Following the results of the Local Government elections, the country became unstable for about two weeks. This was the first time the country became unstable, following the results of a Local Government election. This happened due to the political anarchism created by force by the Joint Opposition. Why are you fishing in troubled waters like this?
A: It was the first time in history that a force from the opposition gained an excellent victory in a Local Government Election. On almost every occasion it was the ruling party that won the Local Government Election. What happened here was the reverse. Normally, the voter percentage at a Local Government election is 55-60 per cent. However in this election it was close to 80 per cent. According to the final result it was the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna that won 75 per cent of the divisions. This result was given by the people against this Government. Voting against the Government and getting a force from the opposition to win the election is not anarchism that was created by force. This is a proper people’s force. It is not fishing in troubled waters. What we are asking the Government to do is to listen to the opinion of the people and act.
The election results have not been officially issued as yet. You are saying various things about the election results that have not even been issued in total. Actually what exactly has happened?
A: The election result has not been issued officially by the Elections Office as yet. It is the people and not I who are asking why that has happened. The overall result has not been issued. We do not know what underhand thing had happened or is happening. The Election Commission, which said that the results would be given by ten at night has still not been able to do so.
What is the reason for that?
A: Some people have doubts whether this is happening with the purpose of decreasing our percentage. Even if they do that or not we have a percentage of approximately 50. It means that the people put their trust in the fifth Executive President, Mahinda Rajapaksa and on the other hand that they have no trust in this Government has been highlighted. The election results show how disgusted the people are with this Government. Accordingly, they showed that they are not willing to have this Government continue in power.
Even though this election was won with a percentage of 46 per cent, in certain places it is being defined as the most difficult election. How can that be?
A: That is true. The Provincial Council election would be much easier for us than this. The General Election would be easier to win too, the same with the Presidential Election. This election commenced with a group having its nominations rejected. As a result, they contested independently. Some people joined the SLFP. This is an election which looks at the village and the regional identity. Amidst all of those obstructions it was possible for Mahinda Rajapaksa to gain a massive victory. This Government became unstable due to the power the people showed.
If the Mahinda factor had not been there, the Joint Opposition could not have won, would they?
A: The people of this country still love Mahinda. They wish that they can have the administration that was there during his time. Therefore, the Mahinda Rajapaksa factor was important in this election. The fact that Maharagama was won by the bicycle, Tirappane by the snake and that independent groups won in other places, was due to the Mahinda factor.
Whatever you say, the Prime Minister cannot be removed because of the 19th Amendment. You tried to form a Government. Now hasn‘t that too become a dream?
A: Subsequent to the 19th Amendment, legal experts pointed out that once the Cabinet was dissolved, the Prime Minister is automatically removed. It is a very simple fact. It can be shown through Arithmetic and need not be explained through Algebra.
Jayampathy Wickremaratne who brought the 19th Amendment, recently, stated that according to the 19th Amendment, the President cannot remove either the Prime Minister, a Minister or an MP and if a Minister has to be removed it has to be discussed
with the Prime Minister first. Actually what is this mess?
A: He has to discuss with the Prime Minister. When asking the Prime Minister, if he says yes or even no, the President can remove a Minister. It is not stated in the Constitution that the Prime Minister’s agreement is required, only that an inquiry has to be made from him. Whatever the opinion of the Prime Minister, the President can remove a Minister.
You say the Government should bow their heads to the verdict of the people and go home. If you accept the Constitution why are you presenting extraneous ideas?
A: Whatever is mentioned in the Constitution ,the general public of this country have given a strong reply to the Government. It is very strong. They spent billions on this election. They distributed every plantain that could be distributed. They had State power. We were rebuked as much as possible. That did not work. If this Government did not have the prison, the prison bus and the Courts for these past three years, this Government would not have had any news. Even while doing that there was massive opposition from the public against them. With this verdict given by the people, can this Government rule further? There is no point in presenting technical points with facts from the Constitution. This is a problem regarding the supremacy of the public.
David Cameron resigned because the other opinion and was victorious. If not, it does not state in the British Constitution, in any way, that the Prime Minister should resign subsequent to a referendum. However, he resigns bowing his head to the opinion of the people. This is good political ethics. Therefore, this fact should be accepted by both the President and the Prime Minister of our country. If not, if someone believes that the government can be powdered and a facial done to enable it to continue it would truly be a joke.
