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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Sirisena turns traitor

The stage is set for the seventh Presidential election. Although the UNP-led Opposition is making a big hue and cry, it was the self-same party which introduced the Executive Presidency while it was in power with a five-sixths majority after the 1977 general election victory.

The Executive Presidency and the preferential electoral system were introduced under the 1978 Constitution by the then Prime Minister J.R. Jayewardene. Regrettably, there was no election for the first Executive President in the country. JRJ interpreted it in his own way and exploited the thumping majority he enjoyed in the Legislature to become the first Executive President sans an election.

The first presidential election was held in 1982 at which Jayewardene sought a second term in office. Since then, we have witnessed five other presidential elections in 1988, 1994, 1999, 2005 and 2010. President Ranasinghe Premadasa's tenure after the 1988 election victory amidst JVP violence ended prematurely when he was assassinated by an LTTE suicide bomber during the UNP's 1993 May Day procession. This helped the then Prime Minister D.B. Wijetunga to become the President to complete President Premadasa's remaining term. The country had been run by the SLFP-led coalition Presidents for two decades since 1994 - two terms each by former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Political parties in the Opposition have already conceded that they are unable to defeat President Rajapaksa at the next presidential election. They have acknowledged defeat even prior to the announcement of the date of the next presidential election where President Rajapaksa is seeking a record third term.

The so-called joint Opposition is shouting itself hoarse on their common candidate but has failed to find a strong Opposition politician who could match President Rajapaksa's immense popularity. Hence, they have now found Maithipala Sirisena who had betrayed not only his voters in Polonnaruwa but also the entire nation by falling prey to the Opposition's trap.

People have betrayed nations from time immemorial. Over the years opportunists had turned traitors, caring two hoots for their motherland. Sri Lanka is certainly no exception. From ancient times, there had been pusillanimous characters who had betrayed their country for petty gains.

Even during the British rule, from 1815 to 1948, there were several instances where the country had been betrayed to gain positions, power and wealth from the British rulers. Irrespective of the time or period, these traitors acted in this manner due to their lust for power or personal benefits. The latest in that long list is the so-called Opposition's common candidate is Sirisena after Sarath Fonseka played a similar role at the last 2010 presidential election.

Fonseka's greatest betrayal was to team up with opportunistic Opposition parties and extremist elements to create dissension in the country at the last presidential election. Maithripala is now getting ready to play a similar role.

Thanks to the overwhelming support the masses extended to President Rajapaksa, all these conspiracies were thwarted. Five years on we see another similar character yearning to play a similar role and rob the country of its hard-earned peace, with the support of the TNA, the LTTE rump and a few Western politicians who are hell-bent on a regime change in Sri Lanka.

The Opposition is ready to embrace the pro-LTTE goons in the TNA. It is needless to dwell on the type of politics that the TNA indulges in. It is an open secret that the TNA had been a Tiger proxy and attempted to pump the last drop of oxygen to the LTTE leadership during the 2006-2009 humanitarian operation.

The UNP and TNA leaders went on many world jaunts to woo Western support and pressurise the Government to stop the battle against LTTE terror. According to reports some senior UNP leaders had held discussions with the LTTE rump in Europe.

The TNA leadership put down the same conditions to UPFA candidate, President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the last presidential election. But the President was not willing to compromise the country's sovereignty and the hard-earned victories of the valiant Security Forces for the sake of retaining power.

The President vehemently rejected the TNA's proposal to exchange TNA votes in the larger interests of the country and that of the Security Forces. The President won a convincing victory at the January 2010 presidential election. The Opposition's sole aim this time too is also to win at any cost.

Hence, the Opposition's common candidate will fall in line with whatever conditions the West, the LTTE rump and the TNA put forward. Unlike President Rajapaksa, the power-hungry common candidate does not perceive the gravity of these conditions. Even though Maithripala knows the repercussions of the proposals that the anti-Sri Lankan elements would make, he cares less as his sole aim is to become the President by hook or by crook.

If President Rajapaksa is willing to undermine the magnificent victories of the Security Forces, he too could easily enlist the TNA's support. But the President will never do so even in his wildest dreams.

This is precisely why the masses need to be extra vigilant at the forthcoming presidential election. This would be not merely voting for the political party one supports but a crucial decision that could prove extremely costly and push back the country to that dark era again.

The country's pathetic situation when President Rajapaksa first assumed office nine years ago is still fresh in people's minds. The economy was in the doldrums as LTTE terrorism was at its peak. The nation's future was bleak and LTTE bombs, targeting civilians, were the order of the day.

Regrettably, some people have conveniently forgotten the circumstances under which the President took the challenge of changing the nation's destiny. At the time, the people yearned for peace and amity for them to live in harmony.

Thanks to the President's political sagacity and illustrious leadership, the Security Forces vanquished the world's most ruthless terrorist outfit in three-and-a-half-years, a feat which most people thought was an impossible task. The President inspired the true sons of our soil with all logistical support to accomplish that impossible mission.

If by chance, power goes to the wrong hands and a puppet of the West is installed, terrorism could raise its ugly head again. The LTTE rump could use power-hungry Maithripala to make a comeback under the guise of strengthening peace and reconciliation. Moreover, he is backed by certain Western elements and 'peace merchants', along with former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga who permitted the LTTE to strengthen itself when she was at helm and even went to the extent of granting a self-governing body called PETOMs after the 2004 tsunami devastation. This is where the masses need to be extra cautious, sinking petty political differences. One must decide oneself whether one could permit a 'Western peace agent' to ruin the country's hard-earned peace.

With the dawn of peace, President Rajapaksa took on the challenge of winning the 'economic war' as well to put the country on the right development path. His ultimate goal is to make the country the Wonder of Asia.

Sri Lanka is now marching towards that cherished goal. Never in Sri Lanka's history has the country witnessed such mega development projects. President Rajapaksa not only united the country by vanquishing the LTTE but also ensured a secure future for the nation.President Rajapaksa restored peace and unity in the country and it is no surprise that he is enjoying tremendous popularity among people from all walks of life who are eternally grateful to him for defeating terrorism and ushering in peace.

The President, during his second term in office ensured that the country is endowed with peace and political stability. Today, Sri Lanka has become a haven for prominent foreign investors.

President Rajapaksa has also won world acclaim for Sri Lanka and his appointment as Head of the Commonwealth was ample testimony to the wide recognition the international community has held him in. The country would undoubtedly sustain these achievements and progress as a developed nation under the Mahinda Chinthana.

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