25 September, 2020

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WikiLeaks: Basil’s Dirty Tactics And Karu J’s Crossover

By Colombo Telegraph –

“But support for the President will be brittle at best, not least because of the rough tactics Basil has tried to employ. The most likely casualty of the current political tempest is the SLFP-UNP MoU, which held out the prospect of a broadly based “southern consensus” on a devolution proposal to drive the peace process forward.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

The President and his senior advisor Basil Rajapaksa will continue to use a mix of threats, persuasion, and enticements to cobble together a bare majority in parliament.

The ambassador Blake wrote “President Rajapaksa’s strategy of assuring himself a majority by wooing crossovers and reshaping his cabinet has stirred up a hornet’s nest. Rather than proceeding smoothly by welcoming in the disaffected UNPers, large swathes within each of the major political parties now feel alienated. The President and his senior advisor Basil Rajapaksa will continue to use a mix of threats, persuasion, and enticements to cobble together a bare majority in parliament. Not to succeed at this point would send a signal of weakness and result in a great loss of face.”

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeak database. The cable classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” analyses UNP internal crisis and Karu Jayasuriya led cross over. The cable was written on January 25, 2007 by the US Ambassador to Colombo Robert O. Blake under the subject -SRI LANKA: PRESIDENT STRUGGLING IN ATTEMPT TO WOO CROSSOVERS.

Under the subheading “UNP DISSIDENTS RESIST RANIL’S OVERTURES” ambassador Blake wrote “A meeting between UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and his intra-party critic Karu Jayasuriya was unsuccessful in resolving the UNP rift. Embassy has learned that Jayasuriya’s supporters (including his son-in-law, Navin Dissanayake) put pressure on Karu not to cave in to Wickremesinghe’s “delaying tactics” (promises on overdue party reforms). The dissident group — at least those in line for ministerial posts — are reportedly insisting the crossovers go forward as planned. However, the would-be defectors have failed to deliver enough colleagues to assure the present and his camp a workable majority, making the entire move a questionable exercise for the Rajapaksa team.”

“President Rajapaksa’s cabinet restructuring, expected during the astrologically “auspicious time” between January 23-25, has yet to be announced, leading to rampant rumors and confusion across the political spectrum. Initially, most analysts expected a group of “reformist” dissidents in the major opposition United National Party (UNP) to accept ministerial posts, thereby endangering the MoU between the UNP and the governing Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). Currently, sources in the UNP tell us less than 12 party members will take cabinet positions, while many remain unsatisfied with the portfolios offered.” he further wrote.

Under the subheading “TRIAL BALLOON FOR RANIL AS PM PROBABLY NOT SERIOUS” ambassador Blake wrote “dding to the confusion over the UNP’s position, on January 24 papers quoted UNP Secretary-General Tissa Attanayake as welcoming Telecommunications Minister D.M. Jayaratne’s recent suggestion that Wickremesinghe be named prime minister. However, this is probably not a serious proposal that has the President’s backing. We think it unlikely Rajapaksa will bypass his party loyalists to appoint opposition leader Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister — which would put Ranil next in line under the constitution to succeed the president. Wickremesinghe will almost certainly react to senior UNP talent breaking party ranks by moving to exclude them from the party. However, the dissidents can appeal an expulsion to the Supreme Court, which has invalidated several expulsions in the past. This will keep the pot boiling for at least several weeks after the crossovers happen.”

Below we give the relevant part of the confidential cable;

Other cables related to the UNP leadership crisis;

WikiLeaks: Karu said he and his colleagues will be named ministers

WikiLeaks:Since Karu had openly expressed a lack of confidence in Ranil, resuming deputy party leader was not likely to come up

WikiLeaks: President Rajapaksa is courting the UNP – Karu to US

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000152

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS
MCC FOR S GROFF, D NASSIRY, E BURKE AND F REID

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/19/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: PRESIDENT STRUGGLING IN ATTEMPT TO WOO
CROSSOVERS

REF: A) COLOMBO 130 B) COLOMBO 115 (AND PREVIOUS)

Classified By: Ambassador Robert O. Blake, Jr., for reasons 1.4(b,d).

