Army will not be withdrawn from Jaffna – Sirisena

Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremasinghe

The National Democratic Front’s (NDF) Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday that he would ensure maximum security to ensure the territorial integrity of the country including Jaffna, if he secured the presidency on Jan. 8.

Addressing the diplomatic community in Colombo to explain his policies, he observed that President Mahinda Rajapaksa having realised that the writing was on the wall was spreading blatant lies in the hope that he could arrest the slide, but it would be a futile exercise.

” One of Mahinda’s allegations is that if I became President, I would withdraw the army from Jaffna. But it’s a blatant lie since I have never said such a thing”, Sirisena said, adding that he would strengthen and not weaken national security where necessary.

The NDF’s Presidential Candidate, who maintained that he was the Acting Defence Minister during the last two weeks or so of the war which ended on May 19, 2009 said that the hard won victory over the LTTE which was achieved due to the combined efforts of successive political and military leaders and sacrifices made by people of all communities, would not be bartered away to please anyone.

The UPFA government was behaving very childishly and foolishly by even releasing old proposals submitted to it by political parties that had deserted it in the recent, past after labeling them as new ones. Such was their desperation, he noted.

Leader of the UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe said that military personnel were being used by Rajapaksa in his election campaign in clear violation of Polls laws and indicative of a person who knew his days were numbered.

Pledging to abolish the 18th Amendment to the Constitution which had got rid of the Independent Public, Election, Police, Bribery or Corruption, Finance and Delimitation Commissions, Sirisena promised to deliver a “Maithri Samajaya” where democracy, good governance and the rule of law prevailed.

Highlighting the key elements of his manifesto, Sirisena who calls himself the “Consensus Candidate for the Joint Opposition” said that he would abolish the Executive Presidency within 100 days of him winning the Presidential Election.

“It is imperative that the enormous powers wielded by the Executive President be removed and the Chief Executive be held accountable to Parliament and the people for his acts of omission and commission,” he observed.

Among the other key proposals contained in his manifesto, the NDF’s Presidential candidate said were:

  • The introduction of a democratic constitution answerable to the people and providing for the first- past-the-post- electoral system with elements of proportional representation .
  • Empowering the Central Bank to play its vital role in an independent overseer of the economy
  • Ensuring that the judiciary and the Attorney General would no longer have to bow to the will of the all-powerful Executive.
  • Guranteeing Media Freedom
  • Establishing a Right to Information Law which would empower the citizen to have access to information that should be in the public domain as in a truly democratic country.
  • Build a just, equitable and inclusive society where every citizen will have access to equal opportunities and co-exist in peace and harmony.

(Courtesy: The Island)