Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has dubbed those “opportunistic forces” which are campaigning against the on-going ethnic and religious reconciliation process as enemies of the country.
“The government’s endeavor for reconciliation and communal harmony has been praised locally as well as internationally. The opportunistic forces that are against the on-going reconciliation process are against the country,” the President said in his address to the nation at the 69 th.Independence Day military parade here on Saturday.
“We are a nation that deserves to live a prosperous life in a country where peace and justice and equality prevail,” he added.
“There is a new meaning in today’s freedom as we are talking about a freedom that blows freely across the skies. This is an era in which human freedom, media freedom, freedom of expression, freedom of thought and freedom to gather freely blow across the skies.”
By K. Ratnayake
Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has urged his supporters to help him topple the government. Addressing a January 27 rally of tens of thousands in the Colombo suburb of Nugegoda, Rajapakse denounced the government as “corrupt” and declared he was “ready to lead the force” to bring it down.
Promoted as “The beginning of the struggle,” the event was part of intensifying efforts by Rajapakse, a group of sitting parliamentarians, known as the Joint Opposition (JO), and their supporters to return him to power.
The escalating conflict between the Rajapakse-led JO and the administration of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is an expression of deepening political instability within the ruling elite. Colombo faces escalating balance of trade and foreign debt problems and growing struggles of workers and the poor against its social austerity measures.
Currently 45 members of parliament, including Rajapakse, back the former president, and sit on the opposition benches. The group includes a faction of Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the SLFP-led United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). Sirisena has the support of just 50 MPs. Wickremesinghe heads the United National Party (UNP).