Sept 17, Colombo: Sri Lanka Speaker Karu Jayasuriya says he will consider the requests made to him to be the Presidential candidate only if he finds a political alliance that is ready to abolish Executive Presidency in the country.
Issuing a special statement, the Speaker says over the past few weeks, several members of the clergy, representatives of civil society, academics, intellectuals, professionals, youth organizations and professional activists have reached out to him requesting to consider contesting for the presidential election as a candidate.
He said some of these groups met him in person and others spoke to him over the telephone or held press conferences.
The Speaker said their common request is that he consider contesting as a candidate at the upcoming presidential election on a platform encompassing certain national issues.
The common thread raised by all of these stakeholders is that they believe the country needs new leadership to strengthen the democracy, move away from political paralysis and progress towards an era of functional administration.
"I wish to express my gratitude to all those stakeholders who have reposed their confidence and faith in me, especially the venerable clergy," Jayasuriya said.
"Any prospect of my accepting a nomination to contest as a presidential candidate would be conditioned upon the support of all forces united behind the critical objective of abolishing the executive presidency, which has been the objective of civil society since 1995."
In addition, the democratic reforms first brought forward by the 17th Amendment to the Constitution and thereafter strengthened by the 19th Amendment must be safeguarded and form the basis for broader constitutional reform, he emphasized.
"I must emphasize that I would not accept such an offer out of a desire for the powers of the presidency. I would only serve in office for such a limited period as is necessary to complete the constitutional reforms that we promise in order to lay the foundations for a secure, prosperous and advanced democracy."
"However, it is my view that if I am to come forward as a candidate representing the alliance led by the United National Front, it must be in accordance with the party constitution and not without the blessings of all parties concerned," the Speaker asserted.