by Zacki Jabbar
President Maithripala Sirisena, breaking his silence for the first time, has told SLFP seniors that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa cannot be nominated as the UPFA’s prime ministerial candidate because he had been rejected by the people for running a lawless and corrupt government.
“How do you expect me to nominate Mahinda as our prime ministerial candidate when the vast majority of people have voted against him for not adhering to good governance, rule of law and the unprecedented corruption that prevailed under his rule,” the president had asked Rajapaksa loyalists pushing the “Bring Back Mahinda” line, informed sources said yesterday.
Sirisena had explained that he had been elected to office on a pledge to re-establish democratic governance, enforce the rule of law and eliminate the massive corruption that had occurred during Rajapaksa’s watch.
“It is unreasonable for you’ll to be mediating on behalf of a person who has been rejected by the masses. How, can I act in direct contravention of my election manifesto which was endorsed by over six million people?” the president had asked.
Saying that the political picture should not be read from numbers at public meetings alone, the president had said that many people now know much about the massive corruption under the Rajapaksas they were ignorant of during the last presidential election.
“They would give a fitting reply were Mahinda to run for public office once again,” he has said.
Mahinda owes the SLFP for elevating him to the positions of Oppostition Leader, Minister , Prime Minister and President and it was now time for him to show his gratitude to the party.
He was now a joint patron of the SLFP and must not hold the party to ransom ultimately benefiting the UNP, the president had stressed.
Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said last week that President Sirisena had no objection to Rajapaksa campaigning on behalf of the SLFP-led UPFA; but the party would neither give him nomination to run for election nor appoint him to Parliament on the National List