18 September, 2019

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WikiLeaks:UNP Is Playing A Dangerous Game Supporting General Fonseka

By Colombo Telegraph –

“The UNP party is playing a dangerous game supporting General Fonseka, because the Sri Lankan Presidency is very powerful, and it is unclear what economic policies Fonseka would support as President. The opposition focus on corruption indicates that it believes that neo-liberal reforms, such as privatization, are too toxic to publicly advocate. Sri Lanka,s economy could indeed benefit from both a good crusade against corruption and liberal reforms.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

The UNP party is playing a dangerous game supporting General Fonseka, because the Sri Lankan Presidency is very powerful

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from WikiLeaks database, which details the opposition presidential candidate General Fonseka’s little knowledge on economic issues. The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” and written by the Ambassador Patricia Butenis on January 4, 2010.

The ambassador wrote “The opposition presidential candidate General Fonseka is a military man who has publicly admitted that he has little knowledge of economic issues, and other than clamping down on corruption, he has no apparent economic program. General Fonseka has announced some populist measures to increase government employee salaries and increase public pensions. It will be extremely difficult for him to advance a coherent economic policy because the opposition parties supporting him have diametrically opposed economic views. Instead, Fonseka plans to focus on corruption, where President Rajapaksa is weak, and blaming corruption and government waste for the voters, tough economic times. While the economy is a high-priority for many voters, both campaigns have focused on personalities and and past performance rather than on a solid economic and political platform for the future.”

Read the cable below for further details;

VZCZCXRO3059
PP RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHLH
DE RUEHLM #0002/01 0041139
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 041139Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1067
INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 2226
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 9248
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 7503
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 3658
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 9810
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI PRIORITY 2632
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA PRIORITY 0492
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 0118
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 7099
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000002 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/04/2020
TAGS: CE ECON PGOV
SUBJECT: OPPOSITION PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE HAS LITTLE
ECONOMIC AGENDA; FOCUSES ON CORRUPTION 

REF: COLOMBO 1145 

COLOMBO 00000002  001.2 OF 002 

Classified By: A/DCM Rebecca Cohn for Reasons 1.4 (B.D) 

1.     (C)  Summary.  The opposition presidential candidate
General Fonseka is a military man who has publicly admitted
that he has little knowledge of economic issues, and other
than clamping down on corruption, he has no apparent economic
program.  General Fonseka has announced some populist
measures to increase government employee salaries and
increase public pensions.   It will be extremely difficult
for him to advance a coherent economic policy because the
opposition parties supporting him have diametrically opposed
economic views.  Instead, Fonseka plans to focus on
corruption, where President Rajapaksa is weak, and blaming
corruption and government waste for the voters, tough
economic  times.  While the economy is a high-priority for
many voters, both campaigns have focused on personalities and
and past performance rather than on a solid economic and
political platform for the  future.    End Summary. 

The Candidate Has Little Economic Experience 

2.    (C)  General Fonseka is a military man who has little
experience with economics  or even any readily apparent views
on economic issues.  Fonseka has admitted publicly that he
does not have any economic experience, and he has made few
public statements about the economy.  He has promised to
increase the monthly salary of public servants by 10,000
rupees or approximately $ 90 USD per month (there are 1.2
million government employees).  Fonseka also supports
providing 2,000 rupee monthly pensions to senior citizens
(about $18 USD).  Econoff met with opposition campaign
strategist and economist Harsha de Silva, who said that
Fonseka plans to promise benefits to each economic segment of
the population in order to gain votes.   Fonseka himself,
however, prefers not to discuss future economic plans.
Parliament opposition leader and potential future prime
minister under a President Fonseka, Ranil Wickramesinghe, and
his wife had a private lunch with the DCM and Poloff.  At the
lunch, his wife reminded Wickramesinghe that he and Fonseka
should say something about the economy, but he demurred
because the political parties backing Fonseka's  candidacy
(primarily the liberal UNP and the leftist JVP) had
completely different economic policies. 

