EXCLUSIVE: Maithri won’t refuse to give Premiership - Mahinda
August 11, 2015 01:08 am
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says that he did summon the Attorney General and the heads of security forces to Temple Trees in the early hours of January 09.
Following President Maithripala Sirisena’s victory at the election on January 08, Ministers of the new government had levelled allegations against Rajapaksa that he attempted a coup to remain in office after it became clear that he had lost.
It was alleged that Rajapaksa tried to cling to power by persuading the island’s army and police chiefs to deploy the security forces.
Replying to a question in an interview on Derana 360° regarding accusations of such a conspiracy, Rajapaksa admitted that he did summon the Attorney General and the heads of security forces but denied the reason was for plotting a coup.
Rajapaksa stated that the discussion they held was pertaining to preventing any riots in the country during the transition period before the newly-elected President is sworn in, as it was still his responsibility.
He stated that the Attorney General’s presence is not necessary to plot a coup and that there is no such thing as a legal coup carried out on the advice of the AG.
The UPFA Kurunegala District candidate stated that he left Temple Trees on January 09 morning not wanting to return to politics again, but had to reverse his decision due to the demands of the people.
Rajapaksa stated that the decision to call for the presidential poll two years before the end of his term was not based on the instructions of astrologers but conceded that advice was sought from an astrologer regarding an auspicious day to hold the election.
However, Rajapaksa declared that what the astrologer provided him was not an auspicious day and that the auspicious day was given to Maithripala Sirisena.
But now I don’t give much consideration to the opinions of astrologers, he expressed.
In response to a question regarding the decision to remove presidential term limits, Rajapaksa said that it is the people who should decide how many times a person is elected and also that limits should not be imposed simply because they exist in the U.S. and French constitutions.
The former President stated that he has no disappointment regarding the special statement made by President Sirisena and believes that it helped strengthen the party’s voter base and not weaken it.
He declared that the President has especially encouraged the lower sections of the party and that on the other hand he believed that Sirisena’s comments regarding the controversial Central Bank bond issue would have certainly caused UNP votes to reduce.
In his statement, President Maithripala Sirisena had said he would remain neutral at the general election and won’t back Rajapaksa, who he claimed would lose at the election. The President had also said that he would not give the Premiership to Rajapaksa even if the UPFA wins the parliamentary polls.
When asked about this declaration, Rajapaksa responded saying the President will not refrain from giving him the Premiership because he knows about Maithri since 1970.
The former President admitted to certain shortcomings during his reign and cited as an example instructing that investigations be carried out without remanding Sajith Premadasa’s sister in connection with the counterfeit currency case.
On accusations regarding his foreign policy, Rajapaksa said that his foreign policy was correct but admitted to certain faults in implementing it.
Rajapaksa said he believes the Untied People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) would win 117 seats in Parliament at the General Election on August 17 and said there are more than enough parties willing to help form a government if they get less than 113.