- All parties must unite for reconciliation and religious co-existence
- Corruption and mismanagement must be eradicated
- Last opportunity to steer nation toward path to prosperity
By Skandha Gunasekara & Ashwin Hemanthagama
President Maithripala Sirisena in Parliament yesterday said that the Unity Government had failed to attain political maturity since it was appointed three years ago, resulting in discord being sowed between the parties in the ruling coalition.
The President made these remarks while delivering his policy statement during yesterday’s inauguration of the second session of the Eighth Parliament. He said that the two main parties in the Government had yet to reach a common consensus to sustain a national government to govern the country.
“Consensual political culture has provided the base for many states in modern day politics but it seems that it is still very much alien to us,” said President Sirisena.
President Sirisena said that the parties within the Unity Government should adhere to the Vajjin doctrine of the Buddha to attain harmonious rule. “I have always attempted to follow the Vajjin doctrine during the past three years of the National Government as I thought that it would ensure the success of the country and its people,” he said.
The President began his speech by highlighting all the achievements of the Coalition Government in the last three years, including the many legislations passed, such as the curtailing of the powers of the Executive President through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, the Right To Information Act, the Senaka Bibile National Drug Policy and the establishment of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol.
In the latter half of his 40-minute speech, President Sirisena asserted that Sri Lanka had three chief objectives that needed to be achieved. Accordingly, the first objective would be to develop the country in all sectors so as to be a respected country; the second would be to achieve religious and ethnic co-existence to maintain a peaceful nation and political stability while the third goal was to defeat corruption and mismanagement.
The President then said that the process of reconciliation could not not be implement by the Government alone.
“It must be acknowledged that managing the post-conflict situation is a long and challenging process. When we assumed duties, that task had been delayed for more than seven years. We have to eliminate the war mentality which is embedded in our polity and replace it with reconciliation and co-existence. A government alone cannot achieve that objective. All parties should unite for this crucial task in the name of the motherland. I call on all parties to unite to achieve that objective,” the President urged.
“It is my aim to realise these objectives while I’m in office,” he said.
He went on to say that the Government had many promises to fulfil.
“One of the main criticisms against us at present is the formation of a national government by the two main political parties. We did so to face the challenges before this nation. The nation is heavily indebted. We have to accept that this is the last chance we have to steer this nation forward on the right path to prosperity. In addition, we had the task of restoring democracy and rule of law when we commenced our government and it must be noted that we managed to bring about necessary structural changes for that purpose.”