By Mahinda Rajapaksa –
The opposition alliance formed by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the political parties of the Joint Opposition have scored a resounding victory at the Elpitiya Pradesheeya Sabha elections. This election was held on the basis of nominations submitted at the beginning of 2018. Hence the Sri Lanka Freedom Party had fielded a separate list. But today, we have formed an alliance to ensure the victory of one candidate at the presidential elections. The opposition alliance has won all the wards in the Elpitiya Pradesheeya Sabha. As a whole the opposition alliance has won 69% of the valid votes cast. The UNP won only 24%. The JVP has not obtained anything more than their usual percentage of votes.
The people of Elpitiya have with great foresight and integrity, conclusively defeated the attempt made by the government to retain power by deceiving the people through the distribution of land, jobs and all manner of material inducements. I need not dwell on the disasters that have befallen this country after January 2015. The economy is in a state of collapse. In the run up to the Elpitiya election, the Department of Census and Statistics released the latest data indicating that unemployment had increased further. The economic growth rate is now about a third of what it was under my government. Businesses are struggling. The indebtedness of the country is at an all-time high.
There is no external, global reason for this economic downturn. The downturn that has taken place in this country after 2015 is due entirely to political reasons. This situation can be remedied only through politics. That is the process that has now been set in motion by the people of Elpitiya. It was not only the economy that the yahapalana government destroyed. They have destroyed the democratic system as well. The local government elections were delayed by nearly three years. They have brought about a situation where Provincial Council elections cannot be held at all. They went to courts and got a declared Parliamentary election halted. They tried their best to get the presidential elections put off.
Indeed they even tried to prevent the Elpitiya Pradesheeya Sabha election from taking place. They made every attempt possible to get the candidate of the opposition alliance knocked out of the race even before the presidential election was held. This era should be brought to an end. The people of Elpitiya have fired the first salvo. I request all supporters of the opposition alliance to savour this victory peacefully and without inconveniencing anyone.
*Mahinda Rajapaksa – Leader of the Opposition