1. (C) SUMMARY:  President Rajapaksa has yet to announce his
anticipated cabinet reshuffle, leading to confusion and
speculation in the media and among our political contacts.
The Rajapaksa team is struggling to eke out a bare majority
of the parliamentary seats.  Both the governing Sri Lanka
Freedom Party (SLFP) and major opposition United National
Party (UNP) face serious internal rifts as some UNP
dissidents prepare to take government ministerial posts.
Foreign Minister Samaraweera has come out publicly against
the crossover strategy, and in favor of continuing
cooperation with the UNP under the MoU.  The Marxist,
Sinhalese chauvinist JVP has threatened to end its support
from outside the government for Rajapaksa if the government
takes in three "federalist" UNP MPs.  The Sri Lanka Muslim
Congress (SLMC) is continuing discussions with the government
on cooperation, with some of its members complaining of
intense pressure to fall in line.  End summary.

UNP DISSIDENTS RESIST RANIL'S OVERTURES
---------------------------------------

2. (C) President Rajapaksa's cabinet restructuring, expected
during the astrologically "auspicious time" between January
23-25, has yet to be announced, leading to rampant rumors and
confusion across the political spectrum.  Initially, most
analysts expected a group of "reformist" dissidents in the
major opposition United National Party (UNP) to accept
ministerial posts, thereby endangering the MoU between the
UNP and the governing Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).
Currently, sources in the UNP tell us less than 12 party
members will take cabinet positions, while many remain
unsatisfied with the portfolios offered.

3. (C) A meeting between UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and
his intra-party critic Karu Jayasuriya was unsuccessful in
resolving the UNP rift (ref A).  Embassy has learned that
Jayasuriya's supporters (including his son-in-law, Navin
Dissanayake) put pressure on Karu not to cave in to
Wickremesinghe's "delaying tactics" (promises on overdue
party reforms).  The dissident group -- at least those in
line for ministerial posts -- are reportedly insisting the
crossovers go forward as planned.  However, the would-be
defectors have failed to deliver enough colleagues to assure
the present and his camp a workable majority, making the
entire move a questionable exercise for the Rajapaksa team.

TRIAL BALLOON FOR RANIL AS PM PROBABLY NOT SERIOUS
--------------------------------------------- -----

4. (C) Adding to the confusion over the UNP's position, on
January 24 papers quoted UNP Secretary-General Tissa
Attanayake as welcoming Telecommunications Minister D.M.
Jayaratne's recent suggestion that Wickremesinghe be named
prime minister.  However, this is probably not a serious
proposal that has the President's backing.  We think it
unlikely Rajapaksa will bypass his party loyalists to appoint
opposition leader Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister -- which
would put Ranil next in line under the constitution to
succeed the president.  Wickremesinghe will almost certainly
react to senior UNP talent breaking party ranks by moving to
exclude them from the party.  However, the dissidents can
appeal an expulsion to the Supreme Court, which has
invalidated several expulsions in the past.  This will keep
the pot boiling for at least several weeks after the
crossovers happen.
8. (C) COMMENT: President Rajapaksa's strategy of assuring
himself a majority by wooing crossovers and reshaping his
cabinet has stirred up a hornet's nest.  Rather than
proceeding smoothly by welcoming in the disaffected UNPers,
large swathes within each of the major political parties now
feel alienated.  The President and his senior advisor Basil
Rajapaksa will continue to use a mix of threats, persuasion,
and enticements to cobble together a bare majority in
parliament.  Not to succeed at this point would send a signal
of weakness and result in a great loss of face.  But support
for the President will be brittle at best, not least because
of the rough tactics Basil has tried to employ.  The most
likely casualty of the current political tempest is the
SLFP-UNP MoU, which held out the prospect of a broadly based
"southern consensus" on a devolution proposal to drive the
peace process forward.
BLAKE
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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    Sri Lanka really hasn’t any opposition. That’s why we supper. They wary only about their benefit

  • 0
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    Recently driver of a cab i was travelling in told me that Basil’s crossover to UNP with Anura was a long term plan of Rajapaksha brothers to take over the leadership of SLFP from bandaranayake’s . He’s probably the wisest Rajapaksha in the family :-)

    • 0
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      Results: The UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe (72 votes) as, Karu Jayasuriya (24 votes); Dy Leader Sajith Premadasa 52 defeated Ravi Karunanayaka 44-

  • 0
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    Anything new or is this from the Early Anuradhapura period. Karu is history in a few hours. So is Sajith and his freaking Golayas.
    Ravi will be the Deputy Leader. Gamini the Chairman, Michael Perera the Deputy Chairman, and John Amaratunge the Chief Whip and some other position. Daya Gamage will be the National Organizer .

