Former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa (File Photo)
Former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa (File Photo)

Rajapaksha accuses UNP for delaying elections, destroying Lankan economy

ANI | Updated: Dec 15, 2018 18:41 IST

Colombo [Sri Lanka], Dec 15 (ANI): Shortly after the disputed Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksha resigned from his post, he targeted Ranil Wickeremsinghe-led United National Party (UNP) for delaying the general elections to stay in power. He also accused Wickeremsinghe's government of destroying the Lankan economy by borrowing heavily from external sources.
The controversial leader who hung to the seat despite suffering defeats in the no-confidence motion brought by UNP MP in the Lankan Parliament in a public address said that the confrontation is now directly between his party and "a group of political parties" that have continuously "engaged in various subterfuges" to avoid facing elections.
"Elections to provincial councils have been delayed by more than one year and three months, but no one has an inkling of when those long overdue elections will be held. The people have now been deprived of the general election that had already been declared," Rajapaksha said.
He added that the new Constitution will also abolish the Executive Presidency. "Which means that the Presidential election that is due before the 9th December 2019, will not have to be held," he said
"After the general elections of 1994, 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2015, it was always the largest group in Parliament that was invited to form the government as no party obtained a clear majority in Parliament. A President cannot stand by and do nothing when the whole country was facing destruction at the hands of the people running the government. We appreciate the difficult and bold decision that the President made on October 26," Rajapaksha said.
He added that since general elections cannot be held now, the economic reforms planned by his government cannot take place. "What we are confronted with now, is an attempt to rule the country without holding any kind of election. Since a general election can no longer be held, we cannot implement any of the measures we had planned to take to prevent this country from becoming another Greece. The UNP government borrowed 20.7 billion US Dollars in foreign currency loans alone within a period of three and a half years, and we have no idea as to how much more they will borrow in the coming months," Rajapaksha said.
"Even though some have expressed the view that it will be possible to minimise the damage done by the UNP because the President is no longer with them, we must realise that there is much that the UNP-TNA coalition can do without informing the President. We should bear in mind that back in 2002, the then UNP government signed a cease-fire agreement with the LTTE without informing President Chandrika Kumaratunga," the former Lankan President said.
"Even though a general election will not be held, it must be said that the events that took place after the 26th of October have benefitted the public in other ways. The most important thing that happened during this period was that the two thirds majority in Parliament that was available to the UNP to be used at will, is now no longer available to them. All appointees to high office over the past four years belonged to the same group. The whole country is now suffering the consequences of that situation," he added.
MP Shehan Semasinghe on Saturday stated that Rajapaksa has informed United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) MPs that he has resigned as the Prime Minister of the South Asian island nation.
Ousted Prime Minister and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghewill take the oath as the Prime Minister on December 16. UNP MP Ashoka Abeysinghe said that the decision was taken after Sirisena and Wickremesinghe held a discussion on the phone.
The island nation was engulfed in a constitutional turmoil after Sirisena, on October 26, abruptly ousted the then-Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and appointed Rajapaksa, the country's former President, as the new premier. Sirisena later dissolved Parliament, almost 20 months before its term was to end, and ordered a snap election.
However, the country's Supreme Court overturned Sirisena's decision to dissolve Parliament and halted the preparations for snap polls.
On December 3, the Sri Lankan court had issued an interim order against Rajapaksa and his cabinet, barring their functioning. The following day, Rajapaksa filed an appeal against the order. (ANI)