Former CJ’s new legal point?
The presidential election before parliamentary elections?
Ranil & Pohottuwa showing up differences
Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was scheduled to visit Sri Lanka last Wednesday (24). But at the beginning of last week, Gota suddenly changed his decision and decided to postpone the trip until the first week of next month. The reason for that was that no specific matter was specifically mentioned and due to that, the ‘State Secrets’ column was engaged in a special investigation in this regard last week. There we were able to find precisely why Gota’s journey to Sri Lanka was stuck.
As reported in the ‘State Secrets’ column, Gota has submitted two things he wanted once he come to Sri Lanka to President Ranil Wickramasinghe. The first and foremost thing is to ensure his safety after coming to Sri Lanka. The second one is to get an official residence. Gota’s proposal is that because he is a former president, he should be entitled to an official residence and security according to the constitution.
But here the President’s side has given a slightly different response. It has been learned that the President has informed Gota that constitutionally, the former President can be given protection, but a problem has arisen regarding the provision of an official residence. The President has informed Gota about former Chief Justice Sarath N. Mr. Silva’s recent statement.
Former CJ’s interpretation
Sarath N. Mr. Silva had mentioned that the former president cannot constitutionally claim any privileges and rights that former presidents are entitled to. The argument of the former Chief Justice has been that Gotabhaya is a person who has resigned from his office and therefore he has no validity to enjoy the privileges of any former President.
It has been argued by the former Chief Justice that normally after leaving the public service, he or she is not entitled to any privileges as a former public servant, and accordingly, Gotada has left his post, and hence he is not entitled to any privileges.
Normally, a president retires at the end of his first term or if he dies suddenly during his first term, he can enjoy the privileges of a former president according to the constitution. But it has been argued by the former Chief Justice that if he leaves the service in between, he is not entitled to any such privilege.
I don’t know whether it was based on this argument or another argument, but the President did not give any good response regarding Gota’s official residence.
Accordingly, last Friday (19) a special telephone discussion was held between Gota and the President. Ranil did not take steps to give any response or assurance even though there was a conversation regarding the official residence. Instead, the President had informed Gota that he could provide security to Mirihane’s house. In addition to this, another source stated that the President has informed Gota that after providing an official residence to Gota if someone files a case against Gota for violating the constitution, a number of serious issues may arise.
According to these sources, the President has informed Gota that the best option is to settle in the Mirihana house. Gota’s trip, which was scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka last Thursday (25), was postponed until the first week of September due to this, the ‘State Secrets’ column learned.
US green card rejection
In the meantime, last week we revealed to the country an extraordinary piece of information related to Gota from the ‘State Secrets’ column. That is Gota has been sued by the American government in a court of that country. Although we did not receive any further information about it during that time, we have received a lot of information about it by now.
According to that information, the case against Gota has been filed by the Attorney General of Los Angeles County. That is before the Los Angeles court. It has been learned that this case was filed regarding the human rights charges against Gota before 2019 when Gota was granted American citizenship. According to the information we have, it is said that the cause of the case is quite serious. Also, due to this case, the latest news is that Gota’s American green card visa facility too has failed. Accordingly, Gota does not seem to have any other option but to come to Sri Lanka.
In addition to this, we wrote another special issue regarding Gota last week. It is about a secret plan made by some group to bring Gota back to Parliament from the national list after coming to Sri Lanka. Also, a few weeks ago, we mentioned the position of Gota’s brother Basil Rajapaksa, the national organizer of the Pohottuwa, regarding Gota’s journey to Lanka.
There we said that Basil was not very interested in Gota coming to Sri Lanka. Also, we wrote down the notice given to the MPs in Pohottuwa not to go to Katunayake to welcome Gota when he comes to Sri Lanka, and not to organize receptions and ceremonies. We also reported that Basil’s position was that there should not be any unnecessary conflicts with the President as Pohottuwa is currently working according to some mutual agreement.
But as of last week, it was seen that the position held by Basil and the team regarding Gota’s arrival had changed a bit. Now Bassill’s position is that justice must be done for Gota, and if the president does not act to do justice to him, they should fight for it. Accordingly, it has been seen that the proposal that Gota should come back to Parliament, which came out from a third party previously, has been officially discussed within Pohottuwa.
Gota’s reentry to parliament
Accordingly, it is learned that there has been a discussion among the strongmen of Pohottuwa regarding how to bring Gota back to Parliament, how to get other parties in Pohottuwa to agree to it, and what kind of political role Gota should play after coming to Parliament.
