‘We cannot afford to have an unstable Government’-PM

28 July 2020 12:10 am - 14     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • Constitutional and legal reforms will be priorities of new Government 
  • Challenging time a head with COVID-19
  • It will be a landslide like at the Presidential Elections
  • What is important is not the size of the Cabinet, but whether the Government delivers
  • The economy was in shambles even when we took over in November last year
  • It will take all our skills to steer this country through this crisis
  • The Yahapalana Government took on foreign currency debt amounting to more than US $ 18 billion

 

 


Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in an email interview with the Daily Mirror spoke about what he intends doing if his party wins the General Elections to be held on August 5. He spoke at length about forming a stable Government. 


Excerpts: 


QWhat is your overall assessment of the electioneering process?


The candidates of all political parties are facing difficulties because of the restrictions imposed on campaigning, but as a party, we are going to win comfortably. It will be a landslide like at the Presidential Elections.


Q What will be the priorities of the new Parliament if your Party wins the elections?


The most important thing about this election is that we will be able to form an SLPP led Government with a proper majority. Constitutional and legal reforms will be priorities. When the constitutional reforms are being discussed we will have to start on reforming other laws such as for example those governing Parliamentary Elections Act. This is to enable election campaigns to be carried out. The Local Government Elections Law and the Provincial Councils Elections Law will have to be amended, just to mention a few. There is a lot of work to be done.


QYou talk about the abolition of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. You need two thirds majority in the House for it. It is an unrealistic target for any party under any circumstance. Why do you talk about an unrealistic target?


Our aspiration is to obtain a two-thirds majority. In 2010, we managed to get 144 seats which is very close to a two-thirds majority. We keep mentioning about this target in order to educate the people about the need to bring about constitutional reform.


Q If you fall short of two –thirds majority how will you muster it?


  We will have to cross that bridge only only when we get there.


QSome people talk about a National Government after the elections merely to increase the size of the Cabinet. Is it true?


  What is important is not the size of the Cabinet, but whether the Government delivers. We are going to have a challenging time ahead with the COVID-19 global recession. We cannot afford to have an unstable Government. We will do whatever it takes to have a stable Government. We have every confidence, however, that we should be able to form that stable Government as an Alliance led by the SLPP.


QYuthukama organization talks about electoral reforms including the introduction of a body similar to the Electoral College in the U.S. to elect future Presidents in Sri Lanka. Will you consider it seriously?


 Various ideas for constitutional reforms are being mooted. All those options will have to be discussed and suitable will be decisions made.


QThe global economy is experiencing a recession because of the pandemic, Sri Lanka is no exception. Sri Lanka is going to face a debt payment crisis. We will lose export revenue. State revenue will also drop due to tax cuts and reduced business activities. How will the Government tide over this crisis?


The economy was in shambles even when we took over in November last year. The growth rate was less than a third of what it was before 2015, the national debt had increased by leaps and bounds without anything of lasting value to show for it. The Yahapalana Government took on foreign currency debt amounting to more than US $ 18 billion just by issuing Sovereign Bonds and Sri Lanka Development Bonds during a period of less than five years. The value of the Rupee had plummeted by well over 40% during the same period. That was the extent of the mismanagement under that Government. Countries like the USA, Germany, India and Bangladesh were in the midst of an economic boom when COVID-19 struck. But we were already facing an economic crisis caused by Yahapalana mismanagement which had been exacerbated by the Easter Sunday bombings, when COVID-19 struck. It will take all our skills to steer this country through this crisis.


QSri Lanka has sought a debt moratorium both from China and India. Any response from them?


Those matters are still under discussion.


QThe previous Government signed an MoU between Sri Lanka, Japan and India to develop the East Terminal of the Colombo Port. India is keen on this project. Port workers are against it, however. What is the policy of the new Government?


Selling off national assets was never our policy. The Yahapalana Government leased out the Hambantota Port and signed an MOU with regard to the East Terminal of the Colombo Port. It isn’t easy to undo the damage done by the Yahapalana Government. We will introduce legislation in Parliament making it mandatory for all Governments to place any agreement with a foreign country or a multilateral organization before Parliament before it’s signed to ensure that such things don’t repeat.

 

  Comments - 14

  • Ralaharamy Tuesday, 28 July 2020 05:09 AM

    Very true. No country can afford to have an unstable government. We saw it 2015. But it is also true that no country should have a unreasonabally strong majority either. This will result in the death of Democracy. We Sri Lankans saw this tragedy under in the 1970 and the 1977.

    hoodwinker Tuesday, 28 July 2020 05:38 AM

    Don't worry you will have adequate rest, after the election

    puppa Tuesday, 28 July 2020 06:29 AM

    8 years president, equal number of years priminister ,held ministries for a very long time. Dont you be ashamed to ask people their vote to develop this country.The curse of the country is you and your family.

    Parakum Tuesday, 28 July 2020 08:13 AM

    Only Donkeys, Buffolos

    FF Tuesday, 28 July 2020 09:08 AM

    IF SOME OTHER PARTY OTHER THAN SLPP IS ELECTED TO FORM GOVT, AND IF GOTA CANNOT WORK WITH THE NEWLY FORMED GOVT, HE SHOULD RESIGN FOR THE SAKE OF THE PEOPLE

    Anuradha Wijesekara Tuesday, 28 July 2020 10:39 AM

    Horrible cartoon! Please hire a better artist next time.

    Sokrates Tuesday, 28 July 2020 12:36 PM

    This 78 year old grandfather is senile and has daydreams. It is time for this criminal drunkard to resign or better to die.

    Sambo Tuesday, 28 July 2020 12:45 PM

    No one should be given a two thirds majority not now or even in the future as they only burden the country with more debts by stealing.

    freddy Tuesday, 28 July 2020 06:36 PM

    I think the Sri Lankan people have to understand politics and vote capable people who can be good leaders bringing the country forward as a team, not sticking to race, caste, bribes, etc. Make the change and dont let the country and people down. Terrorism, riots,jealousy, separatism, lies etc have brought a buddhist country down, don't let that happen.

    Sambo Tuesday, 28 July 2020 09:05 PM

    You will have to live with it because not getting a two thirds for another joy ride. We hope for a very strong opposition.

    Prince Jayakody Tuesday, 28 July 2020 11:36 PM

    The two third they want is to tighten there power. Not to help you and me. They will definitely buy politicians to achieve that.. Ranil and his clan is already with them. We should refrain from voting UNP if Sajith or MR is not your opinion. Vote any other than Ranil.

    rss Wednesday, 29 July 2020 01:03 AM

    my be unstable government make white van ride difficult

    puppa Wednesday, 29 July 2020 05:26 AM

    you are out dated,earn in billions give others a chance and get lost.

    Namal Perera Wednesday, 29 July 2020 05:48 PM

    All those with a peanut of a brain should remember how this Joker ROBBED the Country to bankruptcy along with the family after using black money to buy over MP's from the Opposition to make a absolute majority in the Parliament. He turned Democratic Sri Lanka to a Corrupt Lawless Banana Republic with Jungle Law, Kangaroo Courts with Family Rule and TERRORIZED the entire Country. He amended the Constitution to stay in power for ever and went for a third term, openly violated all the Election Laws, rigged the results, but still got thrown out. You do not need a absolute Majority to Develop a Country, from what we have seen, Country is in danger with too much power in the hands of a CORRUPT Family. When it is a simple majority or even a minority Government, will be the best for any Country. Hope the Citizens will not be fooled once again by a Corrupt Family to Terrorize them once again.


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