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New President assures a Sri Lanka for all Sri Lankans

21 November 2019 12:32 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail,” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Today’s column joins millions of fellow Sri Lankans in congratulating and conveying our good wishes to Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his unprecedented election victory obtaining 52.25 per cent or 6,924,255 of the total votes polled. A non-politician elected President for the first time in Sri Lanka’s history; he took oaths before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya as the 7th Executive President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka at a ceremony held in the vicinity of the historic Ruwanweli Maha Seya at Anuradhapura on Monday.   

Soon after his victory in a keenly-contested and hard-fought presidential election campaign, the 70-year-old President-elect assured he would be a President of all Sri Lankans whatever their caste, creed or ethnicity may be.   

In his address to the nation after his swearing-in, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said he would take steps to set up a new Government which would be capable of accomplishing his vision and policies for the country. He thanked his brothers Mahinda and Basil for assisting him in his presidential campaign and also thanked the members and leaders of all political parties, including the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) which rallied round him.   

He assured that during his tenure as President, he would fulfil his pledges as outlined in his election manifesto and urged all Sri Lankans to join him in the task of rebuilding our Motherland. Having earlier served as defence secretary under former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, the newly sworn-in President undertook to make national security one of the priorities of his government.   

With reference to our Foreign Policy, he said Sri Lanka would maintain friendly relations with all nations while remaining neutral and staying out of conflicts among international powers. He also pledged to support the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and make Sri Lanka one of the leading countries in sustainable development.   

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa underscored the fact that his Government would strive to be an example to society and that professionalism and efficiency would become a cornerstone of the country’s public service adding that corruption would not be tolerated under his administration.   

He reiterated his commitment to serve all Sri Lankans, assuring them he would protect their rights and as the Executive President of Sri Lanka he said he would not hesitate to exercise his executive powers for the well-being of the nation.   

Meanwhile, his main rival, New Democratic Front (NDF) presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa received 41.99 per cent or 5,564,239 of the total votes polled at Saturday’s presidential election while the other 33 candidates together polled a measly 5.76 per cent. One of the notable features of the election campaign was its peaceful nature with the acrimony, rancour and the brickbats hurled at each other being confined to the election platforms.   

Mr. Premadasa conceded defeat long before all the results were out and in his post-election speech congratulated Mr. Rajapaksa on his election as the new President of Sri Lanka.   

“I express my heartfelt gratitude to all our citizens who voted for me and am humbled by your faith placed in me. Your support has been a fountain of strength throughout my 26-year political career and place on record my gratitude to all those who worked tirelessly for my campaign. My family and I will never forget your sacrifice and dedication,” Mr. Premadasa said. “We have just witnessed the most peaceful presidential election in the history of our independent republic. This was a result of the democratic gains and institutional reforms that have taken place over the past five years, empowering an independent Election Commission and restoring the rule of law. I appeal to the incoming President to take this process forward while strengthening and protecting the democratic institutions and values that enabled his peaceful election as the 7th Executive President of Sri Lanka. I also urge Mr. Rajapaksa to ensure that the post-election environment is peaceful and that no citizen or NDF party supporter is persecuted or harmed for their role in supporting my candidacy.”   

Newly-sworn-in President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who assumed duties on Tuesday at his office at the presidential secretariat, has many metaphorical hills to climb in reviving Sri Lanka’s flagging economy, restoring peace and harmony among all communities and the healing of wounds, which is a necessary fallout of a vigorous election campaign so that together we can move ahead with all Sri Lankans being stakeholders of a peaceful and prosperous future making us proud of Sri Lanka and of being Sri Lankan.   

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