4 February, 2023

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Obligations Of 225 MPs & The Party Leaders To The People Of Sri Lanka

Parliament will meet next week to elect a new President to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (GR). He went missing after the events of 9th July, and surfaced again with a written message to the People of Sri Lanka, and a letter of resignation of office, on the 14th July.

While still in office GR tried to use the Constitution to create what he called “new governments,” the last with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and different partners of his Pohottuwa government. The failure of these efforts was manifested in the events of 9th July which resulted in him being forced to flee the country.

A powerful People’s movement with leadership by our youth, the Aragalaya, impacted to ensure the resignation of a near invincible President and his family members in government, as well as key officials. The people will not be satisfied by the election of a new President to fill the vacancy in this office if this once again results in a government headed by someone who is perceived to be closely associated with the same Pohottuwa government of GR. They have indicated that they will not trust such a government to resolve the current man-made crisis they have created themselves. This has had a devastating impact on their lives and their children and will also impact future generations. They realise that if the current political crisis is not resolved without any further delay, the country will lose all hope of resolving the prevailing economic crisis in a meaningful manner. We may not be able to obtain the international financial support and debt restructuring that will take Sri Lanka out of its bankruptcy and this man-made economic disaster.

Our country’s future is now in the hands of 225 members of Parliament. It is their obligation to safeguard the public interest by understanding and accepting the current reality. The People expect them to fulfill their obligations as Members of Parliament elected to office. They are the representatives of the People in Parliament, who by their vote can heed the demand for change in governance by the peaceful transfer of power to an All-Party short term interim government. It is also very clear that this vision will only be realised if a new President not linked to the GR government is elected next week by Parliament. Electing such a President is essential to give new leadership at this time and inspire confidence in the People.

It is therefore critical that a new President and an All-Party government trusted by the People is put in office for a short interim period before General Elections can be held.  Failure to do so because of narrow party politics, personal ambitions of high office, or worse, because of money paid for a vote, will become information in the public domain very soon. A secret ballot will not prevent the votes cast being analysed to clearly demonstrate to the People who heard the Peoples’ voice for change, and who did not. Those MPs who put their party and personal ambitions above the public interest at this critical moment for the country, must know that the People will inevitably reject them for this betrayal, with their votes at the next election.

Party Leaders of the Opposition must in particular   give critically important and vital leadership at this time, by putting aside party politics, and their personal ambitions and agendas. It is only by doing so that they will inspire the confidence that will place them in office to lead this nation, whenever elections are held. They must forge the unity that will help them field a SINGLE candidate for the vital post of President who will not perpetuate the original Gotabhaya Rajapakse government.  With his resignation, that government has lost any fragment of credibility and the right to represent the People.

The election for a new President in Parliament is in many ways a last chance to fulfill the urgent need to place governance in the hands of a different All Party interim government and bring the political stability that is the foundation of economic recovery. It is essential that a new President must be elected who can command the confidence of the People and lead an All-Party interim government.

If the 225 Members of Parliament and Party Leaders fail our country by voting selfishly and without a future vision, they will be responsible for plunging all of us and our country Sri Lanka once again into chaos and conflict that will seriously impact all our lives.

Signed

Savitri Goonesekere – Emeritus Professor of Law and former Vice Chancellor, University of Colombo

Arjuna Aluvihare – Emeritus Professor of Surgery, former Vice Chancellor University of Peradeniya and former Chairman, University Grants Commission

Bishop Duleep de Chickera

Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe

Deepika Udagama – Professor of Law, University of Peradeniya and former Chairperson Human Rights Commission

Jayadeva Uyangoda – Emeritus Professor of Political Science, University of Colombo

Priyan Dias – Emeritus Professor, University of Moratuwa

Geoffrey Alagaratnam – Presidents Counsel

Harendra de Silva – Formerly Professor of Paediatrics, University of Colombo

Upul Sonnadara – Dean, Faculty of Science, Professor of Physics, University of Colombo

Camena Guneratne – Dept. of Legal Studies, former Dean Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Open University of Sri Lanka,

Gananath Obeysekere – Emeritus Professor Princeton University USA

Thiru Kandiah – Professor of English

Arjuna Parakrama – Professor of English, University of Peradeniya

Gameela Samarasinghe – Dept. of Sociology, University of Colombo

Farzana Haniffa – Dept. of Sociology, University of Colombo

Shamala Kumar – Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya.

