head of the UPFA Elections Operations Committee only one day after President Sirisena strongly opposed his candidacy.

Rajapaksa loyalists held an emergency meeting at the SLFP Darley Road Headquarters that had previously been cancelled by President Maithripala Sirisena, issuing a direct challenge to the President’s authority.

Hours later, SLFP member Prasanna Solongaarachchi filed a motion in court to prevent the SLFP Central Committee being convened without approval from the party leader.

The Colombo District Court issued an injunction preventing the Central Committee from convening without the permission from SLFP Chairman, President Siriena.

Continue reading ‘SLFP in Deep Crisis After President Sirisena Denounces Candidacy of Mahinda Rajapaksa on UPFA Ticket’ »

Mahinda Appointed UPFA Election Campaign Leader in a Bid to Counter President Sirisena Condemnation of Rajapaksa Candidacy

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The SLFP yesterday strongly denied President Maithripala Sirisena’s accusation that the party had conspired to appoint former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Parliament through the National List by moving a no-faith motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha insisted that in accordance with the Parliamentary Elections Act of 1981, only a person named in the original National List submitted to the Elections Secretariat along with nominations for the last parliamentary election or an unsuccessful candidate at the same election could be appointed.

Premajayantha was addressing the media at SLFP headquarters at T. B. Jayah Mawatha, following consultations with senior representatives of the UPFA presided over by former President Rajapaksa. The UPFA General Secretary was flanked by SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and other party seniors, John Seneviratne, Dullas Alahapperuma and Kumara Welgama.

Rajapaksa is leading the UPFA nomination list for the Kurunegala District.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Appointed UPFA Election Campaign Leader in a Bid to Counter President Sirisena Condemnation of Rajapaksa Candidacy’ »

President Sirisena Deflates Mahinda Rajapaksa Hopes of Victory by Declaring he will stay Neutral During Campaign

By

Rasika Somarathna

While stressing that he will continue to stand against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said that Rajapaksa will be defeated again as he was defeated on January 8.

The President said he will form a government with the victorious political parties after August 17 election to fullfill the aspirations of the people who voted for a change on January 8. The President said that he has no intention of appointing Rajapaksa as Prime Minister.

“I will continue to give leadership to the change ushered on January 8 with the newly elected members after the General election,” President Sirisena said.

President Sirisena added that he will take a neutral stand at the upcoming pols.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Deflates Mahinda Rajapaksa Hopes of Victory by Declaring he will stay Neutral During Campaign’ »

JVP Faults President Sirisena for Giving Nomination to Mahinda and Lying About it to the People

By Sarath Ariyakumara

President Maithripala Sirisena’s claim that he was opposed to giving nominations to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest upcoming polls is not acceptable, the JVP says.

JVP propaganda Secretary former MP Vijitha Herath addressing a public rally at Yakkala, Gampaha said yesterday (15): “After everything has happened the President appears on TV claiming he did not want to give nominations to Rajapaksa. We are sure the people of this country will not accept what he says ever again. He has made a bad mistake. It is too late for him to correct what he did.”

Continue reading ‘JVP Faults President Sirisena for Giving Nomination to Mahinda and Lying About it to the People’ »

Has China Hired Retired Indian Intelligence Officials to Mastermind the Election Campaign of Mahinda Rajapaksa?

By

Rasika Jayakody

All stakeholders of the ‘rainbow revolution’, which ousted former President Mahinda Rajapaksa from power in January, have joined hands again to block the former President’s desperate comeback bid. The notable absentee in this whole process is none other than President Maithripala Sirisena, the protagonist of the “January 08 story”.

When President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved Parliament in June, the SLFP stalwarts supporting Rajapaksa calculated that the UNP would be isolated at the Parliamentary election. They thought Patali Champika Ranawaka and Ven Athuraliye Rathana Thera, two outspoken MPs of the JHU, would remain in the UPFA along with others who defected from the party with President Maithripala Sirisena before the Presidential election.

It was against this backdrop that they designed the political comeback of the former President and covertly supported “Bring Back Mahinda” rallies organized by some constituent parties of the UPFA. Their plan was to isolate and crush the UNP at the Parliamentary election by bringing the former President back into the UPFA coalition. By having President Maithripala Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa side by side on their electorate platform, the UPFA seniors thought they would be in a position to enjoy the best of both worlds and secure a comfortable victory when it came to the electoral race.

However, former President Rajapaksa did not walk into the UPFA, alone. He was accompanied by a number of politicians who faced various bribery, corruption and criminal charges. There were ex-MPs who were frequent visitors of the Police Financial Crimes Investigations Department, the Bribery Commission and the Criminal Investigations Department. They were core members of the ‘Abhayaramaya cabal” which strongly pushed for the former President’s political comeback over the past few months.

Although President Sirisena was not inclined to accommodate them in the UPFA, Rajapaksa threatened to field a separate group if the party decided to reject nominations for members of his ‘core group’. As a result of this eleventh hour threat, Rajapaksa managed to secure nominations for his close associates including Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Lakshman Wasantha Perera and Premalal Jayasekera.

Continue reading ‘Has China Hired Retired Indian Intelligence Officials to Mastermind the Election Campaign of Mahinda Rajapaksa?’ »

What made President Maithripala Sirisena Change his Mind About Mahinda Rajapaksa?

By

Upul Joseph Fernando

Indian Premier Narendra Modi visited Sri Lanka after Maithripala Sirisena assumed the Presidency. He met Mahinda Rajapaksa too during that brief visit. Following that meeting, Mahinda displayed to his followers that he had received some blessings from Modi and this information reached New Delhi. After Modi returned to India the truth of what Modi told Mahinda was revealed.

Modi had told Mahinda that the latter had ruled Sri Lanka for two terms and was time for him to retire from politics to be at leisure. This had been Modi’s response when Mahinda had expressed his desire to return to active politics and looked for blessings from India. Modi had given a piece of advice but Mahinda did not want to reveal it thinking it would be detrimental to his desire to return to active politics.

Mahinda who declared his intention to return to active politics and gave an interview to a certain Indian media attempted to convince the Indians to get support towards his second journey in politics. During that interview Mahinda pointed out that Chinese investments and projects in Sri Lanka did not pose a threat to India and, he would like Ms. Sirima Bandaranaike did in 1962 would be a bridge to bring India and China together. Before Mahinda declared his desire to contest the upcoming general election in August, Chinese Navy Chief Zhao too made a similar statement to the media in China. Following is the report of that statement; “The Indian Ocean cannot be a backyard of India which Navies of other countries could not visit, the Chinese Ministry of Defence has said. As the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy expands its profile in the Indian Ocean with recent submarine visits to Sri Lanka and more recently Pakistan, its officials have moved to assuage India’s concerns by emphasizing its motivations were driven by trade and security and not aimed at India, Indian media reported.

Continue reading ‘What made President Maithripala Sirisena Change his Mind About Mahinda Rajapaksa?’ »

“I wont Appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister Even if SLFP led UPFA wins Elections”Announces President Sirisena


President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday declared that he would not appoint former President Mahinda Rajapaksa Prime Minister even in the event of the SLFP-led UPFA winning the August 17 general election.

There were several senior politicians in the SLFP, who were better suited to hold the post of Prime Minister than Rajapaksa, President Sirisena said addressing the media at the Presidential Secretariat.

President Sirisena said Rajapaksa had denied deserving party seniors their due place.

He faulted Rajapaksa for trying to deprive those senior party members premiership again, after serving two terms as President.

Declaraing that he would remain impartial at the next month’s election, President Sirisena called upon the people to elect those best suited to ‘march forward with the Jan. 8 mandate.’

Continue reading ‘“I wont Appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister Even if SLFP led UPFA wins Elections”Announces President Sirisena’ »

” I asked the Prime Minister to Remove or Make the Central Bank Governor Step Down From his Post” Reveals President Sirisena

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan

The President vowed that he will form a government with the victorious political parties after the 17 August election and he has no intention of appointing Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister, adding further that that he would continue to give leadership to the change he ushered in on 8 January with the newly elected members after the general election.

He said that there would be a free and fair election and he will support all the forces to help conduct a clean election. He has to be there for the next five years to continue to work for his country as he had promised.

Speaking to media on the current political developments at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (14) the President said that if the SLFP wins the election there are several senior politicians in the party who can be the prime minister. Former President Rajapaksa who did not allow the deserving seniority get their due posts is now trying again to deny party seniors premiership by attempting to be PM even after completing two terms of the presidency.

He also said that he ignored the corruption allegations mainly to implement the 100 day programme based on the manifesto with Parliament approval.

President Sirisena said that his first intention was to dissolve Parliament on 10 January immediately after resuming as President on 9 January. However, he could not do so as he had to fulfil the task given under the 100- day programme.

“As promised I made Ranil Wickremesinghe PM though the UNP had only 47 Members in Parliament and succeeded in implementing the 100-Day programme that included the 19th Amendment to curtail the excessive powers of the executive presidency,” he said.

Continue reading ‘” I asked the Prime Minister to Remove or Make the Central Bank Governor Step Down From his Post” Reveals President Sirisena’ »

“Mahinda Rajapaksa who was Defeated on Jan 8th will be Defeated Again”Declares President Sirisena

By Dharisha Bastians

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday broke a 10-day silence in a special address, saying he was strongly opposed to his predecessor contesting in the 17 August parliamentary election and hailing democratic conditions prevailing in the country that allowed stinging criticism against a head of state that he had endured over the past week.

“I strongly disagreed with giving Mahinda Rajapaksa nominations for the election,” Sirisena said in his address.

Making his address at the Presidential Secretariat late last evening, Sirisena predicted that Mahinda Rajapaksa would lose the election next month.

“Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was defeated on 8 January, will be defeated again,” President Sirisena said.

“I don’t need to read the stars to know that, the future can be predicted based on history,” he said.

The remarks appeared to be a slap in the face of the former President, who told Reuters on Monday that he and President Sirisena would be leading the election campaign to form a SLFP-led Government after the poll.

Continue reading ‘“Mahinda Rajapaksa who was Defeated on Jan 8th will be Defeated Again”Declares President Sirisena’ »

Veteran Tamil Film Music Composer MS Visvanathan well -known as “MSV” Passes Away in Chennai Hospital at 87 Years

Well-known Tamil film music composer M.S. Viswanathan died at a private hospital in Chennai on July 14th morning. He was 87.

M.S. Viswanathan

M.S. Viswanathan

MSV, as he’s fondly called by the Tamil film music fans , had been undergoing treatment at Fortis Malar hospital for old-age related ailments and breathing problem.

Though he had showed signs of recovery after initial treatment and was almost ready to be taken back home, his condition deteriorated last week.

He breathed his last at 4.15 on Tuesday.

