Presidentís Addressed to the Nation yesterday

I have decided to address the nation today in the context of the recent political developments in the country, I thought it was essential to clarify the path we have to take in the future and to describe the reasons and the background, why the current political change was necessary. Today, we are at the dawn of another year. On January 08, 2015, it was with so many expectations what nearly six million and two hundred thousand (6.25 million) people of my country chose me as your first servant and the leader of this nation. I wish to pledge that I will always fulfil the expectations and honour the trust and faith you have placed on me, even at the cost of my life.

Politicians like us who are committed to serve the people, should always look at what is right for the people and will usher prosperity to the nation, instead of one’s political affiliations. I believe that you remember the circumstances under which I became the common candidate in 2014 and the dangers I had to face in consequence. It was a risk and a challenge that no politician in the history of the country wanted to accept. I faced this challenge despite the dangers to me and my family. I hope you will believe that the decision I took on 26th of October 2018, is a decision that is far more challenging and risky than the decision I took in November 21, 2014. I must state with respect, honour, and humility that I took both those decisions for the sake of the people and the country. However, Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s political conduct was unbecoming of civilized politics and belittled the victory achieved risking my life in 2015. I believe that Mr Wickremesinghe and his group of closest friends, who belonged to a privileged class and did not understand the pulse of the people conducted themselves as if shaping the future of the country was a fun game they played. I feel that Hon Wickremesinghe grossly violated the very principles of good governance we pledged to uphold.

I am sure you remember that on the evening of January 09th, 2015, moments after taking oaths as President, I appointed Mr Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka although he had only 47 members in the Parliament. However, I am sure you know that Mr Wickremesinghe destroyed the concept and the noble expectations of good governance by his actions during the last few years. Corruption and fraud spread widely in the country. Thereby, he destroyed the pure and noble expectations of the 49 political parties, organisations, trade unions, and civil society groups including the UNP, who signed an agreement in support of the common candidate. I hope you remember a statement I made recently at a Senanayake commemoration event. The political visions of great leaders such as D.S. Senanayake, Dudley Senanayake, J.R. Jayewardene, and Ranasinghe Premadasa made the UNP a mighty political party, enriched with indigenous thinking, our cultural heritage. They stood for the national identity and territorial integrity of the country. They were committed to protect everything what could be called ‘ours’. It is my sincere hope that the present leadership of the UNP be blessed with the wisdom of those great leaders to embrace a vision with noble objectives that can take our country to the new world.

Once in the government, Mr Wickremesinghe arrogantly and stubbornly avoided collective decisions, and tended to take individual decisions. This behaviour led to many conflicts. Due to his lack of collective decision making through discussion, our country had to face harsh consequences when he used to take decisions with a group of his very close associates. I must state that, there was also a policy conflict between Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe and me, during the last three and half years. Apart from a policy differences, I noted that there were also differences of culture between Mr Wickremesinghe and me. I believe that all those differences in policy, culture, personality and conduct aggravated this political and economic crisis.

When many senior leaders were around, I have suggested to him to work together and work collectively. I suggested to him that we should take our decisions after proper discussion to achieve the goals of good governance. However, he ignored the aspirations of over six million and two hundred thousand people. I am very worried about that. I accepted the leadership of this country to ensure creative governance upholding t