  • 0
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    anyway ranil knows politics more than anybody in Srilanka,but he has some weakpoints also.what i think is, ranil and Gen.SF will be a good answer for the Srilanka future!Sorry i have never voted for UNP,because of JR and Premadasa.i will never put my vote to SLFP as long as rajapakse are there!

    • 0
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      all seems to be ok from both sides except sajith premadasa,srilanka dont need a pupet like sajith!his father thaught a good lesson to Srilanka!

    • 0
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      Buru Lal,
      Ranil is the worst UNP leader we got, and it clearly demonstrate by evaluating the election results over past 10 years.

  • 0
    0

    Ranil should win . Paba is better than karu. we in gampaha select paba over karu

    • 0
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      How could anyone think Ranil is a LLTE supporter? If it was so by now this government would have been grilling him and he may have been ousted long ago. He is clean and that is why no body can point a finger at him. MAy be he is not a good statesmen, but his experience super-seed every one, and he is a leader that Sri Lanka needed but lost due to the shortsightedness of the supporters. Whatever happens it will be the say of the supporters. And no one can challenge it. So whatever it is lets see at the results.. Soon if the UNP do not iron out the differences it will be the loosers, because all this pranks by the members has confused the supporters. So there should be a settlement and it should stop……

      • 0
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        Ranil is a LTTE suppoter. Yes its true, all his goons including JJ and the clan wanted to give 110 % to LTTE when they were in power. Example, we still remeber how Ravi Pamankada tried to motivete the SL forces during the war. Just shut your shit hall mouth,.

  • 0
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    RANIL is the only one who can join with SF and stop the MR faily.

    • 0
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      The leader can select the Secretary and tearsurer of the party. So Mr Jayasuriya could appoint Mr Madduma Bandara for one of these. Mr Madduma Bandara is a genuine suporter of Mr Premadasa so I don’t he is after positions. It’s more important to keep a guy like Mr Jayasekara who was a little uncertain. This is a very good move by Mr Premadasa and Mr Jayasuriya. Anyway, who is Ravi Karunayake and Daya Gamage. These two are just supporters of Ranil and never been loyal UNPers. I was voting for UNP over 40yrs (my entire life) will not do the same if Ravi and Daya become Deputy leader and National Oragnaizer.

  • 0
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    Time to go ranil. Please leave and protect UNP. All the best for young group in UNP.

  • 0
    0

    This is good for the UNP, everybody could evaluate themselves in politics. When the political parties goes to opposition always there is so many problem occurs. Example, SLFP has many problems from 1977 to 93 than UNP now. Every politician like media station, think they are more popular than others. That is may be true but to be good politician popularity is not everything.They must have clear vision and skills. Today is a very important day for Sri Lankan politics because it is going to decide Sajith and Dayasiri’s future not Ranil or others. If Ranil has more vote and still majority in working committee everybody vote for Ravi even he is not difference than Sajith, what happen to Sajith he will lose everything he build more than decade. This team including karu, they do not have real inside political experience they think and work as normal people in Sri Lanka. They think changing a government is very easy thing like given small donation to people and make speeches and protest. Everybody has to understand reality of politics in third world. Everybody try to get something from politics to just maintain their day-to- day life, without problems. Through that politician become a very important factor in Sri Lankan society. There is no opportunity for everybody; there is opportunity for who has connection and power. To change the government we should stay until we got the right time. Example if we fight with wrong time with government as opposition we will finish all over resource before the real fight. That is what Ranil always doing, he knows from his experience which time is right for fight. General public always thing the best politician are who is origination protest and given excellent speech’s. Reality is to bring down the government very important thing is make internal problem with in the government. There are more examples for this in Sri Lanka and the world history

    • 0
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      Between RW and Karu J. will be a good fight I guess. Either the way the loser is UNP itself not an individual. Sad state and utter chaos like the country. Whoever wins after the elections change the party name as NP not UNP as its not UNITED. There is a song of Olivia Newton Johns – ‘hopelessly devoted for you’

  • 0
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    Ranil is indeed a “qualified” politian. But, he is not a “successfull” politian. Karu is now a “successfull” politian (mainly because Sirasa has slung mud at Ranil). But, Karu is not that “qualified”.