Continue reading ‘Veteran Tamil Film Music Composer MS Visvanathan well -known as “MSV” Passes Away in Chennai Hospital at 87 Years’ »

How to Secure Sri Lanka from Becoming a Casualty of the “Great Game”of Super Power Rivalry

By

N Sathiya Moorthy

Reports and denials about Sri Lanka procuring Chinese-made JF-17 fighter aircraft notwithstanding, there is the larger question of securing South Asia as a region, from within and without. The responsibility for the same, if and if only the nations of the region so desire, has to fall on all of them, given that it’s not about just the size and shape of their landmass and economies, but relates more to issues of sovereignty, security perceptions and consequent prescriptions.

The JF-17 Thunder is a lightweight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation of China. According to Taiwan-based ‘Want China Times’, which first reported the purported sale, the “fighter is deployed for aerial reconnaissance, ground attack and aircraft interception. Its designation ‘JF-17’ by Pakistan is short for ‘Joint Fighter-17’ and its alias ‘FC-1 Xiaolong’ in Chinese stands for ‘Fighter China-1 Fierce Dragon’

The ‘Want China Times’ reported that “Sri Lanka will become the first foreign country to acquire the JF-17” and that the “order will be for around 18-24 aircraft”, confirming claims made at the 51st Paris Air Show last week that the first contract for the sale of the JF-17 had been signed with “an Asian country”. The Pakistan Air Force announced that they will begin delivery of the JF-17 to Sri Lanka from 2017, adding that its Pakistani and Chinese developers will continue efforts to promote the aircraft to other countries.

Continue reading ‘How to Secure Sri Lanka from Becoming a Casualty of the “Great Game”of Super Power Rivalry’ »

UPFA Gen Secy Premajayantha Admitted to Nawaloka Hospital After Closed Door Meeting with Mahinda Rajapaksa at Ex-Minister Felix Perera’s House


By
Kamal Jayamanna

A major drama took place at former Minister Felix Perera’s house at Keppetipola Mawatha, Colombo, on Sunday night, over some UPFA politicians whose applications for nominations were turned down by the party.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had visited Perera’s house on Sunday night where a meeting was scheduled to take place between Rajapaksa and some members of the nominations committee, including UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha. Former Parliamentarian Sudarshini Fernandopulle and several other provincial level politicians of the UPFA had also been present at Perera’s house by the time the former President had arrived.

Soon after his arrival at Perera’s residence, Rajapaksa had said he needed a serene place for the meeting. The first floor of the former minister’s house was arranged for the meeting and Rajapaksa held a closed door meeting with the UPFA General Secretary and nomination committee members over candidates’ lists in Colombo and Gampaha.

Perera, Fernandopulle and other provincial council members waited on the ground floor until the end of the meeting.

Continue reading ‘UPFA Gen Secy Premajayantha Admitted to Nawaloka Hospital After Closed Door Meeting with Mahinda Rajapaksa at Ex-Minister Felix Perera’s House’ »

SLFP/UPFA Camp will have to Rely on Appeal of Mahinda Rajapaksa Alone in Election Campaign


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

It was quite evident from the very beginning that the campaign by a group of Mahinda Rajapaksa acolytes to nominate the ex-president as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party/United People’s Freedom Alliance was self-seeking and opportunistic.

It was a campaign that sought to draw on from the Rajapaksa cult that the ex-president carefully cultivated during his tenure. Wimal Weerawansa, Vasudeva and et al bolstered by generous financing by a coterie of nouveau rich businessmen, who made their fortune thanks to their association with the ex- president and the then first family believed that the return of the ex-president was the only way that would guarantee their political survival and, of course, the security of their ill-gotten wealth.

They cared little about what Mr. Rajapaksa’s comeback would mean for the SLFP and its political legitimacy. The new President, Maithripala Sirisena capitulated to the pressure, fearing the prospects of a split within the party.

Despite his initial protestations against granting nomination to his predecessor, President Sirisena finally gave in.

Of course, he did not nominate Rajapaksa as the Prime Ministerial candidate, but should the SLFP win the general elections, Rajapaksa’s accession to the Prime Ministership would be a mere formality.

Continue reading ‘SLFP/UPFA Camp will have to Rely on Appeal of Mahinda Rajapaksa Alone in Election Campaign’ »

Guilt Ridden UNP Leadership on Mission to Cover Up Gigantic Treasury Bond Scam Perpetrated by Central Bank High Officials

By

K.K.S.Perera

Did Maithripala Sirisena disappoint the 6.2 million voters by letting MR contest under the SLFP tag?

Some call it a great betrayal; while others think it a democratic option or burying the hatchet for mutual survival. In the meantime, the government and PM makes a strenuous effort to brainwash citizens in a well calculated and masterly cover-up agenda to save offenders involved in CB Bond scam. Why are they doing this if the government politicos are not involved in the scandal?

Can the PM assure the public that no such loss has taken place under the issue, or if there was a scam then who is responsible, instead of attempting to whitewash his nominee for the plum post?

Continue reading ‘Guilt Ridden UNP Leadership on Mission to Cover Up Gigantic Treasury Bond Scam Perpetrated by Central Bank High Officials’ »

Nominations for August 17 Elections Close with 6151 Candidates Competing for 196 Seats in 225 Member Parliament


By
Dharisha Bastians

The 17 August Parliamentary election officially kicked off after nominations closed at noon yesterday, with all major political parties throwing their hat in the ring to win seats in Sri Lanka’s 15th Parliament.

According to the nomination lists handed over at the district secretariats by noon yesterday, 6,151 candidates will compete for 196 seats in the country’s 225-member Legislature next month.

Battle lines have been drawn in what promises to be a tightly-fought election, with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa ready to make a major political comeback and a newly-energised United National Party and the broad alliance it leads promising to defeat him for the second time this year.

In an unprecedented development, the retired President will seek a seat in Parliament, leading the UPFA’s Kurunegala District list.

Rajapaksa loyalists in the UPFA have already pledged to campaign for his election as prime minister, even though President Maithripala Sirisena on 30 June ruled out nominating him as the party’s prime ministerial hopeful.

“I promise to work to root out corruption and deceit, create a peaceful society and prioritise national security,” the former President told supporters in Kurunegala yesterday.
Rajapaksa told Reuters by telephone yesterday that he and President Sirisena would be “leading” the UPFA polls campaign.

“Today, people want change. I am leading the campaign with President Sirisena as the Chairman of the party to form a Sri Lanka Freedom Party-led Government,” the former President told Reuters after he handed in nomination papers.

Continue reading ‘Nominations for August 17 Elections Close with 6151 Candidates Competing for 196 Seats in 225 Member Parliament’ »

Political “Cut out Culture” Continues Under Ranil Wickremesinghe as it was under Mahinda Rajapaksa

By

Malinda Seneviratne

Someone said that Ranil Wickremesinghe had ordered his ‘cut-outs’ to be dismantled. I haven’t seen any RW cut-outs. So if an order had been issued it must have been on the following lines: ‘Make sure there are no cut-outs of me!’

Whether any of this happened we do not know. One thing is certain: a Ranil Wickremesinghe larger-than-life would not attract. If a move was made, it was wise. If a move hasn’t been made, that’s wise too.

What’s disappointing is that RW hasn’t rapped the knuckles of the cut-out heroes in his party. It is disappointing because these very same worthies were howling not too long ago about Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cut-outs.

Some of them said that cut-outs take away from the city’s beauty, never mind that they didn’t attribute the ‘beauty’ part of it to the very regime they vilified. But they were right. Beautification is no license for subsequent desecration.

Continue reading ‘Political “Cut out Culture” Continues Under Ranil Wickremesinghe as it was under Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Being Portrayed as Latter Day “Dutu Gemunu”not Enough to Ensure Political Comeback.


By

Col R Hariharan

Unfazed by his surprise defeat in the last presidential polls, Sri Lanka’s Mahinda Rajapaksa appears to be back with a bang on the nation’s political centre stage with the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) coalition nominating him to contest the August 17 parliamentary election. as a candidate. Six months ago, when Rajapaksa went into a sulk after his defeat, nobody would have imagined that he would bounce back so soon and so strongly with the support of UPFA.

His nomination ended weeks of suspense, as his bête noire President Maithripala Sirisena, chief of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), tried to persuade the party, the UPFA coalition and even Mahinda to prevent the latter’s comeback. But Rajapaksa seems to have made up his mind, well before political manoevures began, to contest the election with or without SLFP support as the anti-corruption bodies were making life miserable for him and his siblings. But no one, probably not even Mahinda, was certain of the UPFA nominating him.

Sirisena is reported to have confessed to his loyalists that he could not carry the UPFA coalition with him to prevent Rajapaksa’s nomination. Civil society leaders and political leaders who put their faith in him to clean up the administration and ensure Mahinda does not reincarnate called Maithripala’s decision a betrayal of the 8 January mandate.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Being Portrayed as Latter Day “Dutu Gemunu”not Enough to Ensure Political Comeback.’ »

Jan 8 “Rainbow” Coalition Re-unites as UNFGG To Prevent Return of Rajapaksa to Power

By

Dharisha Bastians

The threat of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s political re-emergence has unified the fractured rainbow coalition that swept President Maithripala Sirisena to victory on 8 January, with several parties signing agreements yesterday to contest parliamentary elections under a single banner.
The United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) was inaugurated at Temple Trees yesterday, with several parties that backed the Sirisena ‘common candidacy’ in January regrouping to contest against the UPFA.

Twenty-four hours ahead of the close of nominations for the 17 August poll, President Sirisena’s bid to consolidate his position within the SLFP appeared to have failed and the defeated President Rajapaksa is likely to be the de facto leader and presumptive premier of the UPFA.
During their 160 days in Government, the election alliance showed signs of cracking with SLFP members and the JHU, which backed President Sirisena, strongly critical of the UNP.

With the rainbow coalition rebanding, the 8 January battle lines have been drawn again, with Rajapaksa likely to canvass hard on a nationalist platform, while the alliance pledges good governance and reconciliation between communities in the island.

Continue reading ‘Jan 8 “Rainbow” Coalition Re-unites as UNFGG To Prevent Return of Rajapaksa to Power’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Vows to Wipe Out “Rajapaksa Regime” at the August 17 Parliamentary Polls

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Reiterating his commitment to protect what he called the January 8 revolution which brought Maithripala Sirisena to power, Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday vowed to wipe out ‘Rajapaksa regime’ at the August 17 parliamentary polls.

Premier Wickremesinghe compared the Rajapaksa era with that of South Indian invasion led by Kalinga Maga in 1214 A.D.

The Premier was addressing the media at Temple Trees after having reached an agreement with Eksath Jathika Yahapalana Peramuna (formerly JHU) and a breakaway faction of the SLFP (Democratic National Movement) to contest the parliamentary polls on the UNP ticket The SLMC, too, contests on the UNP ticket in all districts except Vanni and Batticaloa.

Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne functions as the leader of the rebel SLFP faction.

Premier Wickremesinghe stressed the need for a new political alliance to guarantee the implementation of promises given at the January 8 presidential election.

The new alliance is named the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG).