Irreconcilable Differences Between the Opposition Parties 

3.    (C)  General Fonseka is a common candidate supported by
the free market UNP and the far left JVP.  The UNP has
supported privatization of state industries, an open economy
and an increased role for the private sector.  The JVP is at
the opposite end of the economic spectrum, has opposed
privatization and UNP reforms in the past,  supports a large
role of the state, opposes foreign investment, and advocates
for government welfare to protect society.  De Silva, who is
a prominent opposition economist, said that he was in charge
of writing Fonseka,s economic manifesto for his possible
administration, but it was an impossible task because the UNP
and JVP are diametrically opposed.  Instead of a positive
economic agenda, De Silva recommended attacking President
Rajapaksa for corruption and government waste. 

Campaign Strategy Focuses on Corruption and Government Waste 

4.    (C)  De Silva conducted a poll on behalf of the
opposition which found that the Sri Lankan people were very
upset about the cost of living, their declining ability to
support their families, and corruption and government waste.
The poll also found that there was a split between support
for the GSL,s nationalist state-led policies and the UNP,s
international trade private sector-led economic policies.
The government UPFA coalition and the UNP are seen as equally
capable of improving their personal economic situation. 

5.    (C)  De Silva recommended that Fonseka criticize
President Rajapaksa on government waste and corruption issues
and blame corruption for the high cost of living and the
difficult economic situation faced by many Sri Lankans.  The
corruption issue is a good one because while Fonseka is seen 

COLOMBO 00000002  002.5 OF 002 

as clean, even the President,s private polling shows 80% of
the people think that President Rajapaksa and his family are
corrupt (see reftel).  De Silva plans to use a study,
produced by a prominent economist, that corruption costs Sri
Lanka 2% in annual GDP growth.   The opposition will try to
tie President Rajapaksa,s alleged corruption to the rising
cost of living and falling income for many Sri Lankans. 

6.    (C)  De Silva candidly admitted to econoff that the
attack on corruption is primarily a campaign strategy.  De
Silva said that 'as an economist' he understood that the
government of Sri Lanka needed to institute many economic
reforms, but for campaign purposes the opposition needed to
back away from the 'neo liberal' reforms attached to the UNP.
 After the election, De Silva hoped that the UNP would take
command of economic policy and apply a toned-down version of
its traditional policies. 

7.    (C)  Comment.  The UNP party is playing a dangerous
game supporting General Fonseka, because the Sri Lankan
Presidency is very powerful, and it is unclear what economic
policies Fonseka would support as President.  The opposition
focus on corruption indicates that it believes that
neo-liberal reforms, such as privatization, are too toxic to
publicly advocate.  Sri Lanka,s economy  could indeed
benefit from both a good crusade against corruption and
liberal reforms.  End Comment.
BUTENIS
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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    Butenis is correct to say that UNP played a dangerous game. not it is powerful but he is a racist .

  • 0
    0

    unp swallowed a bucket full of shit with rope and hook in last election supporting fonseka.

  • 0
    0

    “De Silva candidly admitted that the
    attack on corruption is primarily a campaign strategy, for campaign purposes. After the election, De Silva hoped that the UNP would take
    command of economic policy and apply a toned-down version of
    its traditional policies.”

    This is the opposition vying to get into power for two decades but they still are not genuine. New entrants to the fray like Harsha De Silva are a beyond joke. They should all retire en masse!

  • 0
    0

    “General Fonseka is a military man who has little
    experience with economics or even any readily apparent views
    on economic issues. Fonseka has admitted publicly that he
    does not have any economic experience, and he has made few
    public statements about the economy.”

    Need I say more. Even the foreigners knew that Fonseka’s candidacy was a joke!

    • 0
      0

      Fonseka may not have had any economic experience but he certainly would not have allowed the country’s economy to slide into a mess as the Rajapaksa regime has done. Fonseka as president would have allocated the the economic portfolio to someone who knows about economics. The present corrupt regime appears to have nobody in government with any economic experience. They all are thieves and incompetent nincompoops.

      • 0
        0

        “He has promised to increase the monthly salary of public servants by 10,000rupees per month and supports
        providing 2,000 rupee monthly pensions to senior citizens. Econoff met with opposition campaign
        strategist and economist Harsha de Silva, who said that
        Fonseka plans to promise benefits to each economic segment of
        the population IN ORDER TO GAIN VOTES. Fonseka himself,
        however, prefers not to discuss future economic plans.”

