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August 22, 2014
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) claims the
Opposition is still not prepared to put forward
a common presidential candidate, despite
TNA arliamentarian !uresh remachandran
asserted that although a common presidential
candidate will "e the onl# wa# out of the
present situation, there is lac$ of seriousness
in the tal$s a"out the matter.
%e added that a mem"er of the &uddhist
clerg# will not "e a"le to secure 'otes of all
communities. (The present situation in the
countr# is such that Tamils and )uslims will
ne'er support a &uddhist clerg#man no
matter how honest and genuine is.*
+ollowing are e,cerpts from the inter'iew-
.- /hat are #our 'iews a"out the forthcoming
A- There is so much of tal$ a"out a
presidential election, "ut no"od# $nows whether it going to "e a
presidential election or a general election. Therefore, the TNA has not
discussed an#thing a"out the presidential election so far. Once the# ma$e a
proper announcement we will decide what we need to do.
.- /hom will #ou support0 /hat are #our conditions0
A- /e ha'e not ta$en an# decision a"out supporting a particular candidate.
Nor ha'e we wor$ed out an# conditions as such. &ut de1nitel# as people
who ha'e "een suppressed "# this 2o'ernment for a long time there are
some 'ital facts that need to "e ta$en into consideration. There are so
man# pro"lems we are facing after the war. The# ha'e not addressed our
priorit# issues. These issues will "e ta$en up with the concerned candidate,
whoe'er it ma# "e. olitical settlement is one of our "iggest pro"lems. The
post3war ground situation, resettlements that ha'e still not 1nished and
militarisation 4 all these issues are present. /hoe'er the candidate is, these
are the matters that concern us.
.- /hat is #our part#5s stand on a"olishing the e,ecuti'e presidenc#0
A- +rom the 'er# "eginning we ha'e "een against the e,ecuti'e presidenc#.
The e,ecuti'e presidenc# has created a lot of trou"le in this countr#. 6t is
the e,ecuti'e presidenc# that led to dictatorial rule. This 2o'ernment
changed the 17th Amendment and "rought the 18th Amendment. A
president can contest an# num"er of times. This will onl# lead to dictatorial
rule. That cannot "e allowed. The TNA is totall# against the e,ecuti'e
.- /ill #ou support a common candidate0
A- As a part# the TNA "elie'es a common presidential
candidate will "e the onl# wa# out of the present
situation. There is a lot of tal$ a"out a common
candidate. /e welcome this mo'e. 6t is a good mo'e. The
Opposition should understand that contesting separatel#
should not "e the strateg#. 6f the# want to defeat the
present resident, the Opposition needs to get together.
This is wh# we sa# onl# a strong common candidate will
"e a"le to ma$e a change. 9nfortunatel# we still don5t
see that the Opposition as a whole is properl# prepared
for this. /e don5t see an# seriousness in these tal$s
a"out a common candidate. :arious &uddhist mon$s
ha'e made certain remar$s a"out the matter. &ut none of
the ma;or Opposition parties ha'e clearl# stated their
position on this issue.
.- !peculation is rife that )aduluwawe !o"itha Thero will
"e contesting as the common candidate at the ne,t presidential election.
/ill #ou support !o"itha Thero0
A- There is such speculation, "ut no one has come out in pu"lic and said
an#thing. <et me tell #ou one thing= the common candidate should "e
accepta"le to all communities. That is the most important thing. A mem"er
of the &uddhist clerg# will not "e a"le to secure 'otes of Tamils and
)uslims. The present situation in the countr# is such that Tamils and
)uslims will ne'er support a &uddhist clerg#man no matter how honest and
genuine he is.
.- >o #ou want to defeat )ahinda ?a;apa$sa
and if so, wh#0
A- @es, we want to defeat )ahinda ?a;apa$sa.
