Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has rejected an offer by his successor Maithripala Sirisena to appoint him to a ‘distinguished office’ if he quits politics.The offer was made by President Sirisena to a six-member Committee of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) on Friday.
The committee, named at the SLFP’s National Executive Council meeting chaired by Mr Sirisena on Tuesday, was to evolve ways and means of bringing about unity in the party. The same night the six-member Committee met in Colombo and decided to ask Mr Sirisena to take Rajapaksa on board for the parliamentary election campaign among other matters.
They conveyed their decision to Sirisena on Friday afternoon. The President said Rajapaksa would not be made the Prime Ministerial candidate nor appointed on the National List. He said he would offer him a Sambhavaneeya Thanathurak or a distinguished office. When the message was conveyed to Rajapaksa by the Committee members, Rajapaksa rejected the offer and declared that the people wanted him to serve them. He is expected to issue a detailed statement.
President Sirisena who met two senior state officials of the previous Government also repeated his offer. It came when former Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera had a meeting with him. The purpose of their meeting was to explain matters relating to ongoing investigations by different state agencies into the actions of state officers who served the previous Government. They expressed fears that those at the highest levels of the state sector would be hesitant to act.
President Sirisena took the opportunity to brief the two former senior state officials on discussions he held on Friday with the six-member committee. The members of the committee are Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Susil Premajayantha, John Seneviratne, Dilan Perera, Kumara Welgama and T.B. Ekanayake.