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PRIORITY FOR DEVELOPMENT WORK

President Maithripala Sirisena, yesterday, invited all parties represented in Parliament to join hands with the government to forge ahead in the realization of good governance.

“Priority now, should be given to development strategies for the benefit of the country,” he said.

The President made this statement addressing the heads of media institutes at the President’s House in Colombo.

“Expediting development work is the foremost in our agenda,” said the President, adding that the Local Government elections, Kandy incidents and the No-Confidence Motion against the Prime Minister affected the development work undertaken by the government to a certain extent.

“The current topic in and out of the government is the No-Confidence Motion against the Prime Minister. Many views were expressed and I too was made a defendant in the NCM by one party, while others said they did not receive any support from me. All these led to some confusion,” the President said.

Answering several questions relating to the No-Confidence Motion, the President denied any kind of involvement in it. The President also referred to the crisis within the UNP which resulted in the No-Confidence Motion against the Prime Minister.

“There were groups within the UNP that worked against the Premier. Those and other groups against the Premier joined together,” he said.

Admitting that UNP groups met him thrice, the President said that they were certain of their majority in Parliament.

“My position was that they should adhere to the provisions of the Constitution and any move should be within the Constitutional framework of the country”.

The President, thereafter, said that in spite of what happened in Parliament, he was responsible for the people.

In the wake of the post-NCM scenario, the President still believes in the importance of the unity government and invited all parties to join them.

“In my view, it should be a unity government and no single party can form a government,” he said.

Answering a question from the participants as to whether he had a role in the No-Confidence Motion sponsored by Mahinda Rajapaksa-led JO that dented the confidence of the Tamils in the President, the President said that the question was not clear, but denied any involvement in the process.

The President also denied that there was any pressure from the international community. Responding to another question, he said that he never received a letter purported to have been signed by some UNP members demanding the removal of SLFP ministers who voted for the NCM. “I am yet to receive such a letter,” the President said.

In any case, the President said, the SLFP Central Committee would meet next week to decide on a course of action.

Referring to the recently concluded Local Government elections, the President said no political party could obtain over 40% of the total vote.

“Most of the election figures that were published in the media fell short of the truth. Some political analysts made an attempt to draw a dismal picture by trying to draw parallels and adapt it to a national election scenario,” the President said.

The SLFP affiliated parties contested on four symbols; the hand, horse, betel leaf and cock. The total polled for the SLFP alliance is about 15 percent of the total vote. In a national election, the SLFP would have secured about 30 seats while the Lotus Bud would have won 102 seats. Nobody could form a government under these circumstances. This is the reality and the political fallout of the election results, although they spoke of an overwhelming success, which is far from reality.”

The President, referring to the current political scenario, said that out of the 41 SLFP MPs in the government, some wanted to quit the government in December and this demand came to a head with the election results. When this was discussed in December, the SLFP decided to wait until the Local Government elections were over.

The President, thereafter, said: “In spite of what happened in Parliament, I am responsible for the people.”

“In my view, it should be a unity government and no single party can form a government,” he said.