Opposition parties condemn President’s comments on LG polls

February 20, 2023

Opposition political parties have slammed President Ranil Wickremesinghe for the comments he made on the Local Government elections while attending the 32nd Rotary District Conference in Colombo over the weekend. Addressing the gathering Wickremesinghe claimed that with the recovery of the economy next year, the necessary background will be prepared for the people to use their votes and create the changes that need to be made in the country and the future they want. Commenting on the President’s statement, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem said it is evident through his speech the President implied the people will not be allowed to protest to call for elections.

“We perceived his words as a threat to quash such protests through the use of the military,” he said. The SLMC leader said Wickremesinghe’s speech was a threat to the country’s democracy. “Elections must be held in a timely manner. If the people are dissatisfied with those they voted for they have the right to remove them,” he noted. “We condemn the attempts to obstruct them by presenting various excuses. We oppose his speech and it is likely a new struggle will commence as a result of it,” he added.

Addressing the same media briefing attended by Hakeem in Mullaitivu yesterday, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Spokesman and MP M.A Sumanthiran also expressed his views on the matter. He said to rebuild the economy first and foremost the country’s democracy must be protected. “This is a juncture that the country is expecting the support of the IMF. Other countries have also stressed the importance of political stability if they are to aid us. The protection of democracy is vital to ensuring political stability. That is why we have opposed his opinion on the holding of elections,” he said.

Calling President Ranil Wickremesinghe the mastermind of the Central Bank Bond Scam, Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) leader, Gajendrakumar G. Ponnambalam said today he is speaking of the rule of law. “Can the man who was responsible for it rebuild our economy?” he asked, adding that he is making various excuses to delay polls in order to remain in power.

National People’s Power (NPP) Anuradhapura district leader Wasantha Samarasinghe expressed a similar view. “Will international organisations and countries now support Ranil who is violating the country’s law, constitution, democracy and the rule of law?” he asked. Opposition parties including the Samagi Jana Balawegaya and the National People’s Power also held a series of protests over the weekend against the delaying of polls.