This Government has a mandate to remain in power until 2020. So that mandate is still valid. If so why are you trying to change that mandate?
A: By today the tenure of the President and the Prime Minister have expired! Whatever the authority granted in 2015, in 2018 the public said they do not want these two. If the government is taken forward with the dislike of the people the county will be dragged into a massive crisis.
Even though you say the President‘s term has expired, the Joint Opposition tried to establish a Government with him. Discussions were held regarding this?
A: We do not need to create anarchism in the country. What we wanted was not to establish a Government but to remove the Prime Minister and the UNP and to support the Government while being in the Opposition.
However conditions were made?
A: Yes. War heroes could not be hunted down during that period. Privatization cannot be done. The ECTA Agreement cannot be signed. No one can lay a hand on the welfare expenses of the people. These were the conditions that we submitted.
Did you receive the President‘s approval?
A: Not yet! We came forward with good intention but the President is still silent regarding our proposals.
Do you not understand that while the national Government is being taken forward together with the UNP, the President saying that they will establish a Government with the Joint Opposition is cheating you?
A: There is no question about cheating here. What we did here was our responsibility on behalf of the country and the role that we could engage in for the country. Even if he does that or not we will carry out our role in the Opposition.
The post of Opposition Leader also cannot be given to the Joint Opposition. Members of the JO are in the UPFA and the SLFP as yet. They have still not obtained membership in the new party. If so how can you request the post of the Opposition Leader?
A: Immediate problems are not relevant. It is the opinion of the people that should be looked into. What is bigger than all of this is the people’s force. All 225 in Parliament are there because of the people. If the public has decided on what should happen, and we are working beyond that, what is apparent is their decline. Minister Champika has also said in public that the post of Opposition Leader should be given to Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Should the post of Opposition Leader be given to Mahinda Rajapaksa or to Dinesh Gunawardena? There is such an opinion now, too.
A: We have not decided on that as yet. It is something that should be solved through discussions.
You supported the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Did you not see the shortcomings in it then? Now there is no point in criticizing it after voting for it, is there?
A: My personal opinion about voting in favour of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution is that the Joint Opposition committed a great mistake by doing so. We have to accept that with self-criticism. The last section of the 19th Amendment was passed at around 11 in the night. It was while everyone was feeling sleepy that many of the clauses were amended and others included. Those who voted in favour of the 19th Amendment were unaware of the clauses that were finally included in it. What finally happened was that a fence was built surrounding the Prime Minister. What actually happened was that restrictions were put in through the Constitution so that the Prime Minister, whom the entire country disliked, could not be chased away. There was nothing beneficial to the country. One reason for anarchism in the country is the 19th Amendment.
Many things happened because of 19A? Is it only when it is politically disadvantageous to the Joint Opposition that you say that you do not want the 19A?
A: The 19th Amendment is something that came with wrappings of democracy at a time when a Government had been toppled. Then, even our people did not have time to study the 19th Amendment. They also supported it. However we should not have done so. That was a big mistake we made.
The President had made a request from the Joint Opposition to support the 19A?
A: As far as I can remember, there was no such request made.
Did you speak to the Prime Minister regarding the Passport problem you faced at the Katunayake Airport?
However you tried to speak to the Prime Minister and settle the issue? The Prime Minister assisted you. You are being accused of criticizing the Prime Minister who did that for you?
A: If someone can prove that I spoke to the Prime Minister at that moment, I will quit my post as a parliamentarian and leave. I had no necessity to speak to the Prime Minister at all! We do not have a mentality to solve problems after speaking to the Prime Minister. The other thing is, just imagine that I did speak to him…What was the assistance I received? Did I get to go on that journey? The CID detained me from morning till night and questioned me. Didn’t they file a case against me? Anyhow what they presented was an offense that deserved bail when filed in Court. The accusation was improperly being in possession of a Diplomatic Passport. That offense is granted bail in any case. The case is taken up for hearing. Then it can be seen whether I committed any offense or not.
Did the Provincial Council election get postponed due to the result that was received this time?
A: We cannot allow the Government to fold up election maps as and how they want to and whenever they want to. Even though the President and the Prime Minister are attempting to do so, the cross is with the people. The reason is because when these people are defeated at elections there should be a way for them to go and live in their homes.