Ranjini Obeysekere Formerly   Princeton University USA,

Ranil Abayasekara – Retired Senior Lecturer, University of Peradeniya

D. C. Ambalavanar, Visiting Lecturer in Surgery, University of Jaffna

Rev Dr. Jayasiri Pieris – General Secretary of the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka

Andrew Devadason,  Clergy, Anglican Church, Diocese of Colombo.

Chandra Jayaratne – former Chairman, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce

Rohini Nanayakkara – Former General Manager, Bank of Ceylon and Chairperson LOLC

Shanthi Dias -former Principal, Methodist College, Colombo

Yohesan Casie Chetty – Attorney – at – Law and former Headmaster St. Thomas’ Preparatory School Kollupitiya

Tara de Mel – former Secretary, Ministry of Education

A C Visvalingam – former President, Citizens Movement for Good Governance

D Wijayanandana – Engineer

Dr Nalinika Obeyesekere – Veterinary Surgeon Colombo

Harsha Gunasena – Chartered Accountant

Bhavani Fonseka – Attorney at Law

Yamini Ravindran – Attorney-at-Law

Safana Gul Begum – Attorney-at-Law

Ranitha Gnanarajah – Attorney-at-Law

Shiekh M B M Firthous – Chairman, Bismi Institute

Shreen Saroor – Human Rights Activist

Ruwanthie de Chickera – Artists of the People’s Movement

Vanie Simon – Women’s Rights Activist

Bisliya Butto – Women’s Rights Activist

Mirak Raheem –Activist

Aneesa Firthous-– Women’s Rights Activist

Anberiya Haniffa -– Women’s Rights Activist

Alliance for Minorities

Women’s Action Network

Mannar Women’s Development Federation

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Latest comments

  • 1
    0

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoVd4T6o5IQ

    Considering this is a secret ballot Ranil the man who lost even his seat will become the next President.

    At least we will have a reason to call Sri Lanka the Wonder of Asia.

    • 0
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      Tomorrow s P election should not be recoganized by the people of this country.
      .
      ++++++++++++++++ the people s opinion 2.5 years ago did not remain as had been before…… ++++++++++ Gotabaya was driven away as if they found a reptile in their garden…..
      .
      Nation *s Thakakadiya was driven away… also destroying his Charlton house….

      To allow those parliamentarians to represent the general public is totally wrong to my eye.
      .
      Almost everyone is against SLPP today – I mean not wihtin Parliament but out of parliament.
      .
      Satakayas were held above as if they are made to save this nation….. today, any average SRILANKEN would treat them, as if their eyes caught a POISONOUS snake… anyone would kill Rajapakshes today…. meaning… their adulation is sunk to all minus levels
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05oYD8KLbFY

    • 1
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      Why not Ranil? All following the procedures set out, challenges to his appointment struck down by SC.

      I respectfully request the Emeritus Professor of Law and former Vice Chancellor, University of Colombo and others to kindly check with constitutional and legal scholars whether the issuance of such a statement, signed by Academia and Clergy does not constitute an act of intimidation of the parliament. They have been elected, too late to do anything now, until the next election.

      As an ordinary citizen, I think it does. Please have a look at the statement issued by the Mahanayakes for an example.

      Intimidation. Would you present such a letter to supreme court? I hope not.

  • 0
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    To the Signatories of this document: When Gotabaya Rajapakse left the country with aid of the Defence Ministry to the Maldives, all who “Facilitated” (including the Speaker of Parliament) that “EXIT” knew he was not on an “Official Trip” and neither on a “Personal Vacation”. After he left, NO-ONE knew or announced his whereabouts to the PEOPLE of Sri Lank. It took a few days, even the Speaker said: “I was contacted” but stopped telling HOW and FROM where contacted him. Now that the “EXIT” saga is in media with all the details.

    Now, why don’t you ask the question: “Why is this “Exit” not considered as “Abandoning” the Official position as President”. If that CORRECT step was taken, the Speaker of the Parliament would have become the “President Pro Tem” and that would have opened the doors for forming an “ALL PARTY” Interim Government. This “CHAOS” has been created by the Speaker and also all the Political Parties of the country

    It is useless addressing the “Pohottuwa” MPs because their “MISSION” at the moment is “SURVIVAL”. They have been FOUND a “DOG” to hang and suck whatever little blood this country has. They all know their future has been “Sealed”, so the “Survival Game” is the only alternative available to them.

