20 September, 2018

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WikiLeaks: UNP Did Not Want Public To Think That Fonseka Was Running As A Front For Ranil

By Colombo Telegraph

“Wickremesinghe noted that the UNF was hoping to maximize the publicity and media coverage of the announcement by spreading out the unveiling of Fonseka over several days. Wickremesinghe noted that the UNP did not give serious consideration to the idea of Fonseka running as a UNP candidate because they did not want the public to think that Fonseka was running as a front for Wickremesinghe. Separately, UNP party leaders stated that Wickremesinghe was not considered as a presidential candidate because he probably would not have been a competitive candidate against President Rajapaksa.” The US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

party,s internal polling had shown strong support for General Fonseka (especially amongst younger voters) in a matchup with President Rajapaksa, but not for Wickremesinghe.

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from WikiLeaks database, which details the meetings US Embassy has had with UNP leadership regarding General Fonseka’s presidential candidacy The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” and written by the Charge D’Affaires Valerie Fowler on November 25, 2009.

Charge D’Affaires Valerie Fowler wrote “Emboffs recently met with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and several senior UNP leaders to discuss the way forward for the UNP. In a 24 November meeting, Wickremesinghe told the Charge that General Fonseka would be the common candidate for the UNF alliance. Wickremesinghe expected the JVP to make a public announcement of the decision on 25 November (the JVP announced the decision on 24 November in the local media), the UNP working committee to make an announcement on 26 November, and the entire alliance to announce the decision on 27 November.”

Fowler wrote “All UNP interlocutors projected confidence about their electoral prospects and campaign message. UNP senior leader Ravi Karunanayake assessed that President Rajapaksa had become too extreme in his views and that the electorate was ready for a change. UNP leader Dinesh Weerakkody noted that recent polling completed by the UNP was partially behind the party feeling confident about the upcoming presidential race. Weerakkody noted that the party,s internal polling had shown strong support for General Fonseka (especially amongst younger voters) in a matchup with President Rajapaksa, but not for Wickremesinghe. Weerakkody frankly noted that the polling showed that Tamils were wary of General Fonseka, but overall the party was pleasantly surprised that Fonseka polled even with President Rajapaksa.”

“Party leaders appeared to have already formed the main crux of their campaign message. Interlocutors, including Wickremesinghe, noted that the UNF alliance would focus on the misdeeds of the Rajapaksas — including their association with corruption and dynastic ambitions — and the broader failings of democracy within the country. Weerakkody noted that UNP polling had shown the electorate was ready for the concept of change and said the alliance probably would model its broad electoral message after the recentU.S.presidential election.” she further wrote.

Below we give the relevant part of the confidential cable;

VZCZCXRO8413
OO RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHLM #1073/01 3291201
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 251201Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0838
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 2094
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 9122
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 7368
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 5258
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 3520
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 5196
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0064
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM PRIORITY 0731
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 4313
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 9683
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 6977
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 0052
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3856
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 001073 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/25/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE
SUBJECT: RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE: UNP LEADERS BELIEVE THEY ARE
READY TO DEFEAT PRESIDENT RAJAPAKSA 

REF: COLOMBO 1066 

COLOMBO 00001073  001.2 OF 003 

Classified By: CHARGE D' AFFAIRES VALERIE C. FOWLER.  REASONS: 1.4 (B,
D) 

1. (C) SUMMARY:  Members of the main opposition United
National Party (UNP) are upbeat about the party's electoral
prospects and are confident that UNF alliance candidate
General Sarath Fonseka can beat President Rajapaksa in the
upcoming presidential election.  UNP party members noted that
the UNF's campaign message would focus on getting rid of the
Rajapaksas and the corruption associated with them.
Interlocutors did not appear worried about General Fonseka
being a team player if he won the election.  UNP party
members uniformly predicted election-related violence and
asked for international election observers to ensure a
credible election.  END SUMMARY. 

Fonseka is the UNF Candidate
---------------------------- 

2. (C) Emboffs recently met with UNP leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe and several senior UNP leaders to discuss the
way forward for the UNP.  In a 24 November meeting,
Wickremesinghe told the Charge that General Fonseka would be
the common candidate for the UNF alliance.  Wickremesinghe
expected the JVP to make a public announcement of the
decision on 25 November (the JVP announced the decision on 24
November in the local media), the UNP working committee to
make an announcement on 26 November, and the entire alliance
to announce the decision on 27 November.  Wickremesinghe
noted that the UNF was hoping to maximize the publicity and
media coverage of the announcement by spreading out the
unveiling of Fonseka over several days.  Wickremesinghe noted
that the UNP did not give serious consideration to the idea
of Fonseka running as a UNP candidate because they did not
want the public to think that Fonseka was running as a front
for Wickremesinghe.  Separately, UNP party leaders stated
that Wickremesinghe was not considered as a presidential
candidate because he probably would not have been a
competitive candidate against President Rajapaksa. 

