Batticaloa, Sri Lanka May 7 IDaily News/newsin.asia): Sri Lankan President ,Maithripala Sirisena, who has been under severe criticism for not delivering the goods since he came to power on January 8, 2015, and whose party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), suffered a split after its dismal showing in the February 10 Local Bodies elections, has said that he does not intend to retire at the end of his term in 2020.
He has also denied that there is a split in his party.
Addressing the postponed May Day rally of the SLFP and its ally, the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA), in the Eastern Tamil-majority town of Chengaladi near Batticalo, Sirisena said that he does not want to retire as he has many tasks to be completed..
“Certain people posed the question as to whether I would retire in 2020 and social media is flooded with posts suggesting that I would be retiring in 2020. The simple answer is that I would not retire in 2020 as there are many things to be done,” the President said.
“The country needs honest politicians and the immediate need is for them to come together to serve the country,” he added.
“There are so many issues to be resolved and I am not going to retire before solving them.” The President posing a question at the audience, queried as to how many of our political leaders are free from murder, corruption and fraud.
“We need political leaders with an unblemished character.
“Some people are day dreaming of establishing a new government in 2020. We shall be with the poor, the down trodden and the intelligentsia. People can talk of fairy tales but they cannot understand the problems facing the communities,” the President said, said referring to his rival and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who has set up his own party the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). .
“We protect the country’s culture while respecting Buddhist,Hindu, Islamic and Christian values,” Sirisena told his ethnically mixed audience of Hindus, Christians, Muslims and Buddhists.
“Sinhala,Tamil and Muslim communities are living amicably all over the island today, nearly a decade after the devastating war which engulfed those areas. My fervent wish is that a tragedy of the kind should not happen again in our country,” President Sirisena said.
“The President added that the people running the government and who hope run the government must understand the intricacies of the problems faced by various communities,” Sirisena said.
Need for International Support
Contrasting his government’s having a good relationship with the international community led by the West, with the Rajapaksa regime’s alienation from it, Sirisena said: “To uplift the country, we have the support of the International community and we have to tap this international goodwill and understanding to take the country forward.”
“The International community had placed their trust in the government and are willing to assist us. Taking that into consideration the politicians of the country, without telling lies, should take the country forward.”
“Everyone knows who the rogues are, some are saying that we are blindly following the dictates of others,” the President said.
Denies Split in SLFP
Sirisena insisted that the SLFP has not split nor has it become weak adding that the party will introduce a viable program to the country.
“Some people say that the party has weakened, but, we have not weakened. There was a time when the SLFP had been reduced to seven seats in Parliament and the party had been divided into several factions,” the President recalled.
He said that the party will undergo a comprehensive reform drive and he is committed in transforming it to be more people-centric…
“We shall make the SLFP a truly Democratic party. I request the people of Mother Lanka to join me in my new program of work,” the President said.
Rebels Join Rally
Several SLFP Parliamentarians who resigned from their Ministerial portfolios after they voted for the No Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe were also present at the rally.
Former Ministers S.B.Dissanayake and Sumedha Jayasena were on the SLFP May Day stage while several SLFP Parliamentarians including former Ministers Dayasiriya Jayasekera,Dilan Perera and former Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala joined the rally.