President Maithripala Sirisena’s stand was that ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa would not be made the Prime Ministerial candidate, nor be appointed as a National list MP nor be given nomination, Cabinet Spokesman, Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said.
Responding to a question by a journalist at the Cabinet press briefing at the Information Department auditorium yesterday, the minister said the Committee comprising six members appointed to resume talks between President Sirisena and former President Rajapaksa would have to deal with this stand.
“President Sirisena will only move forward from where he is now. He is not a leader who will take a step back. Mahinda Rajapaksa had already served as an MP, Minister, Opposition Leader, Prime Minister and President. What more does he want? It was a bad precedent by Rajapaksa, and what if all former Presidents want to return as MPs after their term,?” he asked.
The minister further opined that anybody who is willing to embrace good governance could join the party. “Our efforts are to achieve good governance and this cannot be reversed at any cost. President Sirisena has very strong self-confidence and that is what makes up his personality. The President has already vowed that drug dealers and wagabonds would not be given nominations under the flagship of his party,” he commented.
The minister said that the aim of the SLFP is to create politicians enriched with the vision of Nelson Mandela. “We do not want to create Robert Mugabe’s which would destroy the country. The country, which was on the verge of a Mugabe form of governance was got rid of after a hard struggle.
“Sri Lanka was isolated in the world and we almost lost our neighbour . We should not let the country go back to that state of affairs again,” he remarked.
He stressed that the SLFP would not take any decision that might harm the country. “How can the party be made victorious while clinging to a defeated leader? We will not lose the next election. Our slogan for the next election too will be a compassionate rule and compassionate era (Maithri Yugayak, Maithri Palanayak). The next government will be formed to take forward President Sirisena’s vision.
“The Prime Minister will be appointed from the party which secures the majority seats,” he said.
Responding to another question, he said Parliament would only be dissolved after passing the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.
Media Ministry Secretary Karunaratne Paranavitana was also present.