Leader of the Liberal Party of Sri Lanka MP Rajiva Wijesinha says that it is important that Mahinda Rajapaksa does not win the forthcoming Presidential Election, because if he wins the consequences for Sri Lanka’s armed forces will be very negative.
Wijesinha, who recently quit the government with former Minister Maithripala Sirisena, was speaking as a panelist, along with UNP economic spokesman MP Harsha de Silva and Global Tamil Forum (GTF) spokesman Suren Surendiran, in Aljazeera’s “Inside Story” segment on Thursday (20).
“I think the President does feel beleaguered,” he said, adding, there is a strange combination of wanting to continue in office himself, because Rajapaksa obviously thinks he is the best person for the country and he has certain achievements to his credit.
“I think it was important that he got rid of terrorism in our shores and he did try to rebuild the North – not as productively or in consultation with people he should have – but certainly there have been a lot of development,” he said.
A former Secretary of Human Rights Ministry and Advisor on Reconciliation to President Rajapaksa, Wijesinha said one of the reasons he feels so beleaguered is precisely the confusion between the international pressure on him, which comes from a variety of reasons.
“In part there is a lot of pressure on certain governments and they’ve admitted to trying to persecute him for war crimes and in part there is certain worry about his foreign policy,” he said.
“I think one reason it is important that Mahinda Rajapaksa does not win the election is because if he wins the consequences for our forces will be very negative,” he said. “I believe that our forces fought a relatively decent war compared with a lot of other people.”
Wijesinha accused the present government of being “foolish” with India, which was very helpful to Sri Lanka in dealing with terrorism and at the same time did so on behalf of the Tamil people, and for not fulfilling its promises.
Asked about his opinion as to why President Rajapaksa called for snap elections, he said: “I think one of the reasons he wants to have elections now is that he realizes that his popularity is dropping and the longer he waits the less well he will do.”
“But I also think that there is a very dangerous collection of people around him who are treating him as a sort of cash cow,” he charged.
Wijesinha claimed that they blockaded him from understanding the reality of what is going on in the country and they that let him out of this “fortress” only in order to “use him – because he is undoubtedly popular – to win elections.”
“The minute he’ll win the election – if that happens – they will shut him up again and go in their merry way,” he said. “So I think it is really a great pity that he has gone for these early elections.”
The MP said that his party told Rajapaksa that if he went for elections without reforms, some of which he pledged himself, they would not be able to support him.