However, while Gota had a problem with his request for an official residence, it was seen last week that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who constitutionally owns an official residence, also had some problems with his official residence. Mahinda, who held the position of Prime Minister during Gota’s tenure as the President, had taken steps to forward a cabinet paper asking for money to repair his official residence in Wijerama and take over the adjoining part of the same house and build a housing complex.
Rs. 400 M for MR house renovation
The cabinet paper requested that 400 million rupees needed for that. But Gota had taken steps to suspend the project due to the economic crisis that was emerging in the country at that time and a problem with the contractors. Accordingly, after resigning from the post of Prime Minister, Mahinda moved to another official government residence located on Bullers Road. But that is temporarily
However, a special cabinet paper presented to the cabinet last week said that the official house where Mahinda stayed in Wijerama should be repaired at a cost of 400 million and a new housing complex should be built and steps should be taken to give it back to Mahinda. It is also a special event to get the approval of the cabinet. Accordingly, the government is now ready to build the official residence as soon as possible and give Mahinda the opportunity to settle there.
In the past, many major parties of Pohottuwa had taken steps to withdraw from Pohottuwa due to the crisis with its national organizer Mr. Basil Rajapaksa. Some party leaders had publicly called Basil various names and given statements that they would never do politics with him again, and had taken steps to separate from Pohottu and act independently. Later, Basil’s side made several attempts to reconcile the group with Pohottua, and all of them failed. Accordingly, those discussions did not have much life.
Attempts of reunification of Pohottuwa
However, as of last week, it was seen that a new attempt had been launched to unite the independent groups. The initiative was taken by the people who carried out a big campaign to bring Gota to Sri Lanka. Accordingly, last week they started a round of negotiations between the Dallas team and Wimal’s team, which is independent of Pohottuwa.
The topics of those discussions were how to work as a team in the future, and which party to work with after Gota’s return to the island. The ‘State Secrets’ column has heard that there were extremely positive responses from both sides. Also, it has been learned that there has been a long discussion regarding the political role of Gota and the role of the alliance, if Dallas and Wimal’s team work together in these discussions, whether they will continue to play politics with the government, or play politics with the opposition. However, even though Basil has no knowledge or participated in these discussions, it has been reported to the State Secret column that even Basil has been informed about the discussions.
Meanwhile, another political operation has been launched targeting the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. The operation has been launched to remove Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, who is currently the leader of the Sri Lankan Party, from that position and take the power of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party into the hands of another group within the ranks. It is reported that this operation has been launched based on an article that was included in the party constitution of the Sri Lankan Freedom Party during the time when former President Chandrika Bandaranaike was the leader of the Sri Lankan Freedom Party. Accordingly, this group has taken steps to move a case to Maithripala in court based on that article.
Coup attempt in SLFP
What is this clause in the Sri Lankan Freedom party Constitution that has been brought forward against Maithri in this way?
That article states that if a party member becomes the president, he or she will be the official leader of the SLFP, if not he or she should become the party leader according to the procedure in the party constitution. Also, it is indicated in that article that when the presidency is lost, the party leadership is automatically get abolished. It has been learned that a group of powerful lawyers has started to file a case against Maithripala through this section in the constitution.
The ‘State Secrets’ column has also learned that there is a large group behind hatching this plan. According to that plan, it is also reported that there is a plan behind this plan to take over the power of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party if Maithripala gets an unfavorable decision. We have come to know that a former stalwart of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and a stalwart of the current government are also involved in this coup, and several other special people are also behind the plan.
Through this operation, their plan is to bring the former president, Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga, back to the leadership of the party and strengthen the party by rejoining party seniors like Kumara Welgama who has left the party. It has been learned that it has been proposed to appoint Mahinda Amaraweera as the temporary leader until the implementation of this operation if there is a court decision in which Maithrie loses the leadership of the party.
Mahinda Amaraweera is already known as someone who works very closely with the President. Apart from that, Amarweera and Nimal Siripala got closer to the President and got ministerial positions, going against the decisions taken by the Central Committee of the party. According to the information available to us, the aim of this operation is to gain power for a certain group in the upcoming political changes.
However, it should be mentioned that Maithripala is facing this case before the court with a strong team of lawyers
Government’s election plans
Last week, we took steps to make another special disclosure about the government’s election plan through the ‘State Secrets’ channel. Under the existing 20th constitutional amendment, the President has the power to dissolve the Parliament within two and a half years, but Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe made a promise to the Pohottu MPs when he became the President that he would not dissolve the Parliament until the end of the term of this Parliament.