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Vows to Wipe Out “Rajapaksa Regime” at the August 17 Parliamentary Polls’ »

“Indian Imperialist” Project of Constructing Bridge to Sri Lanka will Lead to Destruction of our Country

By

K Godage

Some new Indian imperialists, dreaming of India as a Super Power, and in the mould of Pannikar (who suggested the Lanka and Burma be a part of greater India; and had India seize Sikkim and transform Bhutan into a vassal State, have suggested that a bridge be built across the Palk Strait to physically link our two countries.

Such a bridge to physically connect us to India will end our being an island since time immemorial. Some well meaning people in our country would no doubt be thinking of the economic benefits that would accrue and of how trade would grow and investment would increase, but when one thinks long term and of our very existence as a separate country these economic benefits pale into insignificance.

Continue reading ‘“Indian Imperialist” Project of Constructing Bridge to Sri Lanka will Lead to Destruction of our Country’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Tirade Against COPE and DEW Gunasekara Shows he too is a Politician and not a Statesman

By

Malinda Seneviratne

Ranil Wickremesinghe is a politician. Yes, not a statesman. A politician, let us reiterate. The next election and not the next generation is what fascinates him. Like other politicians from other parties of course, leaders included. Yes, like Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena.

Ranil Wickremesinghe is a lawyer. He is not just a politician but a seasoned one. So when he says that D.E.W. Gunasekera, then Chairman of COPE, was out of order in releasing a draft of the COPE Report on the Central Bank bond issue, we have to take note.

Wickremesinghe’s argument is that after Parliament was dissolved, COPE ceased to exist and therefore has no legal standing. Consequently nothing that ‘DEW’ or anyone else in COPE says about any ‘COPE affairs’ is incompetent and irrelevant. DEW, for his part, has promised to respond.

Wickremesinghe claims that it’s not only DEW who is guilty of the ‘contravention of the Parliament Powers and Privileges Act’ but newspapers and other media that had published sections or the entirety of the ‘draft report’. His argument, apart from COPE ceasing to exist, is that some COPE members were not present when COPE deliberated because they were busy politicking.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Tirade Against COPE and DEW Gunasekara Shows he too is a Politician and not a Statesman’ »

How Maithripala Sirisena Helped Mahinda Rajapaksa to Split the Sri Lanka Freedom Party

By

Rasika Jayakody

Soon after President Maithripala Sirisena assumed duties as the SLFP Chairman, his close associates, including former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, called on him to introduce drastic reforms to ‘clean up’ the party. For obscure reasons, such calls fell on deaf ears and no tangible action was taken to bring about meaningful party reforms. He even retained the General Secretaries of the SLFP and the UPFA who had been appointed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Due to his failure to reform, President Sirisena had a political party that was a kind of a ‘monster’ beyond his control.

The nomination process of the UPFA was, therefore, entirely handled by its General Secretary Susil Premajayantha and President Sirisena’s internal battle for good governance in the party suffered a serious setback.

When he realized that he was not in a position to prevent Rajapaksa from becoming a candidate, President Sirisena laid down certain conditions to allay the fears of those who were concerned about Rajapaksa’s return to politics.

The President insisted that Rajapaksa should not be appointed as the prime ministerial candidate of the UPFA. He also added that the former President would not be appointed as the leader of the UPFA group contesting the election. Another stated condition was that Rajapaksa should only contest from the Hambantota district, his traditional stronghold. President Sirisena also opposed giving nominations to nearly 20 ex-MPs of the UPFA who faced bribery, corruption and criminal charges. The large majority of them were staunch supporters of the former President.

The Rajapaksa group, despite all their bravado, had to bow to certain conditions including the one preventing Rajapaksa’s prime ministerial candidacy. At the same time, they circumvented certain conditions by exerting pressure on the President. For instance, UPFA seniors, including the party General Secretary, stressed that the former President should contest from the Kurunegala district to make way for his son, Namal Rajapaksa, to enter the new Parliament with ease.

Continue reading ‘How Maithripala Sirisena Helped Mahinda Rajapaksa to Split the Sri Lanka Freedom Party’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa will Protect Maithripala Sirisena from Those who Accuse President of Betraying the Nation

By

By W.K. Prasad Manju

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is prepared to protect President Maithripala Sirisena from those who claim that he had betrayed the people’s mandate given to him at the presidential election, by giving nomination to Rajapaksa, reliable political sources said.

Rajapaksa had already discussed this issue with seniors in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), sources added.

The party leaders in the Alliance had pointed out to Rajapaksa that President Sirisena gave him nomination due to the request made by the majority of the people in the country who wanted Rajapaksa as the prime ministerial candidate, sources claimed.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa will Protect Maithripala Sirisena from Those who Accuse President of Betraying the Nation’ »

Sirisena Changed Course Because of Pressure from the SLFP Members Who did not want their Party to be made the UNP’s tail.

By

C. A. Chandraprema

To say that last week was full of tension would be an understatement. Political futures and fates of individuals were being decided on the run. A day, an hour or even a minute was becoming a long time in politics. The weekend will see frantic last minute horse trading and the nomination lists on both sides of the political divide may be different on Monday. The mere fact that Mahinda Rajapaksa has signed the UPFA nomination papers had stood the entire political system on its head.

Supporters of the yahapalana coalition are literally incandescent with rage at the fact that MR had finally been granted UPFA nominations. The pro-UNP website Lanka e News even accused Sirisena of having accepted a bribe running into millions of USD to give nominations to Mahinda and they have pledged to publish evidence to this effect. Street demonstrations have been held by NGO activists to express displeasure at President Maithripala Sirisena for having given Mahinda Rajapaksa nominations.

There is nothing surprising in MS caving in to pressure from within the SLFP and the UPFA to field Mahinda as a candidate at this election as the same kind of pressure was applied by a group within the UNP to force Ranil Wickremesinghe to stand down and allow a common candidate to contest against Mahinda Rajapaksa. If RW could not withstand pressure coming from a minority within just one political party, how was Sirisena expected to withstand pressure coming from the vast majority of a whole coalition of political parties? Besides, nobody was accusing RW of wanting to create a split in the UNP, but Sirisena had to face that kind of blackmail as well and it’s not surprising that he finally gave in.

The pro-UNP website Lanka e News was right in saying that it was Sirisena who placed himself in this position by taking over the SLFP leadership. That certainly was not a part of the yahapalana agenda. Those who are now blaming MS for giving nominations to Mahinda should have registered their protest at the outset when MS became SLFP leader without so much as a by your leave from the people who brought him into power. Instead of confronting him at that stage, RW was laughing and poking fun at the cowed and intimidated UPFA members in parliament saying that if they do not behave, he will ‘report’ them to the president and have them given knocks on the head (toku) if they do not fall in line with the yahapalana government. Well it’s the UNP that has ended up receiving ‘toku’ in the end.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena Changed Course Because of Pressure from the SLFP Members Who did not want their Party to be made the UNP’s tail.’ »

Sinhalese Sports Club Denies Membership to Ex – Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage

He may have been the all-powerful Sports Minister of yesteryear, but the prestigious Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) doesn’t think he is fit and proper to be made one of its members. Ex-Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has been ‘black-balled’ from becoming a member and entering the hallowed portals of one of the country’s oldest clubs at Maitland Place in Colombo.

In a dramatic turn of events at this week’s Executive Committee meeting of the SSC, the former Minister’s name had come up for membership. His name had been proposed by two former senior Sri Lanka Cricket officials, who are members of the club.

Continue reading ‘Sinhalese Sports Club Denies Membership to Ex – Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage’ »

“Bad Influence ” Exerted by Jathika Hela Urumaya on Maithripala Sirisena Led to Current Crisis


By Upul Kumarapperuma

The Roman Empire was plagued by coups, conspiracies and wars nevertheless it was the most formidable Empire in Europe.

Julius Caesar became one of the most decorated war heroes after defeating the slave leader Spartacus and his slave army that had caused much humiliation to the Roman Empire, and was later on crowned as the Empire of Rome.

Caesar formed a political alliance with Crassus and Pompey which dominated Roman politics for several years. However, there was opposition to their political alliance by the conservative ruling class within the Roman Senate. During this period the Roman Empire was extended up to the English Channel and the lands beyond the river Rhine, which caused Caesar to gain enormous military might.

The Roman Senate was perturbed by the political authority acquired by Caesar, which authority was capable enough to veto the Senate.

The resentment between Caesar and the Senate developed like a cancer day by day and it went beyond the point of no return. There was a conspiracy hatched to assassinate Caesar. His best buddy Mark Antony felt the danger and came to know the modus operandi of the enemy, but it was too late; the conspirators led by Brutus who was a politician of the Roman republic won the battle by killing Caesar.

This is not a comparison of Caesar and Maithripala Sirisena, but even in the present context, characters identical to those in the Roman Empire are engaged in similar roles in Sri Lanka’s current political circle. These characters have been instrument in causing great debacles in the country as well as ruin the political careers of certain individuals.

Continue reading ‘“Bad Influence ” Exerted by Jathika Hela Urumaya on Maithripala Sirisena Led to Current Crisis’ »

President Sirisena Must Explain to the Nation as to why he Placed his Party Before his Country.

By

Don Manu

‘You cannot make an omelette without breaking an egg’ would have been the adage staring in the face of Maithripala Sirisena when he rose at the New Town Hall meeting last November 21st to announce his intention to contest the presidential election and vowed to the nation that he would usher in a new maithri era and root out all the junk in the Rajapaksa trunk in order to do so.

Prefacing his political bombshell with a quotation from the Dhammapada that emphasised that revenge was not his mission, he declared that he had come forward from the ministerial ranks of the ruling party to take on the challenge of toppling the then invincible Mahinda Rajapaksa from his monarchical pedestal, to end rampant corruption, to bring the perfidious rogues to justice, to restore law and order, to offer good governance with greater transparency; and to be the harbinger of a resplendent dawn where old cherished values of fairness, equality and justice dance in the rays of the sunlit morn.

Raising the hopes of millions that at long last a new David had arrived to slay the Goliath, he had declared, “Thuggery, embezzlement, crime, drug mafia, nepotism and corruption have institutionalised under the Executive. The entire socioeconomic and political systems of this country have been taken over by one family. They have ruined this country that is now engulfed in corruption and blatant abuse of power. It is against this that I am coming forward as the common candidate of the opposition”.

But the thugs were in the SLFP barracks, the rogues were in the SLFP cave, the druggies were in the SLFP den and the nepotists were in the SLFP family. Reality demanded, common sense dictated that no new civilised era based on democratic values of the sort Maithripala promised to usher would ever see the light of day without turning to rubble the said institutionalised scourge of our times and evicting its squatters, banishing them far beyond the pale of return.

