By Colombo Telegraph –
“The Prime Minister’s gratuitous decision to defy the President by signing electoral pacts with the JHU and JVP–especially when he did not need to do so to gain their support–had only exacerbated tensions, Rajapakse observed. ‘It was very foolish of him,’ she commented. When asked why he chose to sign the pacts, Rajapakse replied that he had calculated that it was more important to snag JVP votes–and pre-empt any possibility of them running a candidate–than to woo minority voters. In the PM’s view, the minorities would never vote for him anyway, she explained. On the other hand, the SLFP, which is organizationally weak at the grass roots level compared to the opposition United National Party (UNP), has lost many supporters to the JVP in the south, and the PM believes he needs the JVP’s organizational abilities to help him win against the UNP. When asked if the PM truly believes the anti-peace process positions he espoused in the JVP and JHU agreements, Rajapakse responded, ‘Who knows? He will never say what he believes.’ the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.
A Leaked “CONFIDENTIAL” US diplomatic cable, dated September 30, 2005, updated the Secretary of State on Sri Lanka’s presidential election 2005. The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable was signed by the US Ambassador Jeffrey Lunstead. The cable details a US meeting with Deputy Minister Nirupama Rajapaksa, a cousin of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“Rajapakse agreed that the election was likely to be extremely close–perhaps separated by just a few hundred thousand votes–and thus the President’s apparent decision so far not to campaign for the SLFP candidate (she is scheduled to leave the country soon once again–this time to Paris) is likely to hurt the PM. ‘It is also strange of the brother (Foreign Minister Anura Bandaranaike, who is still overseas) to stay away’ during the campaign, she noted. The pair’s behavior is fueling renewed speculation that the President may scuttle the PM’s chances by dissolving Parliament–perhaps just days before the election. Besides her brother, the President can count on the support of ‘very few” SLFP’ers,’ according to Rajapakse–primarily Buddhist Affairs Minister Ratnasiri Wickremenayake, Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama, Deputy Information Minister Dilan Perera and Deputy Power Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage.” the US Embassy further wrote.