The present resident and his 2o'ernment
ha'e failed to run the countr# according to the
e,pectations of the people. !et aside the
grie'ances of the people in north and east=
loo$ at the suAering of the people in other
parts of the countr#. B'er#where #ou loo$, all
#ou can see is dictatorship, famil# rule and
nepotism. No"od# wants to li'e in such a
countr#. 6t is the militar# that is running this
countr#. 6t is not a matter that is common onl#
to the north and east. 6t is happening in the
south too. /h# do #ou need militar# training in
the education sector0 /h# do #ou need
colonels and ma;ors in schools0 Can5t #ou see
what is happening to this countr#0 /e want a
proper candidate who can defeat this
resident. /e are clear a"out that.
.- /ill #ou support ?anil /ic$remesinghe if he
contests as the common candidate0
A- 6 cannot comment on that "ecause we ha'e
still not discussed this matter. &ut we are
against the e,ecuti'e presidential s#stem. /e
will welcome whoe'er comes forward to
a"olish this s#stem. /hoe'er comes should "e
in a position to win the elections. Those are
the "asic things we will ta$e into consideration
when supporting a candidate. /hoe'er comes,
he should "e a"le to gather 'otes. /e ha'e to
win the election. %owe'er, 1rst we ha'e to
discuss among oursel'es. 6t is onl# then that
we will "e a"le to ela"orate on that matter.
.- Certain TNA mem"ers ha'e reportedl#
stated that #our part# will not support ?anil
/ic$remesinghe at the upcoming presidential election. 6s there an# truth to
A- That must "e their personal 'iew, "ut as a part# we ha'e still not ta$en
such a decision.
.- 6s it true that #our part# is controlled "# 6ndia0
A- The TNA "elongs to !ri <an$a= there is no controlling "# 6ndia or an#
other countr#. 6f an# of these countries support us for a right cause, we
welcome that. There are pro"lems in the countr# and de1nitel# we will get
their support to resol'e those pro"lems. /e need the support of the
international and 6ndia5s support to resol'e this pro"lem.
.- %ow would #ou descri"e the present situation in the north0
A- There is no impro'ement in the situation in the north. There are se'eral
thousand people who need to "e resettled. Their lands are still occupied "#
the Arm#. Those are pri'ate and fertile lands. The Arm# is not willing to
release them to the people. The resident has gi'en a promise to the
!ecretar# 2eneral of the 9nited Nations that within one #ear all these
people will "e resettled in their own areas. After 1'e #ears of war this
2o'ernment has not resettled the people. These people are eagerl# waiting
to return to their lands.
B'en the Northern ro'incial Council has "een una"le to resol'e this matter
"ecause the 2o'ernment is running another administration through the
2o'ernor. There are two separate administrations. One is run "# the
2o'ernor and one is run "# the Chief )inister. This situation is ma$ing the
li'es of the people more diDcult.
There are se'eral thousand people who need a li'elihood to support their
families. 9nfortunatel# this 2o'ernment does not ha'e an# plan to sol'e
these matters. These are the most pressing matters in the post3war
scenario. Their housing pro"lem has not "een addressed. The 6ndian
2o'ernment has gi'en E0,000 housing units "ut that is not onl# for the
.- ro'incial councils ha'e all powers apart from police powers. &ut #ou
ha'e failed to ful1l the aspirations of the people. /h#0
A- Other pro'inces ma# "e en;o#ing 'arious powers. 6t is the ruling part#
that is controlling these pro'inces. Things are 'er# diAerent in the Northern
ro'ince. 6n the Northern ro'ince it is the 2o'ernor who is running the
show. The 2o'ernor strongl# feels that he is the representati'e of the
B,ecuti'e resident. !he "eha'es li$e an e,ecuti'e go'ernor. The 2o'ernor
is interfering in all the administrati'e wor$ and not allowing the Chief
)inister to function in his own wa#. B'en the Chief !ecretar# is wor$ing
under the 2o'ernor and not under the Chief )inister. The Chief !ecretar#
ne'er o"e#s the Chief )inister5s orders. +or the 1rst time in !ri <an$an
histor#, the Chief !ecretar# went to the !upreme Court sa#ing her
fundamental rights were infringed "# the Chief )inister "ecause of a
circular. These oDcers and mo'es are supported "# the resident and the
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