Maithripala Sirisena would have known then, even he should know now, that he could not and cannot usher in his promised dawn for a new Lanka without first cleaning his party stables or make a spiffy Lankan omelette without cracking the rotten SLFP eggshell.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Must Explain to the Nation as to why he Placed his Party Before his Country.’ »

US State Dept Tells Northern CM Wigneswaran to Tone Down “Genocide” Rhetoric and Cooperate with Colombo Govt in Reconcilation and Development Matters

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Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran received “tough tuition” from the US State Department during talks last Thursday, the Sunday Times learns. He was asked to soften his ‘genocide’ rhetoric and instead work with the Central Government in matters relating to reconciliation and the development of the province.

The Chief Minister is on a tour of the United States and Britain. He had, however, obtained permission from President Maithripala Sirisena for the visit and informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as protocol demanded.

His office deemed it as a private visit on the invitation of the Federation of Tamil Sangams (organisations) in North America.

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In the US, Chief Minister Wigneswaran had met Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal. It is learnt that he had been told to work towards reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Northern Province rather than up his rhetoric on genocide charges. He had been told that it was the best chance for him to work with the Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe Government.
Continue reading ‘US State Dept Tells Northern CM Wigneswaran to Tone Down “Genocide” Rhetoric and Cooperate with Colombo Govt in Reconcilation and Development Matters’ »

Egypt Born Actor Omar Sharif of “Dr.Zhivago” and “Lawrence of Arabia” Fame Dies in Cairo at the age of 83


Actor Omar Sharif, best known for his roles in classic films Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, has died aged 83.

Egypt-born Sharif won two Golden Globe awards and an Oscar nomination for his role as Sherif Ali in David Lean’s 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia.

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He won a further Golden Globe three years later for Doctor Zhivago.

Earlier this year, his agent confirmed he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

His agent Steve Kenis said: “He suffered a heart attack this afternoon in a hospital in Cairo.”

Continue reading ‘Egypt Born Actor Omar Sharif of “Dr.Zhivago” and “Lawrence of Arabia” Fame Dies in Cairo at the age of 83’ »

Coalition that Replaced Mahinda with Maithripala now Rallying Around UNP After Sirisena Betrayal

By

Dharisha Bastians

Talks began in earnest yesterday to re-forge the broad opposition coalition that ousted President Mahinda Rajapaksa in January, with the United National Party in the lead and several top SLFP members, the Jathika Hela Urumaya and Sarath Fonseka’s Democratic Party also tipped to join.

Former cricket skipper and Ports Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said negotiations were on to contest as an alliance called the Yahapalanaya Sandhavu Eksath Jathika Peramuna (the United National Front for Good Governance) that would unite the political parties and ministers that contributed to President Maithripala Sirisena’s victory on 8 January.

Ranatunga told BBC Sinhala that Ministers Rajitha Senaratne, Champika Ranawaka and several others were expected to join the alliance.

Continue reading ‘Coalition that Replaced Mahinda with Maithripala now Rallying Around UNP After Sirisena Betrayal’ »

Rajitha,Champika,Arjuna,SB,MKDS,Sudharshini,Sarath,Reginald,Hirunika and Several Others to Join UNP in Anti – Mahinda Front

By

Disna Mudalige and Buddhika Imbulana

Several UPFA stalwarts decided to join the UNP yesterday to form a broad political front for the forthcoming Parliamentary election with the aim of protecting the ‘January 8″ mandate. Several ex-Parliamentarians of the UPFA, including Patali Champika Ranawaka and Rajitha Senaratne, had held discussions with the UNP in this regard,informed political sources told the Daily News.

The group will join the UNP as the “United Font for Good Governance” with the symbol ‘diamond’. They will however contest the election under the United National Party ticket, the Daily News learns UPFA stalwarts namely Rajitha Senaratne, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Arjuna Ranatunga, S.B. Dissanayake, M.K.D.S Gunawardena, Piyasena Gamage, Sarath Amunugama, Reginald Cooray, Sudharshini Fernandopulle, Neomal Perera, Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera and Hirunika Premachandra are likely to join the front, political sources said. Some of the ex-MPs who took part in the discussion have already signed nomination papers to contest from the UPFA. “They will have to withdraw their signatures before joining the new front,” a Parliamentarian involved in the discussions told the Daily News.

Meanwhile, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga too is expected to returtn to Sri Lanka next week. Sources close to the former President said she would make a special statement next week, explaining her position on the Parliamentary election.

Continue reading ‘Rajitha,Champika,Arjuna,SB,MKDS,Sudharshini,Sarath,Reginald,Hirunika and Several Others to Join UNP in Anti – Mahinda Front’ »

UNP Under Leadership of Ranil Holds Special Party Convention in Upbeat Mood to Devise Strategy for August 17th Elections

By

Rasika Somarathna

The United National Party (UNP) is expected to make several important announcements related to the upcoming Parliamentary election at today’s Special Party Convention held under the leadership of Prime Minister and Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at Campbell Park, Colombo.

The party leadership will place several proposals related to the election before the convention, party sources said.

The UNP has also invited a number of other political parties to attend the event.

The special convention will focus on the party’s election campaignn and strategies for the August 17 Parliamentary poll.

Continue reading ‘UNP Under Leadership of Ranil Holds Special Party Convention in Upbeat Mood to Devise Strategy for August 17th Elections’ »

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress to contest polls with United National Party


by

Nushka Nafeel

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader Rauf Hakeem announced that the party will contest the upcoming general election with the United National Party.

“The SLMC intends to protect the mandate given to the people on January 8 to assure good governance through a coalition of several parties,” he said.

Hakeem was addressing a press briefing at the SLMC party headquarters.

“The SLMC would contest alone from the Batticaloa and Vanni districts under the Tree symbol, while it would contest the Ampara, Puttalam, Kurunegala, Kalutara, Kandy and Gampaha districts with the UNP under the Elephant symbol,” Hakeem added.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Muslim Congress to contest polls with United National Party’ »

Maithripala Sirisena Betrays the Jan 8 Democratic Revolution and Turns Himself From Hero to Zero.

By

Dharisha Bastians


When you play a game of thrones, you either win or you die

– A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin

On 8 January 2015, once he had cast his vote in Polonnaruwa, Maithripala Sirisena and his family made their way to remote coconut estate in Kurunegala. The movement occurred at dusk, when the waning light helped to hide the small convoy of vehicles carrying the future first family to their refuge for election night. When he made the decision to contest Mahinda Rajapaksa for the presidency, Sirisena knew he had placed his life and the lives of his family in the gravest danger.

When he stepped out of the Rajapaksa Government and announced his candidacy in November 2014, Sirisena spoke poignant words at New Town Hall about how his children had wept when he had told them his decision. The broken state of Sri Lanka’s democracy, battered by nine years of Rajapaksa rule ensured that any direct challenger of President Rajapaksa’s tight grip on power, even in an election he himself had called, was dancing with death.

The Sirisena family’s retirement to a remote corner of the Kurunegala District on election night was tacit acknowledgement of this terrible threat. The time it would take to locate the family the morning after could well have meant the crucial hours between life, death or incarceration for Maithripala Sirisena and his immediate family.

So it was that when Sobitha Thero spoke ominous words last weekend, about the consequences of giving Mahinda Rajapaksa the political space to enter Parliament and stake a claim for the presidency, President Sirisena, better than anyone, knew exactly what he meant.

“You are fighting to try and protect your party. But remember this. If you make this decision, the rest of us will have to battle to save our lives,” said the Thero to President Sirisena. It was these words that had visibly shaken the President, sources who were present at the meeting told Daily FT. “Please ape hamuduruwane, don’t upset yourself. Please wait two or three days and all these things will be sorted out,” Sirisena assured the monk who had fought hard to win him the presidency.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Sirisena Betrays the Jan 8 Democratic Revolution and Turns Himself From Hero to Zero.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe’ s Political Conduct Compelled Maithripala Sirisena to Re-align Himself with Mahinda Rajapaksa

BY DR. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

Who was it who narrowed the gap between President Sirisena and ex-President Rajapaksa?

Whose efforts were strong and effective enough to override the wishes of the external consortium that backed the peaceful ‘regime change’ of January 8th?

Was it the SLFP Establishment, i.e. its top bureaucrats and old warhorses?

Was it Basil Rajapaksa?

Was it the Buddhist Sangha?

Or could it have been the Chinese?

Not really!

It was Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, whose political behavior in the short period in which he held office was so polarizing that President Sirisena felt the ground shifting beneath him and was forced to act to re-stabilize the situation.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe’ s Political Conduct Compelled Maithripala Sirisena to Re-align Himself with Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

Key Civil Society Members who Helped Elect President Sirisena Feel Cheated and Betrayed by his Turnaround now


By

Rasika Jayakody

Key civil society members, who were instrumental in the election victory of President Maithripala Sirisena in January, have expressed disappointment over the nomination process of the UPFA during a meeting held with the President on Wednesday night.

They informed the President that the civil society felt “betrayed” and “cheated” after the UPFA agreed to give nomination to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the Parliamentary election from the UPFA.

National Movement for Social Justice Convener Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera turned down the request to take part in the meeting on the grounds that there was no room for any discussion as the nominations had already been finals.

However, Gamini Viyangoda, Professor Sarath Wijesuriya, Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri, Dambara Amila Thera, Saman Rathnapriya, Dharmasiri Bandaranayake, Joseph Stalin, Ravi Jayawardena and Keerthi Tennakoon attended the meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat on Wednesday night.

Continue reading ‘Key Civil Society Members who Helped Elect President Sirisena Feel Cheated and Betrayed by his Turnaround now’ »

President Sirisena Fires Political Torpedo Shattering Triumphal Mood in Mahinda Rajapaksa Camp


In what appears to be a bold tactical manoeuvre calculated to thwart Ex- President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s hopes of making a successful comeback, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has conveyed a terse message to the Medamulana camp that has transformed the current political climate drastically. The message amounting to a political torpedo now threatens to sink the ambitious ship in which Mahinda and his loyalist coterie of supporters hoped to sail to power smoothly.

It is learnt that President Sirisena who agreed to nomination being given to former President Rajapaksa to contest the forthcoming parliamentary elections as a United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) candidate has now stipulated certain conditions regarding such nomination.

President Sirisena has stated at the outset that Mahinda Rajapaksa would not be appointed as prime minister. Also Mahinda must not contest in any district other than his native Hambantota district. He has also emphasised that the former President would not be permitted to spearhead the election propaganda campaign of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) which is the chief constituent of the UPFA. Furthermore he has stressed that Mahinda himself will have to contest only under the betel symbol of UPFA. Emphasising further President Sirisena has said that Mahinda Rajapaksa has got only UPFA nomination and not SLFP nomination.He would not be allowed the hand symbol of the SLFP in case the UPFA and SLFP contest separately if the necessity arises. President Sirisena has indicated that he is contemplating the pulling out of the SLFP from the UPFA and contesting independently if circumstances warrant it.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Fires Political Torpedo Shattering Triumphal Mood in Mahinda Rajapaksa Camp’ »

Under the Guise of Protecting Human Rights and Establishing Democracy: US Intervention in Sri Lanka

By

Jamili Natasha Gooneratne

SLUSA82013
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The paper argues that strong US intervention in Sri Lanka after the end of the island’s armed conflict in 2009 is not based on altruistic efforts to protect human rights as presented in mainstream sources, but stems from deepening US geopolitical and ideological interests in the Indian Ocean region. Keywords: Sri Lanka-US relations, US foreign policy, North-South relations, Neoliberal policy, interventionism, Indian Ocean, US-China relations
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Introduction

The discourse regarding Sri Lanka within international media has intensified since 2009, when the then government of president Mahinda Rajapaksa announced that it had defeated terrorism in the form of the armed non-state group known as the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) [recognized as an international terrorist organisation by the US in 1997], that Sri Lanka had been in armed conflict with since the early 80s. Sri Lanka’s announcement prompted widespread reports of humanitarian law violations, and human rights abuses by both sides. A week after the announcement, on May 26th, the UN Human Rights Council held a special two-day session on the situation in Sri Lanka, concluding in the adoption of a resolution commending the state for the policies it had adopted. The resolution passed with 29 votes in favor, 12 against, and 6 abstentions.

