Responding to a remark by Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) architect Basil Rajapaksa yesterday that the party’s presidential candidate would be a “Terminator” who fights corruption, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe retorted that an SLPP-presidency would end up terminating not just the economy but the basic freedoms of the people.
In a speech made in both Sinhala and English at Temple Trees today (9), an upbeat Wickremesinghe went on the offensive, listing out exactly what he thought an SLPP Commander-in-Chief would end up terminating.
“I know they have a lot of experience in termination. They’re going to terminate democracy, freedom of expression, the independence of the Supreme Court, all the freedoms you enjoy, the economy, the confidence the international community has in us, the investments and the tourists that come into the country, the safety of women from Pradeshiya Sabha Chairmen, education, the Langama Pasela Hondama Pasela programme, tabs in school, Suwaseriya, health development and housing,” he said.
The Prime Minister, whose own candidacy at the upcoming presidential election is looking increasingly uncertain, urged the audience to not entrust the country’s future to a party espousing an authoritarian outlook.
“Is this what you want? Are you safe? When you have a terminator, remember, they will terminate your life. Do you want to terminate the future? Or do you want to safeguard the future? Think on that, and be with those who will safeguard and build the future,” he said.
The SLPP is set to officially announce the all but confirmed candidacy of Former Defence Ministry Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa at a party convention to be held this Sunday (11) in Colombo, amidst much fanfare. The ruling United National Party (UNP), meanwhile, still appears to be divided over who amongst them should face an increasingly disullioned electorate come December.