Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe hit out against factions in Parliament that were trying to scuttle the 19th Amendment its key constitutional reforms, saying it was the same group that was also trying to prevent action being taken against corrupt officials.
Addressing a meeting of UNP members at his offices in Temple Trees yesterday, the Prime Minister said moves were afoot to scuttle the Government’s 100-day program, to ensure the people’s aspirations were not met.
“If a Parliament that wants to protect the corrupt won’t allow us to complete our 100 day program of work, we will go back to the people and ask them to elect a Parliament that will,” the Premier charged during the meeting.
“We cannot permit any mischievous forces to rob this people’s victory. We will not submit to them,” he said.
“There is no greater shame than the Parliament being unwilling to pass the 19th Amendment to reduce the powers of the presidency, when the President himself is willing to give up his powers,” the Prime Minister asserted.
The mandate of the current Parliament expired the day President Maithripala Sirisena won the presidency, the Prime Minister explained. The people elected the present Parliament to support President Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2010, he said.
“The day Mahinda Rajapaksa lost his people’s mandate, so did the current Parliament,” Wickremesinghe said.
The Prime Minister claimed that the current Parliament was in place to implement President Sirisena’s 100-day program. “If it will not allow the implementation of this program, then it must go home immediately,” he charged.
The Premier vowed that the Government would not give in to the demands of a small minority and cease action against corruption. “The people gave us a mandate to wield power. If these groups cannot respect that mandate, we will go before the people again and ask for a new mandate,” he said.
The country had no use for a Parliament that only sought to protect thieves and crooks, Wickremesinghe said.
“The people did not vote for a Parliament that protects the corrupt,” he noted.