Aug 05, Colombo: Abolishing Executive Presidency was like changing pillows for headache and will not bring solutions to the problems in the country, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said today.
He said the ruling party did not install a presidential form of government and it was wrong to say the Executive Presidency is the cause for all ills today. Those who brought that change also could attend to any change if necessary, he noted.
He made these remarks during the breakfast meeting with the media chiefs of print and electronic media held this morning at the Temple Trees.
Responding to media queries, the President said Sri Lanka apologized to India for the derogatory article that was published in the Defense Ministry website and the apology has been delivered to India.
Speaking of elections, President Rajapaksa said the elections could be held at any time the Opposition Leader wants it to be held. Asked if the Vatican requested that the elections not be held in January 2015 as Pope Francis is to visit Sri Lanka, President said no request had been made not to hold elections.
Clarifying the purpose of the advisory committee appointed by him, the President said the three-member Advisory Committee of eminent law scholars was appointed on the request of the Presidential Commission Investigating into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons to advise the Commission.
He clarified that the 3-member committee is an advisory body and it has no mandate for investigations and added that the government is considering the possibility of expanding the Advisory Committee by adding three more members.
When asked about his brother, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa's possible entry to politics, the President said he had not made such request from him for the moment. The President said that the Defense Secretary had rejected such requests from him previously.
Responding to the queries on restrictions on NGOs, President said there had been no change in the policy towards the NGOs.
He said whenever NGOs register in Sri Lanka, an agreement is signed specifying their mandate and the government only brought that to the notice of the NGOs. He added that the government plans to revise the NGO regulations after a thorough study.
Minister of External Affairs, Prof G L Peiris also participated in the discussion.
(Photo by Nishanka de Silva)