Leader of the New Left Front, Member of Parliament Vasudeva Nanayakkara says, “If a caretaker government is appointed and action is taken towards holding a General Election, and if Ranil Wickremesinghe comes into the Opposition and tries to obstruct such a caretaker government, I have to mention that we will support such a government.”
Excerpts of the interview:
You brought in the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister despite knowing that it will be defeated?
A: No. There is a very different political situation now. The Local Government Elections result has created a huge disturbance within the Government; what is the reason for this defeat and who is to be blamed? Therefore, we hope to see the split that has arisen due to this disturbance in political thinking to be reflected in the no-confidence motion as well.
There is an allegation that the no-confidence motion does not include many of the allegations against the Prime Minister?
A: All the allegations, I am aware of, have been included in it. If there are other allegations that need to be included we can take them up during the debate. There is no obstacle to that.
Mahinda Rajapaksa avoided signing it this time too, didn’t he?
A: I thought he had signed it, even he has not signed, it was he who went to hand it over.
Why does he continuously avoid such matters?
A: I cannot give you a reason for that. I will find out and let you know.
If you all succeed in the no-confidence motion, who will be the next Prime Minister?
A: On the one hand, it is a task for Parliament. On the other hand, appointing the Prime Minister is the task of the President and accordingly that Prime Minister has to make decisions about appointing the Cabinet. What we have to do is end this Prime Minister’s authority and the Government through this no-confidence motion. At this time, neither the Joint Opposition nor the group who signed the motion have any further ideas or objectives.
If you do win the no-confidence motion, there is a possibility that the Prime Minister will be deprived of his post as well as the Leadership of his Party. Later a new leadership will be appointed by the UNP. Is this an attempt by you all to renew the UNP?
A: Some argue that, the bad characters of the UNP and the Government or the characters that engaged in serious misdemeanour and are the subject of huge allegations be removed and a new leader for the Government be appointed; and to create a better environment for the Government to go forward. This argument is totally wrong. The reason is, what happens with the no-confidence motion is there will be clashes within the Government and then it will collapse. That is our only objective. As a result it will be difficult for the Government to continue and the situation that will occur after that will not be a good time for the Government.
In an instance where you do not have a majority, will you support the Government?
A: We will support. If a caretaker government is appointed and action is taken towards holding a General Elections, if Ranil Wickremesinghe comes into the Opposition and tries to obstruct such a caretaker government, I have to mention that we will support such a government.
Does that mean unofficial support?
A: Not unofficially! We will support a government, against the Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Opposition activity, without joining the Government.
No one of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party in the Cabinet signed the no-confidence motion. It seems like trying to have the cake and eat it, too?
A: Only they know of their strategy, we are not aware of it. What we have to do is obtain the most number of signatures for this no-confidence motion and to agree to it. Today, there is extensive dialogue about this no-confidence motion and the allegations included in it. Until it is taken up for debate, there could be various opinions within dialogues of the United National Party and the Government. Certain factions in the UNP and the Government are expressing opposition to this Prime Minister. We can expect that in the future this will become a broader dialogue which will express the opinions of the people in this country. The reason is this no-confidence motion will be the subject of an unprecedented public dialogue. Such as never before seen in this country.
Are you all apprehensive of taking on the responsibility of government in the context of the existing situation?
A: No, we are prepared to take on the responsibility of government, if a recognized government is formed, with our leadership that means one where our Mahinda Rajapaksa will be appointed. It should be a government that will depend on our decisions.
At the LG Elections, you all repeatedly said that Mahinda Rajapaksa should be made the Prime Minister. Now, the battle is on to remove the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
If you all are unable to get your Prime Minister, is your objective to at least remove the incumbent?
A: Without removing him from the post, Mahinda Rajapaksa cannot be made Prime Minister.
However, isn’t it you all who say that a Prime Minister is proposed by the Government?
A: What we have said is, our objective is to establish a government of which Mahinda Rajapaksa is the Prime Minister.
At the elections the SLFP and your Party were in enemy camps. Now you have got together for the no-confidence motion. Have you all put aside your old animosity?
A: This election result has created a certain amount of shock within every Party and a lot of change has taken place. Among those, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party is the party which is faced with the biggest change. When they realized the situation regarding their party, based on the results, they have had to give thought to their future. That party has had to, now, come forward with new decisions.
A new electoral system was brought in at the LG Elections. Another new system has been prepared for the Provincial Councils. There is a discussion that it will go back to proportional representation, what is your opinion?
A: It is suitable to have the electoral system as well as the proportional representation system with the 60 to 40 ratio. It is what we have said regarding LG institutions as well. Accordingly, our stance is that it is within the broad framework of the electoral system and the proportional representation system existing with Provisional Councils within our Unitary State. is how we base our view.
You are an individual who raised a continuous voice against the Executive Presidency. What will be your stance if the proposal to abolish the Executive Presidency is presented in Parliament?
A: The Executive Presidency should be abolished, there are no second thoughts on that. However, there is the important question on when it should take place. Therefore, we will not get caught to a proposal of the UNP to abolish the Executive Presidency, to fulfil their needs.
Have you given up the Left?
A: What exactly is the Left is a subject up for debate these days. We do not know who the Leftists are. Those who wish for a conversion to a democratic system, those working against imperialists and their representatives, and on behalf of social justice should be considered Leftists in these countries.
However, there is an allegation that Vasudeva Nanayakkara who speaks of social justice and democracy, is today engaging in politics with an extremist racist camp. Have you, who spoke against racists fallen into the racist mire, today?
A: Now, in countries such as ours where various political alignments are taking place, it will not be possible to see representatives who have purely one ideology within those alliances. It will be an anti-imperialist alliance of various social origins and political alliances, within it there is racism as well as leftism. There are democratic forces too. The political group that is opposed to imperialism, in any country, is one that is mix of all these forces. This is especially so, in countries which have been subject to colonialism.
However, the allegation that several persons in your group are strong racists and spreading racism, isn’t it damaging to you?
A: What is important is our main objective. Our main objective is to defeat the UNP and the imperialist camp. To bring about that defeat we have to work together with various forces. We are maintaining our stance against racism, continuously. We have to work together with racist forces too.
Several in your group have directly said that the next common Presidential Candidate is Gotabaya Rajapaksa. As you see it, who is the person best suited to the post?
A: Chamal Rajapaksa
A majority of the points in your no-confidence motion is connected to the Central Bank Treasury Bond transaction?
A: The Prime Minister should be taken into custody immediately in connection with the Treasury Bond Fraud. When you consider allegations such as keeping Arjuna Mahendran in hiding, helping him to flee the country and being the chief guarantor for Arjuna Mahendran, if he is to be taken into custody immediately, statements should be obtained from him as a party to the Treasury Bond fraud and he should be summoned to Courts.
There is the argument, that an obstacle to getting down the former Governor of the Central Bank back into the country is that he is a citizen of Singapore. What is your stance on this?
A: Warrants have been sent ordering him to be present in Court and at the Criminal Investigations Department. However, if he does not do so, diplomatic action should be taken under international extradition laws to bring him back to Sri Lanka.
(Source: Ceylon Today – By Anuradha Herath)