Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thero, Chief Incumbent of the Kotte Nagavihara and a vocal monk in the movement calling for an abolishing of the Executive Presidency has expressed his willingness to stand as a presidential candidate.
‘Yes I am ready to stand as a Single-Issue (SI) presidential candidate, but if a former Chief Justice or a former President is interested, no problem, I am happy to step aside. I will serve for six months only within which time I will abolish the Executive Presidency and institute a parliamentary system by constitutional methods. The roots of bribery, corruption, nepotism and bad governance lie in Executive Presidency,” Sobitha Thero told the Sunday Thinakural newspaper in a wide ranging interview.
Sobitha Thero has headed the movement that gathered a group of experts to draft a new constitutional framework that replaces the presidential system and sets up certain safeguards to prevent the abuse of power by the political leadership including the limiting of the cabinet of ministers and anti-graft measures. The monk is seen to be leading a broad opposition alliance of political parties, civil society groups, trade unions and professional organisations against the undemocratic, corrupt and authoritarian policies of the Rajapaksa Administration.
He told the Tamil language newspaper that there was no need to speak of overthrowing the Government. “Today the Government is confused. These kinds of internal conflicts will naturally lead to collapse. Today, the Prime Minister is against the President. We believe the minds of the people are changing,” Sobitha Thero said.
Dropping another bombshell about the ongoing international challenges against Sri Lanka with momentum building for another resolution in Geneva, Sobitha Thero inserted a major sanity check into the national discourse about human rights and a war crimes inquiry.
“Sri Lanka is a part of the international community, we have to abide by international norms, and if there is a call for an international investigation, I have no problem in agreeing. If we have done nothing wrong we can go before an international investigation and vindicate ourselves” he acknowledged.