Uncertainty seems to be the only certain thing in the prevailing political situation in Sri Lanka with the Government struggling to get its act together even after two years of suffering and a huge blow at the Local Government Elections. Just like the previous week, last week also filled with meetings, discussions, disagreements and indecisiveness as both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe failed to reach a consensus on the Cabinet reshuffle. The President and the Prime Minister are expected to reach a consensus on the proposed Cabinet reshuffle and informed sources stated that plans are afoot to have it before noon today. They said that a list compiled by the United National Party (UNP), regarding the Cabinet portfolios had been sent for the President's perusal by Friday (23).
Columns News - CEYLON POLITICS
A week after the releasing of the results of the Local Government Elections held on 10 February 2018 under new mixed electoral system, the governance of the country has come to a deadlock with President Maithripala Sirisena looking for a replacement for Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the latter being determined to continue in office.
With President Maithripala Sirisena continuing to openly criticize the acts of his main coalition partner United National Party (UNP) - which many believe as an act designed to save his face and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) in the run-up to the Local Government Elections - Speaker Karu Jayasuriya who met the former at his official residence at the Paget Road, Colombo 7 has requested the President to mind his tongue as his utterance could bring serious blows to the economy in the long run.
They says this is not a national election that would change Governments and is the chance to elect competent groups of people that could ensure you are living in a developed, resourceful, healthy, peaceful, clear of all kinds of pollution and safe environment. Yet, with just a fortnight to go for the Local Government Elections to be held on 10 February 2017, the election campaign by all main political parties has set the atmosphere of a General Election or of a Presidential Election, with the Head of State going for almost every SLFP/UPFA rally. President Maithripala Sirisena was seen even at election rallies that were held at Technical College Junction and Colombo Central, giving the aura of an intense political battle between political stalwarts.
President Maithripala Sirisena stated that he will resign from office after meting out the appropriate punishments to corrupt politicians. Some people ask the question as to when I will resign from the office of the President. I will leave the Presidency after giving the appropriate punishment to the corrupt politicians, he stated. The President was addressing a Sri Lanka Freedom Party public rally held in Seethawaka, Kosgama on 18 January.
President Maithripala Sirisena last week asked the Supreme Court whether it is Constitutional for him to serve a full six-year term, from January 2015, when he was elected, to January 2021.The President, in terms of Article 129 (1) of the Constitution, has asked; "In terms of the Provisions of the Constitution, I, as the person elected and succeeding to the office of President and having assumed such office in terms of Article 32 (1) of the Constitution on 9 January 2015, have any impediment to continue in the office of the President, for a period of 6 years from 9 January 2015, the date on which results of my election to the office of the President was declared."
The dawn of January 2018 was extremely eventful, not because of usual New Year celebrations, but purely due to political developments, from former President Mahinda Rajapaksa kicking off the election campaign of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) to President Maithripala Sirisena's much awaited statement on the Treasury Bonds scam. However, by yesterday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe came under the spotlight with a video of him doing a dance number with his aunt senior actress Iranganie Serasinghe to popular calypso number 'Kale Ukule Thiyala' at a wedding held in Mount Lavinia Friday (5) night. The Prime Minister's not so commonly seen gesture momentarily took away the limelight from the Sri Lankan bride and Irish groom with all Irish relatives of the groom starting to cheer the PM.
In 1982, I never had the faintest dream that some day in the future, I will be addressing you as the President of this country and as the head of the SLFP, President Maithripala Sirisena recalled on Friday at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium in Colombo. Addressing SLFP-UPFA candidates who are contesting at the forthcoming Local Government elections the President declared that he would hand over the leadership of the SLFP not to a member of his family but to an educated and intelligent youth who engaged in clean, decent and corruption-free politics.
SLFP gives Maithri powers to take legal action against members campaigning for or contesting from another party
Unblemished diplomatic relations maintained between Russia and Sri Lanka have reached a threatening juncture, allegedly, due to a beetle which was said to be found in one carton carrying famous Ceylon Tea. President Maithripala Sirisena is said to have contacted Russian President Vladimir Putin requesting to end the temporary ban on Sri Lanka's tea imports. President Maithripala Sirisena addressing a public rally in Haputale announced his decision to write to President Putin, requesting him to end the temporary ban that resulted following the discovery of a beetle in a consignment of tea that had been imported from Sri Lanka. However, it was noted that the beetle is a pest of grain crops such as rice, and has never been associated with tea.