The United States was not a member of the UNHRC at the time, but would begin its term in June that same year. During its statement as an observer, the US permanent Mission’s Charge d’Affaires, Mark C. Storella noted that ‘This is an important moment in the life of the Sri Lankan nation, and we should all recognize that the Sri Lankan people are emerging from terrible conflict against the LTTE, an implacable foe[1].’ In retrospect, the statement was if anything supportive of the Sri Lankan state and even went as far to draw attention to the joint statement concluded by the government of Sri Lanka and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, that international human rights advocacy groups had criticized for being too complacent toward the state.

But in a space of 5 years US-Sri Lankan relations would alter dramatically, with the US bringing in a country-specific HRC resolution against Sri Lanka in 2012 which was adopted by vote. By the time the UNP, the Sri Lankan liberal political party, led government replaces the former Rajapaksa government in 2015, US Secretary of State John Kerry publicly refers to the Sri Lankan conflict as the ‘…30 years of war with the Tamils…’[2] and not the LTTE. In the space after the conflict ended, numerous international media would portray Sri Lanka as an authoritarian led melting pot of human rights abuses and the country would receive far more publicized attention than it had received during the entire 30 years of its conflict. This paper begins by asking the question, why?

Continue reading ‘Under the Guise of Protecting Human Rights and Establishing Democracy: US Intervention in Sri Lanka’ »

Tony Ranasinghe, the Greatest Character Actor and Romantic Lover in Sinhala Cinema

By

D.B.S. Jeyaraj

“Tony as an actor is the best character-based actor not even witnessed in the Indian screen. He has an actor within himself who emerges at the correct moment. Tony Ranasinghe is the best character actor in Asia” – Gamini Fonseka.

Tony Ranasinghe

Tony Ranasinghe

“Tony Aiya was a well-read man of wisdom. Not only as his co-star, but also as an outsider, I tremendously enjoyed watching Tony Aiya on the screen and to date I find him the most romantic lover we’ve had in our films. There will never be another Tony” Malani Fonseka.

Sinhala cinema began moving away from Indian “masala” influence and started coming into its own in the sixties and seventies of the last century. Four great male actors made their mark in that golden phase of Sinhala moviedom. They were, in alphabetical order – Joe Abeywickrama, Gamini Fonseka, Vijaya Kumaratunga and Tony Ranasinghe. Alas! All four famous thespians are no more now.

TR YT

The first to depart was the youngest of them all, Vijaya Kumaratunga, who was born in 1945. His life was brutally snatched away in 1988. Vijaya who had begun engaging effectively in politics was assassinated. Gamini Fonseka, born in 1936, passed away in his sleep in 2004. Veteran Joe Abeywickrama, who was born in 1927, died four years ago in 2011. The last of the legendary four – Tony Ranasinghe – bade farewell to his numerous fans a few weeks ago on 16 June. He was born on 31 July 1937.
Continue reading ‘Tony Ranasinghe, the Greatest Character Actor and Romantic Lover in Sinhala Cinema’ »

“Maithripala and Mahinda Factions Within SLFPHave Sunk Their Differences” say Premjayantha and Priyadarshana Yapa.

by Shamindra Ferdinando

UPFA Gen. Secretary Susil Premjayantha and SLFP Gen. Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa yesterday said that rival factions within the former ruling party had sunk their differences and were ready for the August 17 general election.

The SLFP had been able to avert a post-January 8 presidential poll split, though some issues remained to be resolved, they said.

The party called the media briefing yesterday in the wake of further turmoil consequent to Premjayantha’s announcement last Friday that President Maithripala Sirisena was agreeable to accommodate Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Former MP Yapa said that the main constituent of the UPFA had identified its weaknesses that had led to their defeat at the January polls and was in the process of tackling disputes.

Yapa emphasised that the SLFP was a modern political organisation capable of facing challenges. The former minister underscored the political significance of President Maithripala Sirisena taking over the leadership of the SLFP and having a dialogue with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Acknowledging the difficulties experienced during negotiations, Yapa said that their effort wasn’t meant to strengthen the positin of any individual but to clear hurdles in the opposition’s path.

Continue reading ‘“Maithripala and Mahinda Factions Within SLFPHave Sunk Their Differences” say Premjayantha and Priyadarshana Yapa.’ »

Maithripala Maintains Baffling Public Silence While Mahinda Prepares to Contest from Kurunegala District.

By Dharisha Bastians

As the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and its leading constituent party, the SLFP, made conflicting claims regarding nominations for ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the alliance list, President Maithripala Sirisena’s public silence on the controversial issue continued to baffle loyalists and supporters of his presidential bid in January.

With nominations scheduled to close at 12 noon next Monday (13), the UPFA is racing against the clock to finalise its candidate lists and iron out differences between its Rajapaksa and Sirisena factions ahead of the deadline.

Reports emerged on Tuesday that President Sirisena had imposed strict conditions on Rajapaksa’s candidacy, including that the former President would have to contest in his home district of Hambantota and nowhere else and that he would not be permitted to lead the UPFA campaign.

But Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala De Silva dropped a bombshell in Welimada yesterday, when he told a meeting in Uva-Paranagama that the former President would be signing nomination papers tomorrow (10).
“We asked President Rajapaksa which district he wanted, he is going to contest from Kurunegala, that is certain,” De Silva told the meeting.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Maintains Baffling Public Silence While Mahinda Prepares to Contest from Kurunegala District.’ »

Ranil’s Attack on COPE Chairman Gunasekera is an Assault on the Parliamentary System Itself says Prof GL Peiris.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday alleged that Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe’s attack on former Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) D.E.W. Gunasekera was nothing but an assault on the parliamentary system itself.

Prof. Peiris was responding to Premier Wickremesinghe accusing General Secretary of the Communist Party Gunasekara of misleading Parliament as well as the country as regards investigations undertaken by a 13-member subcommittee of the COPE into the alleged Central Bank bond scam.

The SLFPer said that Gunasekera had earned the wrath of the UNP in the wake of COPE revelations. Prof. Peiris pointed out that all six reports submitted by the former COPE chief during 2010-2014 period had been acceptable to the UNP and no one questioned the veteran politician’s integrity until he intervened in the Central Bank affair.

Continue reading ‘Ranil’s Attack on COPE Chairman Gunasekera is an Assault on the Parliamentary System Itself says Prof GL Peiris.’ »

Special Media Briefing by Ranil Amounts to a Confession on Treasury Bonds Issue Charges SLFP

By Chamodi Gunawardana

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) yesterday charged that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had essentially made a confession over the Central Bank Treasury bond issue by organising a special media briefing at Sirikotha on Tuesday.

SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa told the media that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe had insulted one of the county’s most respected people, Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) Subcommittee Chairman and former senior minister D.E.W. Gunasekara, by issuing false statements over the Treasury bond issue.

Continue reading ‘Special Media Briefing by Ranil Amounts to a Confession on Treasury Bonds Issue Charges SLFP’ »

What Maithripala Sirisena said About Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Corruption Earlier – Newspaper Report Excerpts

By

Upul Joseph Fernando

President Maithripala Sirisena in the run up to the last January presidential election put the country and the people before party politics. Today we reproduce important contents of his speeches made during that period and published in our sister paper Mawbima for an analysis to ascertain whether he had truly put the country before party politics after occupying the presidency of this country over the past six months as a general election has been fixed for 17 August. This upcoming election has caused confusion in the manner most confounded within the UPFA and the SLFP with Maithripala’s predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa reportedly offered nominations by Sirisena’s UPFA.

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“After giving nominations at the Elections Commissioner’s office Mahinda tried his best to shake hands with me. I never give my clean hands and he attempted many times to grab it. As a true Sinhala Buddhist I greeted him in the traditional clasping of both palms in a firm manner”. (Maithri addresses UNP Lawyers Meeting- Mawbima report on 10-12-2014)

Comment – How could Maithri who stated like that give nominations with his clean hands to Mahinda? How can he board the same platform with Mahinda? People raise such questions. Following is what Maithri said during the last presidential election. We do not know whether he remembers what he told then.

Continue reading ‘What Maithripala Sirisena said About Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Corruption Earlier – Newspaper Report Excerpts’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Blasts D.E.W.Gunesekera Over Releasing Documents Relating to COPE Probe on Treasury Bonds Issue

By Dharisha Bastians

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday slammed former Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) Chairman and MP D.E.W. Gunesekera for violating the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act and using his position as head of the legislative oversight committee to gain political advantage.

Wickremesinghe has already written to the Secretary General of Parliament and the Speaker saying MP Gunesekera was in contravention of Section 22 of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act by his conduct last week to make public documents under the purview of the COPE subcommittee probing the Central Bank bond issue.

“The Act prohibits the publication of any proceedings in any Committee of Parliament before they report to the House and also guilty of publishing a false and perverted report of the proceedings of a Committee of Parliament and punishable under Section 22 of the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act,” Wickremesinghe told the Speaker in his letter.

Wickremesinghe told reporters yesterday that with the dissolution of Parliament, Gunesekera had ceased to be a MP. “The only three positions still active and authorised to deal with Parliamentary matters are the Prime Minister, the Speaker and the Opposition Leader,” he explained. “Other than these three, no one else has the authority to release documents pertaining to Parliamentary matters,” Wickremesinghe said.

He said the documents released by the former COPE Chairman were put forward by Gunesekera himself, and were not official COPE reports.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Blasts D.E.W.Gunesekera Over Releasing Documents Relating to COPE Probe on Treasury Bonds Issue’ »

Western Provincial Councillor Hirunika Premachandra Marries TV Presenter/Model Hiran Yatovita with Maithripala and Rajitha as Witnesses.

facebook.com/pages/Hirunika-Premachandra

facebook.com/pages/Hirunika-Premachandra

Western Provincial Councillor Hirunika Eranjali Premachandra married TV presenter/model Hiran Yattovita today July 6th 2015 at a private function attended by only a handful of guests.

facebook.com/pages/Hirunika-Premachandra

facebook.com/pages/Hirunika-Premachandra

President Maithripala Sirisena and Health Minister Rajitha Senarathne signed as witnesses.

