Feb 12, Colombo: The ruling United National Party (UNP) today calling on all the honest and democratic political forces not to return the country to pre-2015 era dictatorship, said the message from the people has sunk deep into the party and it is committed to taking drastic measures to fulfil the promises the party made three years ago and maintain the public trust.
Issuing a statement Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Mangala Samaraweera said the Local Government polls is a timely wake up call to Yahapalana government to get back on track and fulfill the promises it made to the public three years ago.
However, the Minister pointed out despite a good performance at the polls former president Mahinda Rajapaksa's dream of capturing the presidency will remain nothing but a dream as the combined anti-Rajapaksa vote has increased from 51.28% in 2015 to 55.35% in 2018.
Calling on people to ensure that Sri Lanka never again returns to rule by the sword, the Minister said Sri Lanka can be proud of conducting a peaceful election for the first time under the auspices of an independent elections commission and police service without the manipulation of public personnel, funds, resources and state media by the government in power.
Full text of the Minister Mangala Samaraweera's statement:
On the 8th of January 2015, fifty one percent of Sri Lankans voted for the vision put forth to them by our unity candidate Maithripala Sirisena: that the time for dictatorship in our country was over, and that those committed to re-establishing democracy in Sri Lanka must unite to ensure that government serves all of the people, and not a single family and their loyal disciples.
On that day, the United National Party, several stalwarts of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the People's Liberation Front, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the Tamil National Alliance, the Democratic People's Front, and all together over 30 political and civic bodies came together to prove that Sri Lankans shared their vision of a Sri Lanka that was ruled by law and not through fear.
We promised to amend the constitution to restore independence to the public service, abolish the executive presidency, and enshrine the rights of all Sri Lankans into the legal bedrock of our legal system. We promised to bring those who robbed the coffers of the treasury to justice. We promised to hold accountable those who quenched their thirst for power with the blood of brave journalists and peaceful protestors. Most of all, we promised you a government that would be free of the rampant corruption that defined the decade that came before us.
Today, the people told us that we have not done enough. Despite the sincerest of efforts to inject haste and independence into a dilapidated justice system over the last three years and empower the police with the tools they need to successfully investigate complex crimes, murderers and fraudsters remain at large. Despite our government being the first in the nation's history to insist that ministers must resign from the cabinet at the first sign of wrongdoing, and indeed the first to investigate allegations of corruption within its ranks with such vigor, justice is yet to be served.
This message from the people has sunk deep into the UNP, and we are committed to taking drastic measures to fulfil the promises we made three years ago and maintain the public trust. As we embark on this chapter in the story of our democracy, Sri Lanka can be proud of two remarkable things we saw last Saturday.
The first is the conduct of an election under the auspices of an independent elections commission and police service. Never before has a government shied from manipulating public personnel, funds, resources and state media into an organ of their political ends. We hope that under these independent bodies, Sri Lanka has seen the last of corruption, intimidation and violence marring our elections.
Finally, it is evident that the same Mahinda Rajapaksa who in January 2015 commanded 5.77 million votes (47.6%) as his presidency waned, last week was not even able to muster 4.95 million votes or even 44.7% of voters. The UNP has a solemn duty not just to the 46% of the electorate who voted for us and President Sirisena's SLFP last Saturday, but to the entire resounding majority of our citizens, all 6.1 million of them (55.3%) who marched to the polls last Saturday and voted against a return to Rajapaksa rule. Our duty is to broaden our own voter base by delivering results, while joining hands with all honest and democratic political forces to uplift our motherland and ensure that Sri Lanka never again returns to rule by the sword. That is our calling and we must not fail. Our democracy, our republic, depends on it.