  • 0
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    This is the time that we all were expecting for a long period of time. Ranil as a leader, is going to face a tough moment. It is 100% sure that he will win the game. But after that no body can claim again that he should resign. If it is an election we have to face it and accept the result. But after the election, everyone should get together and fight against this stupid regime and save the life of General and the people of this country. Otherwise, if Sajith’s party starts to fight again against Ranil, we will fight against him & chase him from the party. Even though Karu will be defeated we should not kick him out. Ranil should get his support also to go this long journey. Jayawewa! for UNPers and the pro-democratic people of our motherland.

    • 0
      0

      This gay man can will only internal elections.

  • 0
    0

    Here is the chance for people who wanted the real change in the UNP. Ranil is a gentlemen but history proves he was taken by ride by the MR. His image has been abused in such an extent that in an election he would be defeated in media with no ability to recover. This is what we experienced over the last decade. it is obvious that you can not change the attitude of mass overnight and Ranil could not changed it for last period of time. Ranil should be the vision of new Sri Lanka, but what is important at this moment is coming in to power. i think this is the best chance for that. MR would be the most worried man of a new change.

  • 0
    0

    Ranil is a Gentleman but he is not suitable for a Statesman still most sri lankans believe Ranil is LTTE supporter if he continues as a leader of UNP we will never ever come to power please try to understand the reality..neither sajith is suitable

  • 0
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    I respect RW a lot for his experience, immense knowledge, exposure and for his background but time is running out. I dont blame the present UNP 100% for the status of the country but RW too was a bit too late. Mr Wickramasinghe is not a crook so he didnt expect his political rivals to do such dirty things which brought the party to its lowest lever ever. Mr. Wickramasinghe he has been robbed and cheated from voctory. Now its a do or die situation for him. JVP is responsible for bringing this regime to power and right now they dont do anything on their own. Even the recent protest is successful thanks to the traders and the farmers. People are there to back the opposition but RW or JVP is not leading from the front. I have no idea if Karu J. or Sajith P. would fit into Ranil’s shoes but its worth giving a try. If the workers of katunayake, The Cardial of the Catholic church & Damulla traders could fight and win their interest, of course the people of this country also can win against autocratic one family show but they have to pay a huge price. What the country need now is a common opposition force with a dynamic leadership. It doesnt matter if it is Sajith or Rosy or Anura Kumara or Mano Ganeshan as long as he or she could give a good show.

  • 0
    0

    Every decent person craves for a good opposition and a good Govt for democracy to prevail. Some one really smart & good must lead the opposition.

  • 0
    0

    Ranil is still the best man for the job. not only for UNP leader. but also for president, irrespective of party politics

    • 0
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      Ranil Rajapkshe

  • 0
    0

    Karu has experience in the Private Sector as well as Govt Sector (Sri Lanka Army). It is a good blend. Let him be the winner.

  • 0
    0

    Karu, Ranil, Sajith and whom it may concern – country before self. ensure there is a responsible opposition!! long live democracy!!!

  • 0
    0

    This “leak” document is released at a time that had already have done a great damage to Karu. Hence, the No. 9 Ranil have come-out the victor. Ranil have taken suggestions from MR on “How to win a losing election”

  • 0
    0

    This bloody United National Party leadership crisis is still not end. Big clash in the party headquarters by both leadership candidate’s supporters… After Ranil elected as leader again now the angry crowds are destroying the party headquarters..

  • 0
    0

    It may be good for the greater majority of Sri Lankans if Sajith and Karu (and the rest) shut their big mouths up now and help Ranil to take their party forward as SL badly needs a strong opposition. There must not be any leadership crisis in the UNP from now onwards.

  • 0
    0

    Chathelic Action Won!

  • 0
    0

    Chathalic Action Won!

  • 0
    0

    Ranil is a goner.Very soon Karu and Sajith will be entrusted with the UNP leadership by people’s power.Don’t take my word.Wait till May 1st.While Ranil is having the May day rally in Jaffna along with born loosers Samba,Wickramabahu and Sirithunga, Karu and Sajith are having Premadas commemoration in Colombo. Ranil doesn’t want to appear anywhere other than Jaffna because of the hooting anthem he receives.May 1st will be the day that heads will start to roll in the UNP.

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