  • 0
    0

    Obligations Of 225 MPs & The Party Leaders To The People Of Sri Lanka

    The habit of 225 MP it is circulating and the past president is saying there in no money to petrol madicine gas but still some one bying votes from ministers . Most have the habit of deal priority thats what Rajapaksha put on line and the backdoor creaper Ranil has shown the how to approach the back door way. Then comes the oblication for the people world is watching.

    History shows us that people often make mistakes, they give wrong decisions, they vote for the wrong persons! And history also shows us that in the end they pay a heavy price for it.

    The app that is on line to get the petrol the farmers are saying we dont have advanced mobile phone how to operate and register them we only farming

  • 0
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    Ranil W. has done a long jump, a high jump and is now poised for the Pole-vault; All in one go………….

    The Rajapaksas have hurriedly left,after wining,dining and looting leaving Ranil to feed on the left-overs. like a rat.

    The 225 MPP have a simple choice. They need to swim away from a sinking ship and not towards it.

    The vote to elect a President by Parliament would be a guide to identify the clout of the Rajapaksas so that the next round of the Aragalaya can take off………….

    The MPP SHOULD NOTE THE WRITING ON THE WALL………….

    • 2
      1

      ‘The Rajapaksas have hurriedly left,after wining,dining and looting leaving Ranil to feed on the left-overs. like a rat.’
      .
      You could also say…..leaving Ranil to clear up the mess they left and give the country a future. Someone called him ‘the best President Sri Lanka never had’. May be they won’t be able to say that for much longer.

  • 2
    1

    “Electing such a President is essential to give new leadership at this time and inspire confidence in the People.”
    In order to achieve the desired OUTCOME of the ARAGALAYA movement, the choice selection for the post of Interim President should have been WIDE open. It should not be restricted only to the current candidates. People should have a SAY in this selection process. Any chance of a TAMIL being either the President or PM in the INTERIM GoSL?
    Sumanthiran or Rasamaanickam

  • 0
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    Many Potthuwa will vote with offshore bank accounts and other Rajapaksan alternative monetary goals in mind.

    Protecting these assets are imperative for these MP’s survival, as well as for the prevention of their prosecution in event of discovery.

    Potthuwa MPs of course see them as long-term investments for the country, and that it is the bounden duty of the common man to go through hell and high water for decades to come in thankfullness, before these “investments” come to fruition. Ranil is first in line, excitedly awaiting the event.

    Yet, miracles might happen when the Pottuwa candidates are split. Some Pottuwa might just be very patriotic towards the nation and not want to see their countrynen suffer in abject misery and suffering for the fun & games of the Rajapaksa-Ranil compulsive gambling mania.

    • 2
      1

      “Some Pottuwa might just be very patriotic towards the nation and not want to see their countrynen suffer in abject misery and suffering for the fun & games of the Rajapaksa-Ranil compulsive gambling mania.”

      There may be some miracles like Dulles MP may withdraw from contest at the last minute but I don’t think that some Pottuwa MPs will have the braveness to go against Rajapaksas at this stage. For Rajapaksas it is a necessity to protect themselves from the current crisis and the military has fully come under the control of Ranil_Gota partnership. Ranil has taken necessary steps to monitor the behaviour of each Pottuwa MPs and the MPs will not prepare to be in the missing list or inside the bar. Ranil is the other face of Dictator Gota.

      • 0
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        Oh no! If Dulles withdraws, all the Pottuwa votes will go to Ranil. Hope he stays and splits the votes.

  • 2
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    “Our country’s future is now in the hands of 225 members of Parliament. “
    Our country’s future is not now in the same hands of 225 members of paliament. It is in the hands of 22 million people. The people have to decide now whether they still wants to continue with them or not because the persons who were elected by 22 million people have run away from the people and country in a desperate position (bankruptcy) to face the sufferings. Once they resigned or give up the responsibility all other members of parliament who were elected also should have resigned their membership to get fresh mandate from the people.
    In order to save the country and people, there is a responsibility in the hands of organisations and Religious leadership invite all those political parties and leaders to create a consensus agreement to select a talented unbiased personality to form a body of governance out of the parliament. So, Will this group take initiatives immediately to stop this process which will create more divisions, more uncertainity and more problems?

