By Kamal Nissanka –
The internal crisis in the Liberal Party further worsened as eleven members of the national committee are in favour of the “yahapalana Program” of the United National Front for Good Governance. Dr Sarath Buddhadasa, senior Vice President of the party who was mediating between the two factions surprisingly tendered his resignation from the national committee and the party on 28, 07.2015. With this move only two committee members remain with Dr Rajiva Wijesinha, who has included his name in the national list of UPFA without a duly signed Memorandum of Understanding between the Liberal Party and the United People’s Freedom Alliance. There are 15 elected members of the national committee of the Liberal Party.
The committee met on last Sunday (26.07.2015) decided to confer authority to Mr. Ananda Stephen (Deputy Secretary General) to sign the “Yahapalana Program” that was organized at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute on 29. 07.2015. Hon Ranil Wickremesinghe and Rev Maduluwawe Sobitha were the main signatories apart from over 100 organizations that endorsed the document.
Signs of the present crisis in the party were first apparent when Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General of the party had been active in the People’s Movement for a Just Society since middle of the last year and the present split could have occurred earlier at the end of last year if Dr Rajiva Wijesinha remained in the Rajapakse camp. For the amusement of the party committee he crossed over from the Rajapaksa camp and leaned with anti Rajapakse forces when President Maithripala Sirisena took his historic decision to contest the presidential election. He did not inform the party his decision to cross over from Rajapakse camp or clarified his reasons for cross over. To my knowledge Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa has not done anything wrong to him although he went against him at end of last year.
Liberals are more concern on human rights, democratic rights of the people, and protection of practice of rule of law and were of the view that the 18th amendment paved the way for authoritarian style of governance and closure of democratic space during the second phase of administration of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The struggle against Rajapaksa familial rule was shaped as a direct result of the introduction of the 18th amendment and in this regard it is unforgettable that the necessary two third majorities was provided by UNP crosses overs. The retaliation directed at Lasantha Wickrematunge, Sarath Fonseka, Shirani Bandaranayake and many journalists was not tolerated by the silent masses and majority of the Liberal Party too was thinking of regime change.
In the circumstances Liberal Party cannot again jump in to bandwagon of Rajapaksas as it thinks the continuation of January 8 revolution is the historical political task of the people.
*Kamal Nissanka – Secretary General, the Liberal Party