Continue reading ‘Western Provincial Councillor Hirunika Premachandra Marries TV Presenter/Model Hiran Yatovita with Maithripala and Rajitha as Witnesses.’ »

President Sirisena Pondering Whether to Pull SLFP out of UPFA and Contest Independently Without Mahinda and his Loyalists

By
Dharisha Bastians

President Maithripala Sirisena, beleaguered and facing strong criticism about his decision to grant nominations to his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa, has asked confidants for a 48-hour grace period ending tomorrow, Daily FT learns.

President Sirisena, who has maintained a stony public silence on the issue of nominations for the defeated President, has sought privately to calm the fears of some of the leaders of the opposition movement that supported his candidacy in the January election, highly-placed sources told Daily FT.

Over the weekend, President Sirisena met with several key political and civil society leaders involved with the common candidacy platform at the presidential election, where he was at the receiving end of strong criticism from senior figures who encouraged his presidential bid, Daily FT learns.

On Sunday night, President Sirisena also met with the anti-Mahinda group of the SLFP, which walked out of the Rajapaksa Government in November last year to support his candidacy from the common opposition.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Pondering Whether to Pull SLFP out of UPFA and Contest Independently Without Mahinda and his Loyalists’ »

“President Sirisena Must tell the Country Whether he is Standing with Mahinda or not” – Purawesi Balaya.

An alliance of civil society organisations that strongly backed Maithripala Sirisena’s bid for the presidency in January this year, demanded that the President address the nation and clarify his position with regard to granting nominations from the UPFA to his defeated predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Purawesi Balaya (Citizens’ Power) held a news conference yesterday, strongly criticising the moves to bring Rajapaksa back into power through Parliament and said the President was now facing a crisis of credibility.

Convenor of the movement, senior journalist and academic Gamini Viyangoda told reporters that 6.2 million people had voted for Maithripala Sirisena at the January election, not because of his 40-year political history, but because of his anti-Rajapaksa stand.

Viyangoda said it did not matter what the President said to rationalise the decision, whether it was to protect the SLFP or the implement the Bandaranaike policies in the country.

“None of these excuses are sufficient to justify bringing Mahinda Rajapaksa back into Parliament,” he charged.

Continue reading ‘“President Sirisena Must tell the Country Whether he is Standing with Mahinda or not” – Purawesi Balaya.’ »

After Giving Nomination to Mahinda now Maithripala set to Form Anti – Rajapaksa Alliance with Ranil and Chandrika

By

P.K. Balachandran

Following the granting of the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) parliamentary election ticket to former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his rival and serving President Maithripala Sirisena is set to form an anti-Rajapaksa alliance with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

This was evident on Sunday when Sirisena and Wickremesinghe attended Kumaratunga’s 70th birthday celebrations and spoke about Kumaratunga’s contribution to Sri Lanka in glowing terms. While the function was attended by key supporters of Sirisena and Wickremesinghe, supporters of Rajapaksa were conspicuously absent.

Speaking on the occasion, Sirisena praised Kumaratunga for not being corrupt and for promoting ethnic reconciliation when she was Lankan President from 1995 to 2005. He was indirectly contrasting her with Rajapaksa, who had become known for being corrupt and being against ethnic reconciliation.

Continue reading ‘After Giving Nomination to Mahinda now Maithripala set to Form Anti – Rajapaksa Alliance with Ranil and Chandrika’ »

Victorious “Rainbow”Coalition Begins to Crack After President Sirisena Capitulates to Mahinda Rajapaksa.

By Dharisha Bastians

Sri Lanka’s victorious ‘rainbow’ coalition that came together in November 2014 to support the common opposition candidacy splintered by the end of the weekend, after President Maithripala Sirisena capitulated and agreed to allow his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest on the UPFA ticket.

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), a small but key ally that strongly backed the Sirisena candidacy for the 8 January election, formally broke with the UPFA coalition led by President Sirisena, and announced it will contest independently at the 17 August parliamentary poll.

Continue reading ‘Victorious “Rainbow”Coalition Begins to Crack After President Sirisena Capitulates to Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »

Maithripala and Mahinda are like the Mongoose and Cobra Afloat on the Same log in a Flood

(Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Island” of July 6th 2015)

Nothing is so certain as the unexpected in politics. President Maithripala Sirisena has finally agreed to nominate his bête noire, Mahinda Rajapaksa, to contest the August 17 polls. Both of them have made compromises; the former said he would never field Rajapaksa on the UPFA ticket and the latter spared no pains to be named the UPFA’s prime ministerial candidate. Now, it has been left to the UPFA parliamentary group to decide who should be the Prime Minister in case of an SLFP-led government being formed.

Rajapaksa underestimated Sirisena before the last presidential election and lost the presidency. Thereafter, the latter made the mistake of trying to write off the former and was faced with the prospect of the SLFP losing the next election. Obviously, there is no love lost between the two leaders and they have had to bury the hatchet for their mutual survival. What we have just witnessed is another political marriage of convenience.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala and Mahinda are like the Mongoose and Cobra Afloat on the Same log in a Flood’ »

Maithripala Avoids Answering Question in Public by Ranil Whether Jan 8 Revolution is still on track

President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and a host of other political leaders participated in an event to honour former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, on the occasion of her 70th birthday which fell on 29 June.

The event took place amid serious turmoil on the political front, after President Sirisena agreed to grant his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa a nomination on the UPFA ticket last Friday.

During his speech Prime Minister Wickremesinghe asked President Sirisena light-heartedly to let everyone know if the 8 January revolution and their plan of work were still on track.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Avoids Answering Question in Public by Ranil Whether Jan 8 Revolution is still on track’ »

Anti-Rajapaksa Camp Bitterly Alleges now that President Sirisena has Betrayed the Country


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Now that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has decided to grant nomination to ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the forthcoming general elections, a sense of gloom has dawned on certain quarters of the public who genuinely loath the long-term effects of the ex-President’s political comeback. Such sentiments are quite understandable. A sizable portion of the total 6.2 million people who voted against the authoritarian ex-President now fear that he would roll back democratic reforms that were introduced by the new administration.

Even if he fails to reverse democratic reforms which have already been implemented, chances are that, should he ever win and be appointed the Prime Minister, he would stall any new measures aimed at democratization. That would mean, among other things; the much awaited Right to Information Act risks becoming a non-starter; the UNP, for the second time, has killed the initiative through its procrastination. During the short-lived Ranil Wickremesinghe administration of 2003-2004, the Bill had been entered into the order paper when President Kumaratunga dissolved the then Parliament.

And the bitterness of the anti-Rajapaksa camp has now been directed towards President Maithripala Sirisena, whom, they alleged, has ‘betrayed’ the January 8 revolution. Those feelings born out from the sense of frustration are understandable given the high expectations the public had placed in the President. However, the problem is while the sky is the limit for election promises, it is not humanely, or constitutionally possibly to achieve all that (unless, of course, the new President opts to emulate his authoritarian predecessor).

There is frustration at the slow progress in the investigations into allegations of corruption levelled against the former first family and their cronies. That may be the case. However, the wheel of justice has been moving even though slowly and investigations have proved to be time-consuming. The alternative to that would have been the Rajapaksa model: Get your faithful female High Court Judge to jail your presidential contender on trumped-up charges (ex: Sarath Fonseka) or set up a Kangaroo Court under the euphemism of a court martial.

President Sirisena did not choose that path; nor did Sri Lankans vote him to power to emulate the autocratic tactics of his predecessor. The partial paralysis in our institutions, which has for long been subjected to political manipulations, has partially helped Rajapaksa’s political comeback. However, by not interfering with the judicial process, the new administration has set a precedent on judicial independence and facilitated an organic growth of those independent institutions. One can only hope that MR, if he ever lands in the office of Prime Minister, would not reverse that process.

Continue reading ‘Anti-Rajapaksa Camp Bitterly Alleges now that President Sirisena has Betrayed the Country’ »

Maithripala Sirisena Waves White Flag and Capitulates to Mahinda Rajapaksa

(Text of Editorial Appearing in the Colombo “Sunday Times” of July 5th 2015)

And so, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa threw his hat into the ring for the forthcoming Parliamentary elections with some pressure politics this week, the culmination of a long drawn-out, well-orchestrated campaign that saw his successor, President Maithripala Sirisena, eventually capitulate.

The timing of Mr. Rajapaksa’s announcement from his hometown of Tangalla on Adhi Esala full moon poya day was carefully crafted. It is unlikely he would have declared his candidature without a tacit understanding already reached that he was not going to be snubbed. He also got a jibe in; “Unlike others,” he said, “I never left the party”. The message was meant to resonate with faithful followers of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), whose current leader is Mr. Sirisena.

For months, the country has had nothing better to do than witness Mr. Rajapaksa stirring the pot; pulling strings within not just his own SLFP, but the broader coalition United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). He was able to garner their support with his presence and his perseverance.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Sirisena Waves White Flag and Capitulates to Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

Battle Lines Drawn for 2015 General Elections Between Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa

General elections 2015: MR’s nomination ups the ante

By Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

The chips are down – the battle lines for the 2015 general election have been drawn between two key political personalities – Ranil Wickremesinghe, UNP leader and the party’s prime ministerial candidate, and Mahinda Rajapaksa, the former president whose nomination from the UPFA was confirmed by that coalition’s leadership at the eleventh hour, without naming him as prime ministerial candidate. Just how the innumerable variables in this contest will shift, combine and coalesce to produce a new parliament, will be the stuff of public debate and political movement in the two months ahead.

On Friday evening UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha issued a brief statement announcing the decision made at a party leaders’ meeting presided over by UPFA leader, President Maithripala Sirisena, where it was agreed that Rajapaksa would be given nomination. The surprise announcement was followed by a press conference at Abhayaramaya, Narahenpita, addressed by some of the former president’s main supporters including former MPs Dinesh Gunewardena (MEP), Vasudeva Nanayakkara (DLF), Wimal Weerawansa (NFF) and Tissa Vitarana (LSSP) along with former SLFP MPs G L Peiris and Dulles Alahaperuma.

The stalwarts behind the ‘bring-back-Mahinda’ project described the moment as a milestone in their long campaign to have Rajapaksa lead the UPFA to victory in the upcoming election. They evaded a journalist’s question as to whether he will be given the top spot in parliament in the event of a UPFA victory, referring instead to a remark by Sirisena that if the UPFA won, the choice of prime minister would be made by the elected MPs.

Continue reading ‘Battle Lines Drawn for 2015 General Elections Between Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

UNP in Trouble as 19 Page COPE Report Makes “Charges” Against Arjuna Mahendran and his son in law Arjun Joseph Aloysius



UPFA leaders are busy preparing outlines for their polls campaign. As reported earlier, among the main issues they claim are “threats to national security.” This is the result of the Government’s talks with the Global Tamil Forum in London and related issues.

