Sri Lanka governing party candidate stresses security
The presidential candidate of Sri Lanka’s governing party said Thursday he will put a former army chief in charge of national security if he wins, an apparent move to counter front-runner Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whose campaign centers on security following last Easter’s deadly suicide bombings.
Security has become a key issue in the Nov. 16 election after the bombings, which killed more than 260 people.
Sajith Premadasa, the candidate of the governing United National Front, launched his campaign on Thursday, pledging to give priority to national security and “eliminate all forms of terrorism.”
He said he would appoint Sarath Fonseka, who led the army when it defeated ethnic Tamil rebels, ending a 26-year civil war. Fonseka is considered the main architect of the military operation and was awarded the country’s only field marshal rank for his role.
Premadasa’s main rival, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the brother of former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, served as the secretary of the defense ministry during the civil war, which ended in 2009.
Both Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Fonseka are considered war heroes by many ethnic majority Sinhalese.
After the war’s end, Fonseka was sidelined and fell apart with Rajapaksa. Their animosity increased after Fonseka retired from service and unsuccessfully contested Mahinda Rajapaksa in the 2010 presidential election.
Soon after his defeat, Fonseka was arrested and court martialed for alleged corruption in military purchases when he was commander.
Since then, Fonseka has been an archrival of Rajapaksa.
Fonseka is currently a governing party lawmaker.
The April 21 suicide attacks by seven Muslim militants boosted Rajapaksa’s fortunes, with many people praising his wartime role and leadership.
Sri Lankan leaders and the security establishment have been under fire for not acting on near-specific intelligence reports of possible attacks ahead of the bombings.
On Wednesday, Rajapaksa launched his election campaign, criticizing the government’s failure to protect the country’s security. He vowed to create a safe country if he takes power.
A record 35 candidates filed nominations on Monday for the election, with Rajapaksa considered the favorite.
- Sri Lanka relaxes import restrictions on over 300 items June 10, 2023
- Sri Lanka Government to go ahead with privatising SLT despite ‘NO’ from S.O.C. on National Security June 10, 2023
- Seven Police Narcotics Bureau officers arrested over death of vocational trainer in custody June 9, 2023
- Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security recommends not to privatise Sri Lanka Telecom June 9, 2023
- Sarath Fonseka resigns from Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security June 9, 2023
If our own articles refer to the LTTE as
“Tamil rebels” and not as Tamil terrorists, which is what they are, then we may also trivialise the atrocities that they did to our country and her people!
The LTTE have never stopped their ideology or their fundraising. We need to be mindful and vigilant to avoid it from taking over again.
Of course Chanaka,
The Tamil speaking Sri Lankans will achieve their dream following Elections on 16 Nov.
They achieved 70% of their goals by refraining from voting for RW in the 2005 elections which drove MR to the helm.
This ensured the re-birth of the Country into a Paraya State with war criminals galore.
In 2019, the Tamil community will vote AKD 1st preference and Hizbullah 2nd preference.
That means the president will be decided purely of Sinhala Buddhist votes.
Between 2020 and 2025, there will be a UN supervised plebiscite in the north and east on the creation of a separate state which will be approved by an overwhelming majority.
It is understandable that NTA supporters want UNP (and Yaha Palanaya) to remain to realize their fantasy eelam dream. However, we have to commend them for voting for a General (even as second choise) who took active part in the terror war.
Reply to Mr Somasunderam,
Separate state? On what basis?
Sri Lanka is a sovereign country , which cannot be broken up on the whims and fancies of fascist ideology, ethnic cleansing, wiping out cultural heritage!
Foreign powers are fighting their own domestic battles; majority versus minorities.
In U.K., Brexit was the solution to the majority not wanting more minorities from mainland Europe, change of culture and demographics.
Similarly in Europe, the far right national parties are gaining political power due to resentment of non-European minorities.
None of the minorities in these countries are demanding separate states, yet racist attacks and discrimination is increasing.
The Tamil-speaking people have two options:
1) Recognise that they are Sri Lankans living alongside other races, and tolerate the differences.
2) Emmigrate to South India where there is a Tamil majority, and their dreams of living in a virtually Tamil-only region are fulfilled.
As for ” war crimes” , if you say a lie enough times, it does not always become the truth!
Blair and Bush invaded a country for mythical WMD. Millions were killed and orphaned. That invasion and the war that followed was amountable to war crimes. They are living free!
Sri Lanka’s war was not an invasion, but a threat to sovereignty!