But in view of the serious financial crisis, the President has now planned to dissolve the Parliament and go for a general election for the first time when he is constitutionally entitled to power, i.e. next March.Mr. Vijayadasa Rajapaksa had also taken steps to include a related clause in the 22nd constitutional amendment which has been submitted to the Parliament and he had also taken steps to reject a request made by the Pohottu members last week to Vijayadasa to change that clause. Under this background, some Pohottu MPs are currently decided not to support the 22 nd amendment.
However, under this situation, the President’s side has made several other alternative proposals. One of the suggestions has been that resorting to an emergency presidential election is appropriate at this time. According to the constitution, the president has the opportunity to call another presidential election after the 4-year term, and the president will be able to do so in November 2023.
The persons who submitted this proposal have indicated to the President that it is very advantageous to go for an early presidential election at a time when the Rajapaksa camp, which was currently an alternative rival, has become very weak. Because right now, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was a former president as well as a prime minister, is in a slightly deteriorating state of health. Former President Gotabaya has also faced serious opposition within the country at this time.
Such is the case with Basil. Against this background, it has been suggested by parties friendly to Ranil that it would be very advantageous for the president to run for the presidential election again as a strong candidate with the support of Pohottuwa and other partner parties. Accordingly, if it is not possible to dissolve the parliament within two and a half years, the president’s side has indicated that this presidential election trump card is the next best option.
As the next option, those people have suggested to the president to hold a small vote or the local government election. At the beginning of the year, Gota’s government took steps to postpone the local government elections, which were scheduled to be held in February this year, by a year due to the unfavorable situation. If necessary, the government has the ability to extend it by another year through a parliamentary resolution.
However, for Pohottua, it has been decided that if the small vote is held next February, some advantage can be gained for Pohottua at the village level. Their assumption is that there is some sympathy emerging for Gota within the country, and by using it, Pohottuwa can gain some advantage at the village level, although not as much as last time.
Validation of 69 lakhs votes today?
On the other hand, the President’s side has indicated to the President that he should hold the local government vote immediately and control the power in the pohottuwa. They are of the opinion that Pohottuwa is preparing to control the government and the president by constantly talking about the mandate of 69 lakhs, and because the results of the small vote may cause a serious situation for Pohottuwa, they will be able to get rid of that control. After that defeat, this group indicated to the President that the talk of Pohottuwa’s 69 lakh mandate will be canceled.
Accordingly, the three options of an emergency general election, an emergency presidential election, and a local government vote have become open proposals from the side of the president at this moment. However, the two main parties of the opposition, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, and the Janata Vimukti Peramuna, are currently aiming to face any of these options. Sajabaya has already started going from village to village strengthening the constituencies and the Janata Vimukthi Peramuna is also going to take to the streets to demand elections in the near future.
Progress of IMF talks
Under such a background, the next serious problem that Sri Lanka has to face is the challenge of getting the necessary loan facilities from the International Monetary Fund and facing the human rights crisis associated with it. Even now, representatives of the International Monetary Fund are visiting Sri Lanka for a period of one week and Central Bank Governor Mr. Nandalal Weerasinghe said that the two sides will be able to sign staff-level agreements within this week. Also, the ‘State Secrets’ column has received information that the French-based Lazard company is currently preparing plans on how to restructure Sri Lanka’s debt.
But the problem is that due to the incidents of human rights violations, a serious message has been sent to the main countries of the International Monetary Fund regarding Sri Lanka. Whether or not Sri Lanka signs a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund, it even has to hold a vote when entering into a loan program with it. America, Britain, Japan, and the countries of the European Commission are the main countries with voting rights.
But it seems that all these countries have started an open fight with Sri Lanka based on the topic of human rights. Within the last two or three months alone, many serious announcements were issued based on the incidents of human rights violations by the US on Sri Lanka. Britain, European Commission, and other countries are the same. The government reactivating the Prevention of Terrorism Act and arresting the protestors in the struggle ground has been severely criticized in these countries. Under such a situation, even though the preliminary work of the International Monetary Fund has been completed, a serious situation has emerged regarding the support of these countries in the remaining work.
Geneva UNHRC meeting
In addition, the Geneva Human Rights Council meeting is scheduled to begin in the first week of next month. According to the information being received by the ‘State Secrets’ belt, there is already a risk of a resolution against Sri Lanka being passed in Geneva. Due to the fact that countries such as the United States and Britain are included in the middle group (Core Group), there is news that this time as well as last time, they are working in Lahilahi to pass a serious resolution against Sri Lanka.