Another is the Central Banks Treasury Bond scandal. Details of this scandal have entered the public domain.

Here is how the issue played out in the past days. In the hours before dissolution of Parliament on Friday June 30, Communist Party leader D.E.W. Gunasekera, Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), was very busy. He wanted to lay before the public the details of the issue at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) over the Treasury Bonds. Gunasekera had worked on the interim report by a Subcommittee which he had chaired. The draft was being finalised on Thursday night (June 30) for presentation to Parliament the next day, Friday (June 31).

Continue reading ‘UNP in Trouble as 19 Page COPE Report Makes “Charges” Against Arjuna Mahendran and his son in law Arjun Joseph Aloysius’ »

Maithripala’s Capitulation, Mahinda’s Brinkmanship and and Ranil’s Consternation

By

C.A. Chandraprema

The announcement on Friday evening by UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayanth to the effect that President Maithripala Sirisena has agreed to grant nominations to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa was greeted with anguish and fury by the yahapalana types. Much of the anger may stem from the suspicion that had been rankling in the minds of some following the secret meeting held between Sirisena and Rajapaksa just before Parliament was dissolved. In any event, after Rajapaksa announced from Medamulana on July 1 that he would be contesting the forthcoming election, President Sirisena was faced with two choices. He could either field Mahinda and ensure that the UPFA puts up a good showing or he could force MR to contest separately and risk falling to a poor third.

Some weeks ago, President Sirisena tried his best to prevent the Mahinda group from having a separate May Day but he failed. To make things worse, he went ahead with his own May Day rally in Hyde Park which was a complete fiasco as described in this column at the time. If the SLFP/UPFA contested the parliamentary election without Mahinda, the result may have resembled the May Day outcome. As last week drew to an end, Sirisena may have seen signs of which way things would go if he did not allow MR to contest on the UPFA ticket. By Thursday, individuals who had been seen as middle of the roaders were openly declaring themselves for Mahinda.

One example was Chandima Weerakkody the former deputy speaker of parliament. Though he attended some of the bring-Mahinda-back rallies, his rhetoric was that of uniting CBK, Mahinda and Maithri and contesting the election together. He in fact spoke out against those who said that they will even follow MR out of the SLFP. But last Thursday, Weerakkody took a different stand and he said that they will make every effort towards maintaining unity but if that is not possible, he will opt to go with Mahinda.

Another seeming middle of the roader was Duminda Silva who was generally maintaining a low profile without openly identifying with Mahinda. So far as this writer can recall, he was not seen at any of the bring Mahinda back rallies. Furthermore, it was largely Duminda Silva who saved President Sirisena’s self respect last May Day. Duminda brought with him a large crowd which occupied the space available inside the Hyde Park grounds and remained at the meeting without disappearing. The crowds brought by other organizers simply walked off without even looking at the stage. Even with Duminda’s crowd in the grounds, the Hyde Park meeting was a fiasco, but without Duminda the speakers would have been addressing an empty playground.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala’s Capitulation, Mahinda’s Brinkmanship and and Ranil’s Consternation’ »

After Giving Nomination to Mahinda , Maithripala Keeps away from Birthday Celebration for Chandrika to Avoid her and Ranil

Six months ago they were political arch enemies. Like the saying goes, politics makes strange bedfellows. So it was.

Last Friday, President Maithripala Sirisena agreed to allow his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the August 17 parliamentary elections.

Now, they appear to be not only chummy, but concerned of each other.

After the official announcement of Rajapaksa’s candidature, UPFA leaders, with the exception of Sirisena, met on Friday night at the official residence of Western Provincial Council Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga. It will be recalled that on an earlier occasion, it was he who floated the idea if the leadership of the SLFP itself should be called into question.

For moments the gathering took a formal air. They adopted a unanimous resolution thanking UPFA and SLFP leader President Maithripala Sirisena for nominating Rajapaksa as a candidate. They resolved that no statements detrimental to him (President Sirisena) should be made by any member of the Alliance. Then the mood took a festive air.

Continue reading ‘After Giving Nomination to Mahinda , Maithripala Keeps away from Birthday Celebration for Chandrika to Avoid her and Ranil’ »

President Maithripala Sirisena Surrenders to Ex – President Mahinda Rajapaksa by Giving him Nomination

Six months after being voted out of the presidency, Percy Mahendra Rajapaksa has bounced back to become a candidate for the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) at the August 17 parliamentary elections. He will choose from three different districts — Gampaha, Kurunegala or Ratnapura.

“I was willing to agree to anything that would not divide our party. We will ensure a victory and protect our country,” Rajapaksa told the Sunday Times. His successor, President Maithripala Sirisena, had earlier ruled out any role for him at the polls. The doors of the UPFA were thrown wide open to him on Friday. His close allies are now striving hard to persuade Sirisena to let Rajapaksa lead the campaign, though he has refused to name Rajapaksa as the prime ministerial candidate. They believe that is an issue to be tackled after the polls.

These developments saw dark clouds swallowing up the ‘rainbow coalition’ that emerged after the presidential election of January 8. Some 40 political parties and civil society organisations had led a turbo-charged campaign to ensconce Sirisena as the sixth Executive President of Sri Lanka. To say they were disappointed would be an understatement. They were livid. “It is unbelievable that such a thing could happen. In politics, nothing is impossible. We will have to wait and see,” said a shocked Minister Lakshman Kiriella, Leader of the House and Senior Vice President of the United National Party (UNP), after the UPFA decision was announced.

Continue reading ‘President Maithripala Sirisena Surrenders to Ex – President Mahinda Rajapaksa by Giving him Nomination’ »

Maithripala Sirisena has his way but Mahinda Rajapaksa wins the day……….

There are no permanent friends or foes in politics, it is said. The centre stage of politics wonders what’s happening behind the screen. Mahinda Rajapaksa loyalists did not give up the battle to seek nomination to Mahinda. While the centre stage was kept in suspense about the issue, Susil Premajayantha on Friday issued a letter stating that the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has decided to give nomination to Mahinda and that the decision was taken at a meet presided over by President Maithripala Sirisena, the previous night. As it stands, the contents of this letter quoting Maithri had not been denied so far by him.

It stated that Mahinda would get UPFA nomination and there was no reference to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). Mahinda is a Patron of the SLFP and the SLFP is the main constituent of the UPFA. Therefore, Mahinda would certainly have to get nomination from the SLFP to contest the elections as the SLFP does not give nominations to the constituent parties in the Aliance. The SLFP General Secretary, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa is yet to issue a statement endorsing Premajayantha’s letter which stated that the UPFA had decided to give nomination to Mahinda.

Mahinda loyalists had done hard work to ensure that Mahinda gets nomination. The team led by Dinesh Gunawardene, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Kumara Welgama and Wimal Weerawansa worked round the clock to convince the SLFP leadership towards achieving that task. As it stands now, they’ve been successful as Mahinda has won the day. In the recent days several moves took place regarding the issue of nomination to Mahinda. The initial move was to name Mahinda as the prime ministerial candidate of the UPFA.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Sirisena has his way but Mahinda Rajapaksa wins the day……….’ »

Will Return of Mahinda Rajapaksa Change Sri Lankan Politics Again?


By COL R. HARIHARAN

Former Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa announced that he would accept his loyal supporters demand to contest the forthcoming parliamentary election to be held on August 17. According to media reports, thousands of supporters who had gathered at his home ground in Medamulana cheered him when he said “I am not ready to reject the appeal you are all making.” He indicated that he would be rallying his supporters across all parties “for the sake of the country, for the sake of mother land, we must contest the upcoming parliamentary election.

Earlier president Maithripala Sirisena dissolved the parliament and set the date for the election. The announcements of both the incumbent and former presidents were not unexpected. Time was running out for Sirisena after he failed to hammer out a consensus within the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) on rejecting the loyalists’ demand for nominating Rajapaksa as the party candidate for prime minister. According to Sri Lanka columnists, President Sirisena’s secret talks with the former president also failed to persuade Rajapaksa not to contest the election to avoid a split in the party.

There were other compulsions for President Sirisena to dissolve the parliament. Already, Rajapaksa loyalists’s within the United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) parliamentary party ranks had swelled to 80 plus. Any further delay could have not only eroded President Sirisena’s support within the party while enlarging Rajapaksa’s support base, but it would also help his detractors to push through the no confidence motion against Sirirsena’s political ally ruling alliance partner Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe pending before the parliament. Wickremesinghe leads the United National Party (UNP) traditional opponents of SLFP. With Rajapaksa loyalists bent upon splitting the SLFP votes, President Sirisena needs the UNP as an electoral ally to prevent Rajapaksa from coming back to power.

Continue reading ‘Will Return of Mahinda Rajapaksa Change Sri Lankan Politics Again?’ »

President Sirisena “Betrays” Jan 8 Mandate by Aligning with Former Rival Mahinda for Parliamentary Elections ?


By

Dharisha Bastians

The pro-Rajapaksa faction of the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance claimed a major victory with the announcement yesterday that Mahinda Rajapaksa would receive a nomination on the coalition ticket, but there was radio silence from the President’s Office about the decision.

At about 3.30 p.m. yesterday, UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha issued a press statement announcing the decision to grant the former President a nomination on the party ticket.

“Based on the UPFA party leaders’ meeting chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena on 2 July, as discussed it has been decided to grant former President Mahinda Rajapaksa a nomination for the forthcoming parliamentary elections,” the release which was signed by Premajayantha said.

There is still no official reaction to the announcement by the UPFA General Secretary from President Sirisena’s office or his aides at the time of going to press. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party Central Committee is yet to make a final decision on the nomination for the ex-President, Daily FT learns.

President Sirisena also holds the title of UPFA Chairman and could still exercise his powers to withhold the nomination, highly placed sources told Daily FT.

But pro-Rajapaksa UPFA leaders, holding a press briefing at the Abhayaramaya Temple in Narahenpita shortly after Premajayantha released the statement, hailed President Sirisena for his decision.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena “Betrays” Jan 8 Mandate by Aligning with Former Rival Mahinda for Parliamentary Elections ?’ »

UPFA Announces it will Nominate Ex- President Mahinda Rajapaksa as a Candidate at the Forthcoming Parliamentary Elections.

By

Dasun Edirisinghe

The UPFA yesterday announced that it had decided to field former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the forthcoming general election. Addressing a packed media audience at Abhayaramaya yesterday, former minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that the district where the former President Rajapaksa would enter the fray would be announced shortly.

Gunawardena said that UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha had issued a statement yesterday afternoon that the party had decided to nominate Rajapaksa to contest the upcoming polls.

The MEP leader said that the struggle they had launched from Nugegoda had reached fruition as the UPFA leadership had realised that the SLFP had to stay united to defeat the UNP. “We welcome the UPFA decision and thank President Maithripala Sirisena for his decision,” Gunawardena said, adding that they would now start the journey proper to defeat the corrupt UNP government.