        And you have a reason to believe the economy would have been better under Fonseka??? Have you heard the phrase blind leading blind? That’s referring to Fonseka and people like you.

  • 0
    0

    Well said US Cable to who ever!! You are right on the point.
    Beside that the guy is a political idiot.

  • 0
    0

    Restore all rights to General Fonseka and release all political prisoners -Mangala

    (Lanka-e-News-23.May.2012, 7.30PM) While we acknowledge the release of General Sarath Fonseka from prison as recommended by the Minister of Justice to HE the President and approved accordingly, we do register our strongest protest for restricting his civic rights in engaging in political activities, as he chooses and wish to.

    As we have come to understand, General Fonseka has been released from prison, given a remission on his sentence under Article 34 of the Constitution, which only means he had been allowed from prison, before serving the full sentence and without restoring any of the rights he was denied by the sentences and due to imprisonment. We stress that he was a “political prisoner” and his release should therefore accept him as a politician, free to involve in politics on his own accord.

    We also demand that all other political prisoners including the 234 Tamil youth on hunger strike, who are held in detention and without charges for well over 02 years be released immediately, as the government has so far failed to file any charges against any of them. Filing of charges hereafter would only mean, the government is not prepared to free them and for that purpose, charges that could not be framed for over 02 years are now being framed.

    So is the issue of all the security personnel who were victimised and punished for being in association of General Fonseka. They should also be pardoned and their previous status restored immediately.

    A government that claims, it is respecting human and civil rights and safeguards democracy, should not only be seen to be so to the world, but must also live to be so for the people of this country to engage with their conscience as free and independent people.

  • 0
    0

    Kamalika Rathnayaka, suz, Rupert Vanderkoon

    The idiotic comments by the above idiots reflect the perfectly stupid and racial political profile of Rajapaksha concocted government. Though they use those hell-bent terms to describe UNP, SF and their policies by now these buffaloes have proved to the entire world and not just to Sri Lankans that Rajapaksha concocted government is the most racist, corrupt, vitriolic, inefficient, dictatorial, immoral and all the ilk government in the whole world. These beggars have tarnished the country’s image beyond recovery. They brag and challenge the West in Sinhala to entertain the Sinhala Buddhist donkeys like Kamalika Rathnayaka, suz, Rupert Vanderkoon etc. but kneel down under the petticoat of Hillary! Sooner the country gets rid of promiscuous pigs like Kamalika Rathnayaka, suz, Rupert Vanderkoon and MR regime better will shall be the prospects and future for the country!

    • 0
      0

      fonseka addicted to greedy gravy train of money politics ,he can act as a dream president untill barney raymond take care at borella.

    • 0
      0

      Nimal as a friend of yours i have a well intentioned advise for you.Pl rush to the Angoda nut house and admit yourself immediately.If not any moment your silly empty brain will burst.Bus # is 134.Once admitted to Angoda nut house you can claim that you are the king of Ealam!

    • 0
      0

      Nimaaal

      You reflected the level of education you gained with your comment. Well done Nimaaaaal.

  • 0
    0

    What other option does the UNP have – stuck in the mud with Ranil at the helm. That he is attacked by most UNP MPs since 2004 for his suspect leadership is another story.

    There is still a section of the people who want Fonseka to succeed – not because they like him or want him as leader – but in the hope, if he comes to power, he will remove all corrupt politicians (UNP,PA, JVP, JHU) the only way he knows – with the gun. If we learn from history such leaders, despite all the sweet talk of Motherland, Buddhism and Patriotism, become terrible tyrants themselves and will inflict awful suffering on their own people. Remember Gadaffi, Mugabe, and closer home – Pakistani and the Bangladeshi despots??

    Senguttuvan

  • 0
    0

    SF is a disciplined leader no body should create a fear about him. During kings times in our country even there was a disciplined. But in the modern misunderstanding of democracy people have gone wrong by doing things wrong. This was because the leaders talk something and doing something else. They must set them self as an examples (despite the supper power that they hold) like SF and let the people to follow them. This will lead for a corruption free and balanced economy that the sustainability is assured.SF would use the power to evacuate the corrupted politicians and to share the resources with minority ethnics and bring all the nation under one umbrella. Do not hate the opposition and invite them to build a sustainable future for Sri Lanka

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