20 September, 2018

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WikiLeaks: UNP Not Concerned About Fonseka

By Colombo Telegraph –

“Party members all noted that they were not worried about General Fonseka overreaching or becoming too independent as the UNF’s presidential candidate. Wickremesinghe told the Charge that he was confident that Fonseka would agree to a figurehead role if elected president.  Wickremesinghe opined that Fonseka had very few options; he could either retire or agree to become the UNF’s figurehead leader.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

Fonseka

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.

“Separately, UNP party leaders assessed that parliament would function as the ultimate guarantor against Fonseka becoming too headstrong if he were elected president.  UNP leaders assessed that parliament would withhold money from Fonseka if he veered too far away from any pre-election pact. Wickremesinghe told Emboffs that he envisioned a pre-election pact with Fonseka to include Fonseka abolishing the executive presidency and ceding power to a executive prime minister. UNP leaders also assessed that Fonseka would naturally be hamstrung if he became president because he would not have a political party to back him.” Under the subheading “UNP Not Concerned About Fonseka” Fowler wrote.

Below we give the relevant part of the confidential cable;

Related news to the cable.

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

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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). 

UNP Not Concerned About Fonseka...
----------------------------- 

7. (C) Party members all noted that they were not worried
about General Fonseka overreaching or becoming too
independent as the UNF's presidential candidate.
Wickremesinghe told the Charge that he was confident that
Fonseka would agree to a figurehead role if elected
president.  Wickremesinghe opined that Fonseka had very few
options; he could either retire or agree to become the UNF's
figurehead leader. 

8. (C) Separately, UNP party leaders assessed that parliament
would function as the ultimate guarantor against Fonseka
becoming too headstrong if he were elected president.  UNP
leaders assessed that parliament would withhold money from
Fonseka if he veered too far away from any pre-election pact.
Wickremesinghe told Emboffs that he envisioned a pre-election
pact with Fonseka to include Fonseka abolishing the executive
presidency and ceding power to a executive prime minister.
UNP leaders also assessed that Fonseka would naturally be
hamstrung if he became president because he would not have a
political party to back him. 

...But Worried About a Credible Election
---------------------------------------- 

9. (C) All UNP interlocutors noted that they were worried
about the conduct of the upcoming election.  Amaratunga,
Weerakkody, Karunanayake, and Jayawardena all feared that the
upcoming presidential election would be characterized by
widespread political violence and the government misusing
state resources to gain an electoral advantage.  Within this
context, Amaratunga stated that the opposition parties would
have to rely on a credible election commission (NOTE: The 

COLOMBO 00001073  003.2 OF 003 

election commission is not independent because President
Rajapaksa has not implemented the 17th amendment to the
constitution, which requires multi-party representation on
the commission, and appointed his own people. END NOTE.) and
Chief Justice.  Wickremesinghe and Amaratunga additionally
noted that they were relying on General Fonseka to split the
loyalties of the security services, who they feared would be
used to crack down on the opposition during the election.
Karunanayake noted that unions probably would be a part of
the political violence as well. 

10. (C) The UNP leaders all stressed the importance of
international pressure and election monitors to ensure that
the election would be credible.  Wickremesinghe noted to the
Charge that international pressure had worked on a variety of
fronts -- including GSP Plus and the release of IDPs -- and
that the pressure should be maintained. 

FOWLER
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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    The “law of those who rule” is applied more than the “rule of law” to the people in the North and East(NE) of Sri Lanka(SL).

    The rule of law anywhere, is the legal dimension of the democratic process, which seeks to ensure that government decisions are impersonal and subject to legal restraint. It also guarantees individual freedoms from arbitrary government, and entitles the individual to due process of law.

    The constitution of any country is the foundation for its rule of law.

    But the document called the “constitution” of SL, prepared first in 1972, did not coform to the definition of a democratic constitution in its formation. It was simply a docment for the Sinhalese to administer the island, which SL wrongly called as its “constitution”.

    Violating the rule of law, the government decisions are not kept impersonal but are based on ethnicity. Lack of legal restraint on Tamils is the reason for gross violation of Human rights and military repression leading to genocide.

    Also, there is no guarantee of individual freedoms for the people of NE of the island, and the due process of law is postponed indefinitely for those in custody.

    Sarath De Silva, the former Chief Justice of SL, made this observation lamentfully, when he visited the IDP camps in 1979.

    This week, the US has asked for justice and speedy trial for LTTE suspects, but was rebuked by a cabinet minister of the GOSL.

    To correct the fundamental error, the US may have to ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to adjudicate on the validity of the first republic “constitution” of SL of 1972.

  • 0
    0

    reading this two cables, its clear that UNP and Ranil gave their fullest support to Fonseka. That enews and some sector of newspaper claimed Ranil did not support SF. Thanks CT for digging all cables and educating us!

  • 0
    0

    It is very clear that Both UNP and JVP got together and screwed up General Fonseka and he got caught in it.

    when we have this kind of politics, Sri LAnka will never develop to a better country for it’s people.

  • 0
    0

    RW was using General SF like ‘Balalun lawa kos ata bawaganna wagei’. It backfired and poor General SF had to pay the price. Then when Tiran Alles get General SF, they blamed Trian that he did not got a full pardon for General SF. See the hypocracy of RW. They would have been happy if General SF continued to suffer in the prison so that they (UNP) have a valid reason to keep shouting.

    They say there are no permanent friends or foes in politics. But UNP proves that they are permanent opportunists irrespective of who suffers due to personal greed. Fortunately for them, there are still many who think RW has got a ‘brain’.

    ‘Aliyata Jayawewa. Kos Ataya…. ayeth lipata wetewa!’

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