Asked whether former President Rajapaksa would lead the UPFA campaign, Gunawardena said that it would be announced after handing over of nominations on July 13.

Continue reading ‘UPFA Announces it will Nominate Ex- President Mahinda Rajapaksa as a Candidate at the Forthcoming Parliamentary Elections.’ »

Maithripala Sirisena is now a Presidential Prop and Pin Up Boy.

By

Malinda Seneviratne

We don’t know if everyone who voted for Maithripala actually believed that Parliament would be dissolved in late April, i.e. when the much talked of and now hardly ever mentioned ‘100 Days’ came to an end. We don’t know if everyone who voted for Maithripala thought that he was capable of or interested in seeing electoral reform through (and, the Right to Information Act, Code of Conduct for MPs and other things that would have actually meant ‘real change’). We do know now that politicians of all hue knew that there would be elections, even if Parliament was not dissolved on the schedule printed in Maithripala’s manifesto.

This is why we’ve seen many worthies who ridiculed Mahinda Rajapaksa for his in-your-face, laughing-at-us cut-outs shedding all embarrassment to emulate that poster boy. Nominations have not closed. The parties haven’t picked candidates. But it looks like many have picked themselves as worthy of nomination and election.

Walls, poster-free for a long time, are tasting paapppa once again. And once again we have faces laughing at us at every turn. Some are known names. Some have been in Parliament or have been elected to lesser office. Some haven’t been elected but have contested often enough to enjoy some name-face recognition. Some are known in other circles. Some are unknown.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Sirisena is now a Presidential Prop and Pin Up Boy.’ »

Removing the Ban on Some Tamil Diaspora Organizations Listed as ” Foreign Terrorist”

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Sri Lanka’s ebullient Foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera is currently in the forefront of a move to review and possibly remove the ban imposed on certain Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora organizations and individuals designated as “terrorist” under provisions of the United Nations Act No 45 of 1968. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) and 15 other organizations functioning on foreign soil were proscribed as foreign terrorist organizations by Gazette Extraordinary 1856/41 of March 21st 2014. Apart from these 16 entities , a further 424 individuals with suspected LTTE links who were living in 19 countries including Sri Lanka were also listed.

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Foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera

The Gazette proclamation listing designated persons,groups and entities was done according to sub-paragraph (2) of paragraph (4) of the United Nations Regulations No. 1 of 2012 that was published in the Gazette Extraordinary No. 1758/19 of May 15, 2012.The designated Competent authority for establishing and maintaining the list with respect to natural persons, legal, persons, groups and entities was Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa who was then the Secretary, Defence and Urban Development ministry.
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“I will form a Govt that will take Forward the Development that has Stalled now” – Mahinda Rajapaksa

(Full text of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s speech at Medamulana on July 1st 2015)

It is with immense gratitude that I acknowledge your unwavering support for me and the national agenda I represent despite all the threats and intimidation in the period after the last presidential election. I warmly welcome all of you who have come here today to my home in my village. Today is Adhi Esala Poya day, the day on which the Buddha preached the Dhamma for the first time to his erstwhile companions the five ascetics. You have come here to invite me to contest the forthcoming parliamentary election. I left Temple Trees even before the Elections Commissioner had declared the final result.

Before I accept or reject your invitation, there is something that I have to say. After the last presidential election, I bowed my head to the verdict of the majority of the people. By taking that decision, what I proved was that I who entered the supreme legislature for the first time in 1970 as the youngest MP in that parliament and later served as a minister, leader of the opposition, prime minister and finally as president, have the highest regard for the principles of democracy. Many people who came to Tangalle have told me that many people in the country were surprised to see Mahinda Rajapaksa who had been labelled a dictator setting an exemplary democratic precedent in that manner.

The day after I came home, I summoned all our party leaders to Tangalle. I asked them about the fate of our party. They told me that with the release of the election results, our party members have had to face severe harassment at the hands of members of the United National Party. At that stage some were trying to set up an alternative Sri Lanka Freedom Party. On the 12th of January, I summoned our Central Committee and told them that in this crucial hour, we must safeguard our party. Thereafter at the request of the present executive president, I met him personally and handed over to him the leadership of the party. I handed over the party within seven days of the election. The party leadership has never changed hands earlier in that manner. After winning the presidential election of 2005, I had to wait for seven months to become leader of the party. I call upon the people to take note of the political significance of the decision I made to hand over the leadership of the party to the new president within seven days.

Continue reading ‘“I will form a Govt that will take Forward the Development that has Stalled now” – Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

Second Coming of Mahinda!Can Mahinda from Medamulana Rise Again?

By Dharisha Bastians in Medamulana

The monk’s voice booms through rustling coconut fronds, carrying on the soft breezes over lotus ponds and endlessly green fields of paddy.

“What is this title ‘former’ president? Is that how we refer to our ancient kings?”

On Esala full moon Poya day, the sleepy southern village of Medamulana is buzzing with activity, its narrow rural roads choked with traffic as people turnout in van and busloads, travelling through the night from Ratnapura, Divulapitiya and other far-off places. On every vehicle, stickers and banners feature a moustachioed man, wearing a wide grin and signature red shawl.

Ode to a moustache

As the final stragglers wend their way into the rambling gardens of the Medamulana Mahagedara , Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ancestral property in the Hambantota District, the monk breaks into a brief ode to this ‘jet-black’ moustache.

“When people are defeated, usually their physical appearance is also diminished. But look at you, you are looking better than ever. Look at that black moustache, how it adds to your strong personality!” the Buddhist priest waxed from within the house, his words carrying out to large crowds gathered under marquees set up in the garden and across the village roads on a public address system.

Continue reading ‘Second Coming of Mahinda!Can Mahinda from Medamulana Rise Again?’ »

Maithripala Sirisena has a Moral Obligation to see that his Promises are Delivered.


By

Malinda Seneviratne

President Maithripala Sirisena has reason to be grateful to Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP. True, gratitude-reason is a two-way street, but we are talking of the President, what he owes and to whom. He might owe something to former President Chandrika Kumaratunga too but probably not as much as the lady believes. Rajitha Senaratne also helped.

If getting things moving and getting message across count then he also owes a lot to Rev Athureliye Rathana Thero and Champika Ranawaka, and of course Rev Maduluwave Sobitha Thero. What checks were associated with this ‘support,’ their value, whether or not they were cashed and if cashed (in kind) what the benefits were only the transactors would know.

What we know is that gratitude is a virtue. The downside is that it is also associated with obligations, sometimes sanitized with the word ‘moral’.

If the President feels that he owes the UNP something (and he does!) he might have felt obliged to save that party and the august behinds of some of the top rankers. He might think that the morally upright thing to do is to use executive powers (not directly but by the threat of deployment in other context) and his position as the head of the SLFP to scuttle the no-confidence motions against Ravi Karunanayake and Ranil Wickremesinghe. He could have done that and stopped there instead of dissolving Parliament. He dissolved. He decided, the people and history will judge.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Sirisena has a Moral Obligation to see that his Promises are Delivered.’ »

“News 1st”to Launch new Political Show in the Mornings Hosted by Bandula Jayasekara and Chamika Roshan

Your mornings will never be the same again!

News 1st will launch a fresh, hard-hitting Morning Political Show ‘PRESS RELEASE’, hosted by former Diplomat , Editor and Presidential Spokesman Bandula Jayasekara and Chamika Roshan. The show will be aired every weekday morning at 6, on Sirasa TV. ‘PRESS RELEASE’will focus on the morning headlines, but also the main issues of the day. A viewer can expect an explosion of news, views and interviews!

Mahinda Rajapaksa Sets the Stage at his Hometown Medamulana for a Major Political Comeback

By

Dharisha Bastians in Medamulana

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, ousted from office in January, set the stage for a major political comeback in his hometown of Medamulana yesterday, with the announcement that he would lead a faction of the SLFP to contest in the 17 August parliamentary election.

A low drum-roll of firecrackers sounded in the distance, as thousands of supporters gathered in the leafy gardens of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Carlton House shortly before noon yesterday to hear the former President’s ‘special announcement’ about his role in the upcoming elections.

“I am not ready to reject the appeal you are all making,” he boomed, reading from a teleprompter in the sweltering midday heat, as supporters, about 6,000 strong, cheered madly at the sight of him.

“For the sake of this country, for the sake of the motherland, we must contest in the upcoming parliamentary elections,” Rajapaksa announced.

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“I will Contest General Election” Declares Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Medamulana

Ending days of speculation, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today formally announced that he will contest the upcoming General Election.

Addressing a large crowd of supporters today at his home in Medamulana, the former President said he did not have the right to refuse the request made by them to stand for election again.

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“We will Contest at the Upcoming General Election for the Sake of the Party and Country” Announces Mahinda Rajapaksa

By

Lakna Paranamanna

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing a gathering at Medamulana this morning revealed that he would contest the upcoming general election.

“I will not ignore the requests that have been made to me by the people – I accept it wholeheartedly. . . Therefore we will move forward at the upcoming general election with this force of people – we have made preparations to move forward . . . We will contest at the upcoming general elections for the sake of the party and the country.”

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If Maithripala Surrenders to Mahinda Faction Another Bloc of 36 MP’s Backed by Chandrika May Split from SLFP


By

Rasika Jayakody

What President Maithripala Sirisena faces right now is nothing short of a conundrum. The President has come under serious pressure not only from the party rank and file, but also from the senior office bearers of the party to give nominations to former President Rajapaksa to contest the election under the SLFP ticket. It is still not entirely clear whether President Sirisena will be able to withstand this pressure for two more weeks, at least until the end of the nomination period.

The pro-Rajapaksa camp, which is keen on getting nomination from the UPFA, has already made alternate plans to contest separately fearing that President Sirisena may reject nomination at the last moment. Even the senior-most parliamentarians representing the party are confused over the present state of affairs in the SLFP.

There were various negotiations over the weekend to get President Sirisena’s consent to give nomination to the former President. The committee appointed by President Sirisena to promote cooperation in the party also held several rounds of discussion to recommend necessary measures to strengthen unity in the party. They met President Sirisena and former President Rajapaksa separately and obtained their viewpoints on the matter.

The committee has recommended that the former President should be ‘actively involved’ in the political campaign of the party at the forthcoming election. According to a member of the committee, the term ‘active involvement’ amounts to accommodating him at least as a mere candidate in the SLFP list.

Sources close to Presidents Sirisena told the Daily News on Monday night that the President had still not digressed from his position over granting nomination to Rajapaksa. He had expressed willingness to offer him a ‘distinguished position’ in the party and to give him a prominent post in the government. The prominent post however, is not the position of the Prime Minister. This is somewhat similar to the position held by former Singaporean President Lee Kuan Yew and former US President Bill Clinton after their retirement from office. But, many political observers, including several senior politicians, told the Daily News that President Sirisena was being pushed to the wall.

Continue reading ‘If Maithripala Surrenders to Mahinda Faction Another Bloc of 36 MP’s Backed by Chandrika May Split from SLFP’ »