Friday, January 15, 2010

National question: Solution during second term - President

by Wijitha NAKKAWITA

*Could not agree to TNA demands
*Talk of abolishing Presidency political gimmick
*Rajapaksas maligned by Opposition

President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he will present his own solution to the problem of the people of the North and East during his second term. He said they have seen a number of All Party Committees appointed to find a solution with no agreement reached on a solution. “ Therefore, I would present my own solution so that all parties and groups could discuss it and arrive at a solution accepted to all groups in the country,” the President said.

Addressing the print media at Temple Trees on Wednesday, President Rajapaksa said no one should play politics with the problems of the people and he was determined to ensure that the people, mostly the younger generation could live in a country without division and conflict. “We have to ensure that all ethnic or religious groups enjoy equal rights in an undivided country”.

The President said the Opposition political campaign was not based on a political philosophy but on a vilification. The allegations made by the Opposition were fabricated.

The Rajapaksas were being maligned but they had been elected by the people for the past seven decades. During the past 40 years he was with the people who elected him but he was never ambitious. It was the people who supported him and they were aware of the policies he had implemented.

The Mahinda Chintana Idiri Dekma policy program that he presented aims at rapid economic development of the country with plans for all sectors. The first Mahinda Chintana policy program had been implemented with mega infrastructure development schemes like five ports, a new international airport, a number of power plants, health and education development programs.

Most pledges made during the 2005 Presidential election had been implemented and the pledges made for the next six years in the second manifesto will also be implemented, the President noted. “My opponents say they would abolish Executive Presidency if they are elected to power but no Executive President can abolish it. Under the provisions of the 1978 Constitution it could be abolished by a two thirds majority in Parliament followed by a referendum.

Therefore, the promise of abolishing the Executive Presidency was only a political gimmick put forward to deceive the people the President added.

”We have been able to pursue a sound foreign policy during the past four years based on the principle of non-alignment enunciated by the founder leader of the SLFP, my party, followed by Premier Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Due to the pragmatic foreign policy we followed several countries helped us without strings attached. For instance when the world oil crisis was looming Iran helped us by giving us oil for six months on an interest free credit agreement. Other countries including our neighbours India, China and Japan had also helped in several areas”.

Asked about the stance of taken by the TNA to support the Opposition, the President said the TNA met him and made certain demands like merging the de-merged Northern and Eastern Province.

”I could not agree. My policy is the unitary status of the country.”

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