May 05, Cambridge, MA: Sri Lanka's Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe says he aims to convey the party's vision and goals for the future of the country to the public and raise awareness in the current situation of the country.
Speaking to ColomboPage exclusively, the Opposition Leader, who is currently finishing up a fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, dismissed the media reports which said that he will not contest the Presidency at the next Presidential elections.
Wickremasinghe said although he has not ruled out himself from contesting for the presidency, he is open to consider others and will make a decision on a presidential candidate only after President Mahinda Rajapaksa formally announces a Presidential election.
However, the party's immediate goal is to start a grass root campaign to educate the general public on the government's economic policies and how those policies and massive scale corruption affecting them, the Opposition Leader said.
He said to attain sustainable peace and reconciliation in the country, the government needs to start a dialogue with the Tamil party and resolve their grievances. Pointing out that Tamils lack a generation of political leaders due to the three-decade long war, the Opposition Leader noted that it's imperative for the Tamil parties to groom moderate leaders to take reins after their senior leaders.
A future UNP government, he said, would reinstate the 17th Amendment to the Constitution and repeal the 18th Amendment to limit the powers of the executive presidency and would establish a system where the cabinet and parliament would have more powers than the President. He added that major reforms are needed in the health, education and financial sectors.
The opposition leader urged the Sri Lankan public as well as the expatriate community to rally around the party regardless of the religion, ethnicity and political affiliation to eliminate corruption and restore democracy and good governance in the country.