Old habits die hard and Minister of Tourism and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga will attest to that. With heat of elections taking charge of the atmosphere, the senior minister of this 'Yahapalana' government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appeared to have forgotten that they came into power with a vow to establish good governance when he openly told a UNP rally in Ja-Ela recently that no one should be afraid of anyone, because the government and the Police belonged to the UNP this time. "The government and the Police are ours this time. No one should be afraid. We will deal with anyone. What we want is your vote only," he said.
The Meteorological Department of Sri Lanka earlier last week predicted that a low pressure area in the South-East Bay of Bengal will turn into a depression with Sri Lanka witnessing side effects in the form of strong winds and showers.
President Maithripala Sirisena left for the Republic of Korea on Monday (27) commencing a three-day State visit on the invitation of the Korean President, Moon Jae-in. The visit fell simultaneously with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and the Republic of Korea. After arriving in Incheon International Airport in Seoul on Tuesday (28) President left to pay homage at the Jogyesa Temple - an ancient Korean Buddhist shrine - where he encountered a pleasant surprise. Waiting to welcome him at the temple was President Moon together with the Most Venerable Seol Jeong, Head of the Jogye Order, the most prominent Buddhist sect in Korea.
President Maithripala Sirisena seems to have reached a decisive juncture since announcing his decision to become the common candidate in November 2014 by joining hands with United National Party. While there were many hiccups since then, both President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe displayed a commitment towards continuing the political marriage they entered against all odds. Both leaders acknowledged the presence of differences of opinions amongst the government members who come from political parties that stood poles apart for decades. Yet, carefully thought measures were taken to nip those differences in the bud before an issue reached an uncontrollable stage as both parties had one common mission - not to let Rajapaksas return to power.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will appear before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Treasury Bonds scam tomorrow in an unprecedented incidence. Much has been said about the matter with Government and Opposition ranks arguing on the correct position - that is whether the Prime Minister has been summoned by the Commission or whether he is voluntarily appearing before the Commission.
Clad in a carefully chosen blue and green tie, Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera entered the Chamber at 3.05p.m. on Thursday (9) to present Budget 2018, which was themed, 'Blue-Green Budget; the Launch of Enterprise Sri Lanka'. "It is 'Blue' because we plan to integrate the full economic potential of ocean related activities in formulating the overall growth strategy. It is 'Green' because we build our economy on an environmentally sustainable development strategy. The 'Enterprise Sri Lanka' will reawaken the entrepreneurial spirit, coming from our ancient forefathers, enabling Sri Lanka to be a vibrant trading hub and encouraging all Sri Lankans to become co-owners of a country enriched," he said.
At a much hyped meeting, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena took a decision to contest forthcoming Local Government Elections sans its ruling partner, the UNP. The SLFP meeting, which was held at the Presidential Secretariat behind closed doors, keeping even the security at bay, was not attended by the SLFP members, led by Kurunegala District Parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapaksa, who are in the Joint Opposition. The Party is said to be in talks with all parties and factions with a view to forming a massive electoral alliance by way of entering into various electoral and no-contest pacts.
A Greek physician once said for extreme diseases, extreme methods of cure are more suitable and this over the years transformed into the phrase 'desperate times call for desperate measures'. Similarly, the Yahapalana Government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appear to look for desperate measures amidst the growing storm threatening to overwhelm constitutional reforms due to protests by extremist groups about the description of the nature of the State of Sri Lanka.
Last Saturday President Maithripala Sirisena who was in Jaffna to inaugurate the National Tamil Language Day celebrations, took his security detail by surprise after he threw caution to the winds and abruptly alighted from his official vehicle to confront a group of protesters in Jaffna. The President was in Jaffna to inaugurate the National Tamil Language Day celebrations at the Jaffna Hindu College when the incident took place. According to eyewitnesses the President had calmly walked up to the black flag waving protesters and inquired into their problems.
