Some ministers said today they were in favour of abolishing the executive presidency or to at least prune its powers and would continue the struggle to bring these about.
At a media conference held Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) head office, the ministers -- many of whom were mentioned in the media as possible crossovers to the opposition when asked by a journalist about the President’s statement that he held the files of several ministers to be used if and when necessary -- said it was not the correct thing to do or to say.
However, they said this was not the right time to abolish the executive presidency or prune its powers because of the international conspiracy against the government and added that while remaining in the Government, they would continue their fight to abolish it.
Minor Export Crop Promotion Minister Reginald Cooray said there had been an ideological and visionary agitation to abolish the executive presidency from the day it was introduced into the Constitution of Sri Lanka because such a move was extremely important for good governance and the wellbeing of society.
Commenting on the pledges given by President Rajapaksa in 2005 and 2010 in his Mahinda Chintana manifestos to abolish the executive presidency, Minister Cooray said when considering the promise made by certain politicians to obtain rice from the moon the President’s broken promises were not a big deal.
“We are concerned about the threat posed to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country at the moment. The Tamil diaspora has vowed to take President Rajapaksa before an international tribunal for alleged war crimes in the way the Liberia’s Charles Taylor was brought before an international court. We can’t let this happen and our beautiful dream is more realistic now. That is why we want to wait for the right time to raise our voice against the executive presidency. This is not the time for that,” the minister said.
He said it was extremely difficult to performing his duties as Minor Export Crop Promotion Minister.
Wayamba Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) minsters and parliamentarians held various views and were capable of taking the right decision at the right time and as such they would not cross over to the opposition as speculated.
“I know most members of the UPFA were disappointed and heartbroken. But they don’t want to be Ehelepolas and betray the party and the President at a moment when anti Sri Lankan forces were waiting on the wings to ignite an Arabic Spring style public uprising in Sri Lanka,” he said.
Private Transport Services Minister C.B. Ratnayaka said he was also downhearted about the happenings in the party but did not want to betray the President and added it was sad to witness that Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s children had made the SLFP their private property.
National Language and social Integration Minister Vasudeva Nnayakkara said the abolishing of the executive presidency becomes the second priority when there was conspiracy against the government by capitalist and anti-national forces.
‘The anti-government forces want a regime change and divide the country. Though we are against the executive presidency, our priority right now is to save the government from those enemies,” the minister said.
Senior Minister Piyasena Gamage said talk about his quoting the government was only media speculations and not true.
The minister said he would ensure the biggest victory for President Rajapaksa at the upcoming presidential poll. (Sandun A Jayasekera)