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.
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
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). 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
Justin / May 31, 2012
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.
radha / May 31, 2012
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!
Jim Softy / May 31, 2012
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.
Kos Ataya / June 1, 2012
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!’