Last Friday (13) an uninvited guest appeared at the Presidential Secretariat in Fort demanding an audience with the Head of State, President Maithripala Sirisena. Though not prepared to receive this guest, the staff, at the Secretariat, was too reluctant to let the guest leave empty handed. So, they sought President Sirisena's permission to send the guest in and the latter responded in the affirmative.
Following repeated assurance by President Maithripala Sirisena, the perspective of Mahanayake Theras'- at least, that of Mahanayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter- on the proposed constitutional reforms seems to have changed drastically. This was evident, when Leader of the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna and Joint Opposition Dinesh Gunawardena - who his colleagues identify as de facto Opposition Leader of the country - called on Most Venerable Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Mahanayake Thera earlier this week.
President Maithripala Sirisena who went to Gemunupura Buddhist Centre in Ampara on Friday (29) to present the Akthapathra to newly elected Mahanayake of the Udarata Amarapura Samagri Sangha Sabha,Most Ven.Girambe Mangala Nayaka Thera emphasized that the draft report for the new constitutional proposals in any way does not project a concept of a Federal State.
The success of the United Nations depends upon the independent strength of its members. To overcome the perils of the present, and to achieve the promise of the future, we must begin with the wisdom of the past. Our success depends on a coalition of strong and independent nations that embrace their sovereignty, to promote security, prosperity and peace, for themselves and for the world. We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government, but we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties, to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation, President of the United States of America Donald Trump said in his maiden speech to the United Nations General Assembly moments before he called North Korean leader Kim Jung Un "rocket man," and described him as being on "a suicide mission for himself and for his regime." He also threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if the US finds itself "forced to defend itself or its allies."
President Maithripala Sirisena is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York next Tuesday 19 September. The Head of Sri Lankan State is attending the UNGA at a time when United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, during his opening statement at the 36th session of the UNHRC on Monday (11) expressed his frustration over delays the Sri Lanka Government has thus far displayed in implementing the USA co-sponsored resolution.
President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who arrived together in a super luxury Mercedes-Maybach S600 Benz to unveil 'Vision 2025'the eight-year economic plan that aims at making Sri Lanka an enriched country, were greeted by a documentary titled Nonawaruni Mahathwaruni Samawanna before anything else. The documentary was about a dark era where the country was under the clutches of 'one family' sans democracy, transparency, clarity or accountability.
Crossfire between military top brass over ‘war crimes’ will put President Maithri in a political mess
President Maithripala Sirisena is to spell-out his plans on the continuity of the alliance with the UNP today at the 66th Convention of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) at the Campbell Park in Colombo.
King Dutugemunu, according to the legend, after an all-defining victory in the battle against King Elara and the Chola troops, was believed to have had an encounter with Lord Kataragama and asked for the strength to overpower his enemies. With his boon being granted, the Kataragama Devalaya was subsequently built in fulfilment of the vow that as long as the sun and moon remains, the people of the land he united after victory shall pay their respects to the Kataragama Deviyo.
As the Unity Government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe completed reaching its second milepost without much ado, accusation and resignation seem to be the only options left with the two leaders to keep the unity within.
It completed 12 years on Saturday, since the country lost one of its finest Foreign Affairs Ministers Lakshman Kadirgamar to a bullet of an LTTE sniper. It remains a fact that his successors were far from being on par with Kadirgamar in executing duties as the Foreign Minister or gaining international as well as local respect and recognition. However, the office once treated as one of the prestigious institutions in the country, today faces a crisis of finding a suitable head to take the reins.
In his 1953 play 'The Crucible' American playwright Arthur Miller says 'there are wheels within wheels and fires within fires in this village'. This seems to be the case with the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government where none seems to take the responsibility of what is happening around them or even in their very own families. From everything that took place last week, from the alleged statement issued by the government condemning North Korea testing missile to best Finance Minister in the Asia-Pacific region not knowing who paid his rent for a penthouse he was living in, it is quite evident there are wheels within wheels.
On 29 July 1987, Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayewardene and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi sat together at old Parliament building (now Presidential Secretariat) facing Galle Face Green to ink the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord with the objective of resolving the Sri Lankan War by enabling the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka and the Provincial Councils Act of 1987.
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