President Maithripala Sirisena and ex-President Chandrika Kumaratunga have commended Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) for their contribution towards President Sirisena during his candidature at the Presidential elections, despite its leaders deciding to side with Mahinda Rajapaksa contrary to the principles of the party.
Sirisena and Kumaratunga had made these remarks with concern to a discussion titled ‘The Task of the Left Today’ that was organized by the members of the LSSP Central Committee who were expelled by the Tissa Vitarana group for supporting the common candidate.
In his statement President Sirisena has thanked the LSSP members for the support they extended towards him and the causes he stood for and said, “The majority of LSSP members supported my victory and in doing so took forward the LSSP traditions and stood for the party principles not just theoretically but also practically.”
While commending their contribution the President has further stated that he continues to expect the same level of contribution and support in his future endeavors.
Meanwhile, former President Kumaratunga in her statement has noted that she was surprised when the LSSP Leaders supported MR instead of Sirisena since it was he who announced a program alongside his candidate that included many policies close to the heart of the LSSP.
She has stated that the LSSP Leaders, by siding with MR who stood for further strengthening the Executive Presidency, the continuation of the 18th amendment and a total disregard towards the national problem and the minorities, lost a historic opportunity to join a popular movement for a change aimed at achieving the very issues for which it has fought against.
The discussion which was held on February 22 had been attended by party members from various parts, of the country, social activists and academics as well as representatives of fraternal and friendly political parties including SLFP, JVP, TNA and the NSSP.
Message of Felicitation Sent by President Maitripala Sirisena to the Sama Samaja Discourse, 22 Fbruary 2015
I am extremely happy to send a message of felicitation to the discourse organized by the members of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) on the subject “The Role of the Left Today” to be held on 22 February 2015.
The Lanka Sama Samaja Party has, from its inception, made an enormous contribution to the forward march of this country. The important role it played in winning independence, in the social changes that have been achieved and the establishment of a Republic in 1972 has gone down in history.
When the executive presidency was introduced to the country in 1978, Sama Samaja leaders such as Dr.N.M. Perera and Dr. Colvin R. de Silva, with their clear foresight, were in the forefront of educating the masses about the perils of the system. Sama Samaja leaders were actively involved in the social movement that was built up calling for the abolition of the executive presidency.
When I contested the last Presidential elections as the Common Candidate, one of my main campaign promises was the re-establishment of a parliamentary form of government in this country. The majority of the members of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party committed themselves towards my victory in the highest Sama Samajist traditions. Thus, Sama Samajist activists have contributed towards the abolition of the executive presidency, not only in theory but also in practice.
I greatly value the important role played by the members of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party and trust that they would continue their contribution in the future as well. It is my wish that the friendship and fraternal bonds that you all have with me will be strengthened in the future.
I wish your deliberations all success!
Message from President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
I have long admired the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) for the principled stand it took against the Executive Presidency, for its commitment to democracy and for its endeavours at helping to find a solution to the national question. The past few years saw a determined effort in the country to devalue democracy by strengtheningthe executive presidency through vastly increasing its powers and allowing the President to seek an unlimited number of terms. Attempts at working towards national were totally side-lined with the defeat of the LTTE.
Fortunately for us, these developments provoked a reaction amongst large sections of our society who prayed for the emergence of a movement which would reverse these trends and put the country back on the democratic path. I am proud of the role I played in launching this movement.
The LSSP with its progressive stand on many of these issues would have been expected to immerse itself fully in this struggle, especially since it was the Party that provided leadership last year to the Socialist Alliance call for the President not to hold any further Presidential elections and abolish the executive presidency – a demand that sadly fell on deaf ears.
When President Maitripala Sirisena announced his candidature with a programme which including many of the policies close to the heart of the LSSP, it was surprising to find the LSSP leaders supporting instead the incumbent President who clearly stood for further strengthening of the executive Presidency, continuation of the 18th amendment with its disastrous effects on democracy and good governance, and total disregard of the national problem and the minorities. In doing so, I believe the Party lost a historic opportunity to join a popular movement for change aimed at achieving the very issues for which it had fought over the years.
Despite the efforts of the leadership to distance the Party from this popular movement, the large majority of its members actively worked for the victory of the common candidate, realizing the importance of his programme in charting a path to re-establish democracy and achievetrue national reconciliation. In doing so, they have shown themselves to be the true standard- bearers of the LSSP which the country had come to know and respect over the years.
I am extremely happy to contribute this message on this significant occasion when the majority is attempting to mobilize its membership in a programme to revitalize the Party by committing itself once again to the policies based on the ideals and principles it has long revered.
I can assure you of my wholehearted support for these efforts and for any future endeavours aimed at uniting the progressive sections of our society to achieve these objectives.