President’s Japan visit
Against this background, the President is going to leave for Japan in the coming days on his first foreign trip. Although it is not an official visit, the President has planned to leave for Japan to pay his last respects to the former Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe. According to the information we received, the purpose of this visit is to revive Japan’s support for Sri Lanka during the period 2001-2004 when Ranil was elected as Prime Minister. Japan also played a big role in ending the war with the LTTE by including the LTTE in the peace negotiation process.
Japan was also included in the countries of the co-chairs formed with the participation of 4 major countries. Yashushi appointed Akashi as the special representative for Sri Lanka. Akashi, who came to Sri Lanka on many occasions, performed his role brilliantly. Also, in 2001, Japan held the Tokyo conference with the help of world powers to support Sri Lanka, and Japan also took steps to collect 20,000 crores of aid. But in 2004, when Mrs. Chandrika suddenly dissolved that regime, Sri Lanka lost all that aid.
Ranil did all that while being the Prime Minister. But this time Ranil is going to Japan after being appointed as the President for the first time. Is it going with the plan of getting back the support that Japan has shown to Sri Lanka in the past? Accordingly, during this visit to Japan, the President is going to request the new Japanese Prime Minister to act as a mediator to resolve the economic crisis in Sri Lanka.
But the question is whether Japan will come to help Sri Lanka under the current situation. The reason for that is that Gota’s government has done two things that angered Japan on two occasions immediately after coming to power. The most serious incident was the cancellation without any reason of the Malabe-Colombo monorail project, which was a special multi-billion dollar project that had even been signed. This abolition was done by the Urban Development Authority under Gota and later the construction of an aerial route running on poles from Dematagoda to Athurugiri was handed over to China. Accordingly, Japan completely withdrew from the monorail project.
Colombo port East terminal affair?
The second event was Gota’s government’s move to exclude both India and Japan from the development of Colombo Port East Terminal. The previous good governance government had taken steps to give the development of the eastern terminal to India and Japan, and after the current government came to power, Japan took steps to completely withdraw from the port development activities. India reluctantly undertook the construction of the western terminal of Colombo port instead. Accordingly, in the past, Japan was not very good with Gota’s government.
This situation exploded with the complaint made by the Japanese ambassador to Gota that Nimal Siripala, who was Gota’s last Minister of Aviation, demanded a bribe from the Japanese Taisei Company, which was in charge of the development of Katunayake Airport. There Gota immediately started an investigation and took steps to remove Nimal Siripala from the ministry until the investigation is completed. But as soon as Ranil came to the office of the President, he appointed a three-member committee and through it declared Nimal Siripala as an innocent person. Later, Ranil took steps to give Nimal Siripala the position of Aviation Minister again, but at the same time, Japan took steps to withdraw Taisei from the Katunayake Airport expansion project.
On the other hand, Japan is also a member of the Cod Organization, which is established to monitor China’s activities in the Indian Ocean region, led by the United States, Australia, and India. Currently, the US and India are in a bit of a grudge with Sri Lanka over the issue of the Chinese Yuan Wang 5 ship that arrived in Sri Lanka in the last few weeks. Due to being a member country of that organization, it cannot be said that Japan does not have the same objection. Under such a background, it is still too early to say that the mission that the President is preparing to go to Japan will be a successful one.
The interim budget presented by President Ranil Wickramasinghe is to be brought to Parliament next Tuesday. Accordingly, the President engaged in a discussion with the leader of the House Mr. Susil Premajayantha, and prepared the necessary environment to hold this year’s Parliament week from next Monday. Accordingly, Ranil had taken steps to inform Susil of two things. The first issue was that although Parliament used to start at 10 am, it should start from 9.30 am in the future. The second issue was that the meeting of the government councilors should be held on Monday at 5 pm.
Division within Pohottuwa
However, due to the President’s decision to discuss these matters only with Susil, the MPs in Pohottuwe were not in a good mood last week. The seniors of Pohottuwa are not on good terms with Susil, especially because Susil has left Pohottuwa and worked as an independent MP in the past.
Accordingly, many MPs in Pohottuwa have decided not to participate in the group meeting on Monday. It is impossible to say whether it will be successful, but many faces of Pohottuwa will not be seen at Monday’s caucus meeting.
In this way, when various group forces are formed in Pohottuwa, it can be seen from the side of the President that he has launched an operation to increase his party by taking the MPs of Pohottuwa to his side. First, it was Nimal Lanza of Pohottuwa who carried out this work for the President. Lanza thus brought a significant group of MPs to the President. But because the process was slow, a few weeks ago when the Parliament session was held, the President himself came to the Parliament and took steps to meet the MPs.
