Western powers back move to put off national elections indefinitely, warns Wimal



‘Speaker’s silence meant he accepted revelation the US offered him a chance to lead interim administration’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Western powers backing President Ranil Wickremesinghe would allow him to postpone both presidential and parliamentary polls, National Freedom Front Leader Wimal Weerawansa has said.That would be in line with their overall strategy, the Colombo District lawmaker declared at the launch of the English and Russian translations of his ‘Namaya: Sangawuna Kathawa’ on Friday.

The former Industries and Commerce Minister issued the warning at the ‘Lighthouse auditorium’ at the Lakskman Kadairgamar Institute (LKI) last Friday evening.Russian Ambassador in Colombo Levan Dzhagaryan and Chinese Embassy representatives were among the guests present on the occasion.

MP Weerawansa said that the way President Wickremesinghe had made the Provincial Council and Local Government polls disappear, it wouldn’t be an impossible task for the UNP leader to do the same to the presidential and parliamentary polls. The former minister warned that the powers that be could create a violent environment that

would justify a decision to put off national elections.Weerawansa leads the JNP, one of the breakaway factions of the JVP. The JNP parliamentary group consists of six MPs, including one National List MP.

Lawmaker Weerawansa claimed that President Wickremesinghe was bent on postponing national elections as the UNP leader realized he couldn’t influence the electorate. The ruling SLPP parliamentarians in July 2022 elected the then Premier Wickremesinghe to complete the remainder of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s five-year term.

At the onset of his fiery speech, the JNP leader pointed out that Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena never denied the accusation that US Ambassador in Colombo Julie Chung offered him the opportunity to head an interim administration after Gotabaya Rajapaksa quit the presidency. Therefore, the original accusation made on April 25 this year at the launch of ‘Namaya: Sangawuna Kathawa’ remains unchallenged, lawmaker Weerawansa said, drawing public attention to Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the President, is on record alleging how pressure was brought upon him to resign.

The JNP leader said that unless the genuine Opposition reached consensus on a proper strategy to meet the growing threat posed by the President resorting to what the MP called authoritarian measures, the country could suffer an irrevocable and debilitating setback.

Pointing out that Wickremesinghe succeeded Gotabaya Rajapaksa in spite of being part of the ‘Gotagohome’ campaign, MP Weerawansa said that Western powers would ask the incumbent President to discard upcoming elections. The JNP leader compared the instructions received by President Wickremesinghe with Ambassador Chung’s declaration in April this year that Speaker Abeywardena should take the leadership of an interim administration regardless of the Constitutional provisions.

Commenting on the killing of SLPP Polonnaruwa District MP Amarakeerthi Atukorale at Nittambuwa on May 09 last year, Weerawansa alleged that troops positioned there at the time declined to assist the police when their help was sought. The JNP leader asked for an investigation into the Army’s response to violence perpetrated by mobs. Troops should have intervened immediately, the MP said, adding that the conspirators had been able to drag the country down a dangerous path. Alleging they had succeeded in manipulating the Parliament, MP Weerawansa asserted that the Western agenda was going ahead.

The former JVPer found fault with the government decision to declare bankruptcy. The MP pointed out how the IMF ensnared Sri Lanka and now mercilessly pushed the country to increase taxes regardless of driving away the crème of the country’s brains. The MP stressed that the IMF withheld the second tranche of the USD 2.9 bn bailout package to pressure the government to further tighten the screws. How could the lending body known to work according to the requirements of the West, push the country to raise taxes at a time doctors and other professionals were leaving the country in droves.

“We are being used, influenced and manipulated by powerful elements,” MP Weerawansa said, referring to Western backed high profile operations in the Middle East and Ukraine. The MP discussed how the Russians responded to Ukraine pushing for NATO membership.

MP Weerawansa said that the country was in the grip of Western strategy. Unlike Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Wickremesinghe unashamedly enjoyed the office though the country was in a precarious situation. MP Weerawansa, having expressed concerns over the continuing dialogue on the abolition of executive presidency, emphasized that those behind Wickremesinghe would seek to set up an interim administration under the incumbent President. The MP warned that the powers that be would create a food crisis to facilitate their strategy.