Feeling Good About Electoral Prospects and Message
--------------------------------------------- ----- 

3. (C) All UNP interlocutors projected confidence about their
electoral prospects and campaign message.  UNP senior leader
Ravi Karunanayake assessed that President Rajapaksa had
become too extreme in his views and that the electorate was
ready for a change.  UNP leader Dinesh Weerakkody noted that
recent polling completed by the UNP was partially behind the
party feeling confident about the upcoming presidential race.
 Weerakkody noted that the party,s internal polling had
shown strong support for General Fonseka (especially amongst
younger voters) in a matchup with President Rajapaksa, but
not for Wickremesinghe.  Weerakkody frankly noted that the
polling showed that Tamils were wary of General Fonseka, but
overall the party was pleasantly surprised that Fonseka
polled even with President Rajapaksa. 

4. (C) Party leaders appeared to have already formed the main
crux of their campaign message.  Interlocutors, including
Wickremesinghe, noted that the UNF alliance would focus on
the misdeeds of the Rajapaksas -- including their association
with corruption and dynastic ambitions -- and the broader
failings of democracy within the country.  Weerakkody noted
that UNP polling had shown the electorate was ready for the
concept of change and said the alliance probably would model
its broad electoral message after the recent U.S.
presidential election.  When queried on the possible role of 

COLOMBO 00001073  002.2 OF 003 

the economy in the presidential campaign, Wickremesinghe
assessed that the economy most likely would only be brought
up indirectly.  Wickremesinghe noted that the UNP had tried
to gain political traction on the economy before and had
failed in its efforts; he also opined that there were far too
many differences between the UNP and the leftist JVP on the
issue of the economy to campaign on the issue. 

Alliance Cooperation Will Be Crucial
-------------------------------------- 

5. (C) Weerakkody, Karunanayake, and UNP senior leaders John
Amaratunga and Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena all assessed that
members of the UNF would have to work closely together if
they hoped to defeat Rajapaksa.  All interlocutors opined
that the parties of the alliance would have to make up for
each other's weaknesses.  In general, the UNP leaders noted
that the UNF would focus on the UNP's strength in urban
areas, the JVP's strength in the south and its vast
grassroots networks, the Tamil parties' relative strength in
the north and the east, and Christian leaders' strength in
Jaffna.  Weerakkody noted that the party's internal polling
had shown that the UNP's support base was a solid 35 percent
and the JVP's 8-10 percent.  He assessed that General
Fonseka's popularity would be the last bit of electoral
support the alliance needed to win the presidency. 

6. (C) All interlocutors opined that the role of
Wickremesinghe would be crucial for the UNF's electoral
prospects.  Party members noted that the role of the Tamil
parties would be huge in the election and that Wickremesinghe
was the only one who could calm their concerns over Fonseka
(see REF).
FOWLER
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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    The downfall of Fonseka was his messing around with a group of losers. I hope he learnt a lesson that he should not abandon principles for which he was loved by the public. Even I was confused by his behaviour and made me wonder, “What the bloody hell was he doing?”

  • 0
    0

    General Fonseka shakes hands with Hirunika Premachandra:

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/caption-story/19013-hello.html

  • 0
    0

    Well, well,well…. USA, UNP,JVP and TNA all want to send Rajapaksa home, but majority and patriotic Lankans want Rajapaksa in office.

  • 0
    0

    renown of fonseka rented for short term by all party.

  • 0
    0

    parakrama, who the hell is this fucking majority you are referring? You silly donkey, except for the fucking donkeys who have commented here for the rogue Rajapakshas no one is accepting this war criminal regime! Dig a hole in the ground to hide for everyone is now aiming to take the revenge from the rogue family and their bootlickers!

  • 0
    0

    May be Ranil was trying to use him, but

    if you think the General was a front for Ranil, that’s a joke

    (He was not in uniform, hence Ranil was not the ‘Sir’)

    Ranil on the other hand loved to rub shoulders with the ‘Tough-gong Hero’ and be his Prime-minister, which is a good role for him, as it was his (so called ‘weak’) cunning that split the tigers and his never ending accommodation that gave us the moral high ground.

  • 0
    0

    I think always Americans collect data so that they can buy some influential people to get their dirty jobs done, irrespective of what would happen to them. E.g. Iraque. They throw away millions of dollars around before the war proper.
    I believe this was what happened in Muslim countries in Mid East/ Asia/Africa even recently.
    Sri Lanka with overwhelming poverty they can prey on many politicos without a future easily. I believe their main aim is not to safeguard teh poor Sri Lankans; but to increase their stranglehold over the wider world. So people who remember dictators they have nurtured world over until people got rid of them in many countries would understand this fact.
    So teh aim may not be to get rid of baddies from ruling poor Sri Lanka!
    What I would like to appreciate is a completely different aspect. That is the great service done by WIKIleakers; with axtradition plans of Assange, by Americans is putting a lid on this exposure process by US.

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