Colombo Telegraph

WikiLeaks: Mahinda’s Devolution Proposals Were Sarath Silva’s Brainchild

“Most parties represented in parliament, including several elements of the ruling coalition, have come out publicly or privately against the governing Sri Lankan Freedom Party draft devolution proposals. The Sinhalese nationalist JVP has also attacked the plan, saying it is contrary to the President’s anti-federalist 2005 election campaign manifesto, which the JVP accepted when it supported him. The opposition United National party (UNP) is awaiting the return of its leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, currently traveling in Europe, before taking a definitive position. The prevailing sentiment in the party is that the UNP has little to gain by engaging on basis of the SLFP text, which they regard as incapable of addressing the country’s ethnic conflict. Most Tamils believe that district-level devolution has been tried at least twice before in previous decades and found to be inadequate for Sri Lanka.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

Silva and Rajapaksa

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The ‘Confidential’ cable discusses the governing SLFP’s devolution proposals. The cable was written on May 04, 2007  by the US embassy Charge d’Affaires James R. Moore.

Charge d’Affaires wrote; “A key member of the SLFP drafting committee (strictly protect) confided to Pol that the President had rejected the work of his committee, which had proposed provincial level devolution. The President then convened a second, smaller working group that excluded this contact and other prominent SLFP moderates. Nevertheless, this working group had also reported out a proposal to devolve power to the Provincial Councils. The third and final draft was the brainchild of Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice (known for his extreme and quirky views) and a lawyer close to the JVP. Our source told us the President pushed this third proposal through the party’s Central Committee. He believed that his plan for devolution to the provinces commanded much support within the SLFP, but in the end, Central Committee members were unwilling to cast votes against the President. His own draft went down to defeat, 33 to 3, although the President subsequently endorsed several amendments he suggested.”

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