We want a general election

Published : 9:10 am  November 16, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


 reads | 
  • Speaker acts to appease his western diplomatic friends and UNP  
  • Calls for Speaker to be impartial and uphold dignity of his post  
  • UNP-led govt. makes borrowing of US$21 billion in three years 


LATE-CITY-DM-1-8By Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera 

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his maiden speech in Parliament yesterday, called for the conduct of a snap general election to tide over the present political crisis.

  In his speech that started amidst applause from the MPs of his party and a din of voice by the opposition members, he said nothing could be more sovereign than people. Referring to a poster put up on the walls in Colombo by an organization called ‘Yuthukama’, he said how come a general election could be considered an infringement of the fundamental rights of individuals.   

Commenting on the reasons for acceptance of office as the Prime Minister one year ahead of the next national election, he said people were reeling under the rising cost of living, the unprecedented tax burden and the high interest rates triggered by the Central Bank bond frauds. He said the country faced dire consequences of alienation of national assets.   

 It was at this stage that the media began to broadcast voice recordings relating to a conspiracy by persons associated with the UNP to assassinate the president and the former Defence Secretary with the involvement of certain elements in the police. It was only after things reached such a pass that the President decided to take the UPFA out of the coalition government. The withdrawal of the UPFA led to the dissolution of that government and the President under the powers vested in him by the Constitution, invited me to accept the Premiership and form a government,” he said.   

He said, “I had the choice of either accepting that invitation or declining it. I could have simply said that it was best to allow the UNP government to continue in office for the remaining one year or so. However, we were the main opposition force in the country. We are the largest political party in the country. When the President hands the country over to us in order to prevent a major catastrophe from taking place, it is our duty to accept that responsibility. I accepted the responsibility of running the country on that basis. Another matter that I had to take into consideration was what would have happened to the country if the UNP had continued in power for another year. Since January 2015, that government had borrowed more than USD 21 Billion in foreign currency loans.