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JRJ’s grandson leaves SLFP, joins UNP

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First Executive President JR Jayewardene’s grandson, Pradeep Jayewardene, who recently switched allegiance from SLFP to UNP, says that it is the duty of all to support President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his quest to steer the nation out of the prevailing crisis.

“This is not the time to debate whether President Wickremesinghe has a mandate to do what he is doing. He is the President with full powers and full authority, and this is how our Constitution works, whether we like it or not,” Pradeep Jayewardene said, speaking at a ceremony held at the Jayewardene centre in Colombo, on Sunday, to mark the 117th birth anniversary of President Jayewardene.

“As we celebrate 117 th birth anniversary of President JRJ, our country is facing one of its most challenging periods in our history. Many people are looking for possible solutions. One such theory is the abolition of the executive presidency introduced by President JRJ in 1978. In providing rationale for the executive presidency, President Jayewardene said in a 1991 speech that since independence only two governments, 1965 to ’70 and 1970 to ’77, were able to go a full term in office under the Westminster system in a span of 30 years. We can complete his argument today that under the presidential system every government except one was able to reach its full term, a period spanning 46 years. In this period we faced and overcame a war, an insurrection and the assassination of a president. Last year our President had to flee the country and resign from his post, a situation that could have led to anarchy lasting months or years under a purely Westminster system or it could have ended in a military dictatorship.

“Thanks to our executive presidential system transition of power was seamless enabling the new president to establish state authority, provide essential fuel and energy and avert the food crisis which would have resulted in a humanitarian disaster and certain foreign intervention.  We salute President Ranil Wickremesinghe for his courage and his ability to bring the situation under control. Could he have done it without the Executive Presidency,” Jayewardene queried.

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