  • 2
    0

    “Our country’s future is now in the hands of 225 members of Parliament. “
    That will be to say that the country is doomed for the foreseeable future.
    I am sure that there is life outside the building where the 225 operate.

  • 6
    1

    Sri Lanka is doomed as a failed rogue state, and the majority Sinhala people deserve it, as they have aided and abetted the cumulative failure to cause the bankruptcy of the nation, with their majoritarian chauvinistic Sinhala mindset, to vote on racial superiority and religious agendas.

    Mangala Samarawera highlighted in Geneva then, 65 years of nation building has continuously failed Sri Lanka. Now what after the end of the civil war?

    The future is not with the new president, whoever that maybe or with the 225 MPs. The leaders of all registered political parties, with or without seats in parliament, need to collectively understand their obligation and responsibility and take the ownership for the current situation, and address to make changes to the political structure, to move forward with reconciliation and devolution of power sharing with the Tamil Homeland and with the International Community. There are lessons to be learnt.

    Sri Lanka will not be able to recover or address its economic and political issues, internally, with IMF loans or continuously begging and borrowing with debt traps and mortgaging the country.

  • 0
    0

    “A secret ballot will not prevent the votes cast being analysed to clearly demonstrate to the People who heard the Peoples’ voice for change, and who did not. Those MPs who put their party and personal ambitions above the public interest at this critical moment for the country, must know that the People will inevitably reject them for this betrayal, with their votes at the next election.”

    A realistic warning!

    ” They are the representatives of the People in Parliament, who by their vote can heed the demand for change in governance by the peaceful transfer of power to an All-Party short term interim government. It is also very clear that this vision will only be realised if a new President not linked to the GR government is elected next week by Parliament. Electing such a President is essential to give new leadership at this time and inspire confidence in the People.

    Good argument!
    My view follows:

  • 0
    0

    The parliamentarians have to think, first, why this election is there. The answer for that question is that the people changed their mind with one elected person, and they ousted him/her (I don’t see any names in the essay, so I too avoid mentioning names). Then how can the parliamentarians elect protectors of the ousted person. Are these parliamentarians still connected with their own electorates? This is overtly utilizing every word in the constitution for the personal and group advantages of the MPs, but not for the people or the country. Political families, from 1948, practiced nepotism to protect their families and other elite political families. Nobody wants to protect the people out of this dearth. Parliament is not discussing how to bring the country out of dearth. An influential minister was proposing to bring back the ousted person with privileges like, retirement houses, pensions, expenses, office, bodyguards, entourage fleets, even including with illegal immunity. Is this how to restore the country? Aren’t the past actions like these bankrupted country?

  • 1
    0

    We do not need another transformed into dictator. Abolish Executive Presidency and hold general elections as soon as possible.

    • 0
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      What is the bet the People Of Sri Lanka will elect the same old faces. However there is a new party being formed, you can vote for that, but will everyone have the sense to vote for 225 Galle Face Protestors? Will the ‘fulfill their obligations?’

  • 0
    0

    At least the protest movement is true to their cause and largely peaceful: they are entitled to protest, and to ask the government to resign. This is because the right to protest is allowed by the constitution of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Sri Lanka. That why I respect the practice, although former President Maithripala Sirisena calls it ‘unconstitutional’, for a change of government brought about by protest. However the conduct of the protest movement and their political allies is deeply disappointing and indicative of a lack of spiritual and civic immaturity, even by their words they say, and in violation of the spirit of the constitution.

    However I hope everyone realizes that forcing anyone to leave the country is a violation of their rights under the constitution, so that is nothing to celebrate, unless, of course, you are Sri Lankan human rights lawyers who usually have a grudge. I may be wrong.

    Parliaments do lose their mandate, which is why we have elections. This time they have fulfilled their duties in voting and electing a president. It is the fault of the voters who brought them into parliament in the first place and do not want to admit it. Some of those in parliament have been elected over and over again over the span of decades. It seems that the voters are the ones who are mismanaging.

    We are bound to have elections, and changing of parliament through elections only. There are no other options.

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