The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to field Maithripala Sisirsena as the common Opposition candidate at the forthcoming Presidential Election had been signed by several political parties and civic groups today.
Mr. Sirisena, Leader of Opposition and UNP National Leader Ranil Wickremisinghe, Democratic Party Leader Sarath Fonseka, MP Arjuna Ranatunga, former Ministers Rajitha Senaratne M. P. B. S. Gunawardene and convener of Movement for a Just Society Venerable Maduluwawe Sobith Thera signed the MoU in a symbolical ceremony.
Mr Sirisena who addressed the gathering pledged that he would fulfill the promises and abolish the Executive Presidency and bring about other reforms.
DP leader Sarath Fornseka said he his party was agreeable for more than 80 per cent of the policies of the common candidate and would engage in further discussions with Mr. Sirisena and Mr. Wickremesinghe to reach an agreement.(Yohan Perera & Darshana sanjeewa)
The full MoU
“As Sri Lankans we face several grave challenges. The country, which was once seen as a model of democracy, has degenerated in recent years into a place where its citizens cannot live with dignity and in safety. Among the manifestations of this situation are:
* The total breakdown of the Rule of Law,
* The erosion of democratic institutions essential for governance,
* An unprecedented widening of social disparities and social injustices,
* A severe strain on co-existence among different ethnic and religious communities and increasing disharmony and distrust.
In this situation, the following programme is presented so as to re-establish democracy, good governance, social justice and the rule of law.
Accordingly, it is proposed that the present authoritarian and corrupt regime be defeated by fielding a common candidate acceptable to all those in agreement with the programme. The immediate tasks will be implemented within a hundred days. They include the abolition of the current executive presidency and the re-establishment of a parliamentary form of government and the rest of the programme to be implemented through a new Parliament.
To fulfil the immediate tasks and objectives given below, an All-Party Government will be formed for a period of not less than two years.
1. The present executive presidential system will be abolished within a hundred days and replaced by a Parliamentary form accountable to the people. Under the Parliamentary system, the President will symbolize national unity and have duties and powers appropriate to the position.
2. The Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution will be repealed and the independence of institutions essential for democratic governance, such as the judiciary, police, and public service, election authorities, the Attorney General and the Auditor General and independent commissions reestablished and further strengthened.
3. The current preferential voting system will be abolished. The new electoral system will provide for the just representation of all communities and political opinions and will be a mix of the first-past-the-post system, which ensures that every electorate has its own Member of Parliament and proportional representation.
4. The oppressive burden of the cost of living of the people will be reduced through granting of a commensurate increase in salaries of the public service and the private sector; strengthen the industrial, agricultural, plantations, fisheries and small industries components of the economy and guarantee a fair price for local produce; develop an effective social safety net for marginalized groups and the poor and, in particular, for women and children, the elderly, pensioners and disabled persons.
In addition, measures will be initiated in the first hundred days to:
* Immediately prevent, through greater transparency and accountability, the present unprecedented large scale fraud, corruption, bribery and earning of commissions as well as the wastage of public funds; take action according to the law to deal with abuses that have been committed
* Guarantee the primacy of the Rule of Law, restore democracy on a sustainable foundation of good governance, secure and advance fundamental rights and freedoms, strengthen the right to freedom of expression inclusive of media freedom and the Right to Information, and ensure the right to live in human dignity
* Further develop the right to live in human dignity through re-establishment of the welfare state, and in particular guarantee the right to high quality free education and health services
* Empower youth to successfully meet the challenges of the rapidly changing world, in particular through providing essential technical knowledge and skills and training required for high level employment *Guarantee dignity and equal opportunity for all citizens in the social, cultural, economic and political spheres
* Create a civilized and moral society and in particular reform the political culture of the country that has sunk to unprecedented depths;
The political parties, groups and citizens’ organizations that are committed to this People’s Agenda shall dedicate themselves towards achieving its objectives.
Pix by Pradeep Dilrukshana