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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2702

Statement of the Liberal Party of Sri Lanka on the new Presidency

The Liberal Party of Sri Lanka emphatically welcomes the victory of Mr Maithripala Sirisena at the presidential poll. We are also grateful to him for continuing after his election to assert the values which the people of Sri Lanka have shown they admire. We now have a compassionate government, and we look forward to the constitutional and structural changes essential to promote equity, pluralism and the Rule of Law.

The Liberal Party also thanks President Mahinda Rajapaksa for swiftly accepting his defeat and clearing the way for the new government to take over. The country owes him a debt of gratitude for ridding us of terrorism, and we believe he fully intended, in 2009, to fulfil the commitments he made. We regret that an unfortunate combination of circumstances and cronies led him astray. His failure, despite the commitments of his manifesto, to move on much needed reforms, whilst ensuring the people were consulted at all stages, led to the people now rejecting him at the polls. We hope therefore that the new government, with due consultation of parties represented in Parliament, including those that did not support the coalition, will move on implementing its 100 programme efficaciously .

As the first party in his coalition to urge the reforms he had promised, and to state that we could not support him in a hasty election, the Liberal Party feels its stance has been thoroughly vindicate.

We noted, in our letter early in October that ‘reforms should be based on the vision Your Excellency used to express regarding bringing government closer to the people, and ensuring greater responsiveness and accountability in respect of local needs. The need for devolution is something the Liberal Party has always stressed….. But devolution must also be accompanied by empowerment. So we also need to move towards developing a technologically competent younger generation, and pay much greater attention than now to maximizing human resources.

We must also revise Adminstrative and Financial Regulations (to) establish consultation mechanisms such as .. Jana Sabhas.. but these must be vehicles for the people, not tools for politicians. The initial steps taken by the Ministry of Public Administration in this regard should be strengthened.

It would also help to fast forward action on the National Human Rights Action Plan, as well as on the LLRC Recommendations, all of which have been approved by Cabinet…the position of the government would also be immeasurably improved if the National Policy on Reconciliation were adopted.

Without such measures the decline in popularity that we have recently witnessed will continue ... unless there is evidence of change, the people will have no reason to continue to vote for this government, since the economic and social benefits of peace that were anticipated are no longer evident.’

We reiterate now the principles we put forward then and hope the new government will make empowerment of, and accountability to, the people the foundation of its future programmes.

- Asian Tribune -

Rajiva Wijesingha - Leader of the Liberal Party
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