Moving from the ruling party lobby to the opposition lobby, the President was meeting the MPs and talking amicably and smiling. Namal, who was with the MPs in Pohottuwe, did not allow the MPs to talk to the President, but stepped in and answered all the questions asked by the President others as if he was their representative. Because of this, the president was very embarrassed and left the place with a bit of anger without saying anything at that time.
But later, the President informed some of his loyal MPs that Namal did not allow him to talk to the Pohottu MPs and that he did not like it that much.
However, through this incident, the Pohottu chiefs also realized that the president had launched an operation to win over the Pohottu MPs separately by talking to them. Accordingly, last week, the seniors of Pohottuwa informed all MPs that if they are going to meet the President they have to do it as a party, it is not appropriate to go and meet the President individually.
Sajith For Artists
Last week, a group of artists requested Opposition Leader Sajith to give them an opportunity to discuss the problems they are facing.
Sajith, who arranged to fulfill the relevant request within two days, entrusted the responsibility of calling the group to the national organizer Tissa. These days, the National People’s Assembly is functioning under the leadership of Tissa Attanayake and the problems faced by people representing various fields are being discussed there.‘From Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa to Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, they used artists to win elections. The artists worked wonderfully for them. Even artists who had never been involved in politics in their professional life intervened at that time. But even today, the artists do not even look for them. They have no work.’ said the artists.
‘The only thing left for the graduates passing out from the University of aesthetic arts is to become a teacher. People who can deal with art should be entrusted to the aesthetic study university, but unfortunately, there is no such program…’Pashela Manoj said.
Problems in the field of arts were discussed at length, and special attention was paid to the film industry, the television industry, as well as the visual art industry.
President Premadasa’s service to artists will go down in history. He had a good understanding of artists. Not only that, he provided everything the artists needed for their welfare. After that, everyone used artists only for their own political purposes…’
Many artists who came there said so.
We remember that the artists were with us for a long time since the 77s. I think more than 95% of the artists were with us. But later, the so-called artists distanced themselves from the party. They forgot what artists need, and what artists should do. In the end, the artists who dedicated themselves to us for so many issues left us. Samagi Jana Balavega is going on a new journey. Dedicated to the artists of our country. We present a statutory program for that. So trust us.’
Many of the artists here talked about the problems they face in their lives. We are in the opposition. But we don’t give up responsibility by saying that. Within two weeks, we will connect with you with a special welfare program. We will not wait until we get the power…’Sajith said amid applause from the artists.
At this time, a program for the welfare of artists is being started. It will not take much time, it will be implemented in two weeks…’Sajith said.
The opposition leader said that the contribution made by many people in the art field to change the existing system by intervening in the people’s struggle can never be forgotten, but he said that the current president and the government consider the struggle based on people’s oppression as terrorism.
Rally against governments repression
In a situation where the government has made repression its weapon, the ‘People’s Rally Against Repression’ was held (on the 24th).
It was at the Sri Lanka Foundation with the participation of political parties, trade unions, civil organizations, artists, and mass organizations.
Representatives of British, Canadian, Australian, and South African embassies were also present on that occasion, and representatives of the main opposition political parties were also present.
Opposition leader Sajith also joined it. After coming to the party leader’s office, Sajith joined several meetings and left for the same purpose in the evening, taking Rajitha in his car. Various civil activists and political leaders addressed the assembly and Sajith said, ‘The government is proposing to be all-party. But this is really an omnivorous government.
No matter what positions are given, they will not join the government that suppresses the common struggle. Let’s forget all the differences and put aside the ideologies for a moment and come together to defeat this state of violence Sajith said.
The government is violating the rights of the citizens of this country by using the Prevention of Terrorism Act. No one has the right to violate or destroy the rights of the people. But if that happens, we will start the struggle with the entire common people…’Sajith said.
Sajith, who had many discussions with the gathered civil activists and political representatives, left the meeting for several programs.
Gotabaya should come back to Sri Lanka now. Meanwhile, a list of ministers was sent to Ranil with Basil’s approval….’Rajitha said at the opposition leader’s office.
‘Now Deals and acts are coming back to the scene. Remember, Gotabhaya brings these people with lies. Now they forget that Gotabhaya was expelled from this country a month ago. Now he understands how valuable it is that our leader did not go to take positions…’Ashok Abeysinghe said
There is a story that history will prove whether what we did was right or wrong. The future will prove whether what we did without taking the presidency was right or wrong…’Sajith said.
By Special correspondent