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Opposition weaker than ever before -Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva



* Name : Nimal Siripala De Silva

* Birth : July 9, 1944

* Colleges attended : Nalanda College, Colombo 10, Sri Lanka Law College.

* Achievements : Appointed Chairman of the Executive Board of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2008, Chairman of the World Health Assembly in 2009. Won International awards for excellent service. Sri Lanka recorded the lowest maternal and infant mortality rates in South East Asia, Life expectancy of Sri Lanka increased up to 75 years. Sri Lanka eradicated diphtheria, polio and filaria.

* Experience in politics : 50 years (Since 1960)

Q: Do you think the Government is at a clear advantage at the upcoming general election?

A: There is no need to talk about winning the election because the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) is definitely going to win the upcoming parliamentary election.

There is no doubt about it. There were 1.8 million majority votes for President Mahinda Rajapaksa which ensured his victory. People have reposed full confidence in the President and the UPFA Government. They will reaffirm their decision on April 8 by electing a UPFA Government with a two-third majority.

Q: Do you see new developments in the Opposition's campaign that may give them an advantage?

A: There is no such developments at all in the Opposition's election campaign that may give them an advantage. This is because the Opposition does not have any indications or capable people who can to win the confidence of the voters.

All of them are now with the UPFA. With the defeat at the Presidential election, the unity of the Opposition was shattered. They seemed better off during the Presidential Election when they contested as an alliance but today they are weaker than ever before as individual political parties. It seems there is no Opposition in Sri Lanka any longer.

The people vote only for a politician or a political party with a very clear policy and a program. The President is Mahinda Chintana vision's endowed with this. The people of Sri Lanka endorsed the Mahinda Chintana - Idiri Dekma with 1.8 million majority votes. They are not ready to disown it now. The Opposition should understand this simple political fact. The main slogan of the Opposition is `Do not give a two-third majority to the Government.' This shows how pessimistic the Opposition's election campaign is. They have already accepted defeat and is now trying to prevent the Government from getting a two-third majority. People have already taken a very clear and firm decision to give a two-third majority to the Government and the Opposition does not have the strength to change it.

Q: What services have the UPFA Government provided to make it popular during the past six years?

A: Eradicating terrorism from Sri Lanka and establishing lasting peace. Is the biggest achievement! Moreover, there is a large number of massive ongoing development projects. 'Eastern Resurgence', 'Northern Spring', 'Maga Neguma', 'Gama Neguma', new harbour at Hambantota and other places, International Airport at Mattala, Moragahakanda irrigation project, Kerawalapitiya, Norochcholai and Upper Kotmale Power Generation projects, Southern Highway project, Api Wawamu Rata Hadamu, Mathata Thitha are only a few of them. There are many more. Unlike the previous regimes, the UPFA Government has focused on material and spiritual development of Sri Lanka.

Q: Does the Opposition have a workable alternative policy to offer the country?

A: Not at all. The Opposition is now desperately trying to take part from the UPFA manifesto.

This is a very pathetic situation. The UPFA hopes to obtain a two-third majority to change the Preferential Voting system and to make changes in the Constitution. We discussed this at length at the Parliamentary Select Committee at many meetings.

We drafted a report but after taking part in all those meetings and discussions and agreeing to everything, the Opposition refused to sign the report prepared with the consent of all political parties.

We therefore, lost the best chance of changing the existing system. Now they shed crocodile tears to secure votes.

When the Government seeks a two-third majority the UNP is against it. But in their election manifesto the Opposition says that they would change the preferential system which requires two-third majority in Parliament. They do not have a policy.

The Opposition is now trying his best to mislead the people. But they will not succeed. People never trust them and have already rejected them. Today people are more intelligent.

Q: What are your comments on the UNP's claim that it is the only party that can develop the country?

A: This myth has been already rejected by the majority of Sri Lankans. There can be various opinions and ideas but to implement those ideas public approval is required. If people accept the ideas and various concepts, they help the political parties to implement them.

People have rejected UNP policies treating the UNP as a bankrupt political party. The UNP cannot even draw up a nomination list properly.

They have let down their party members and supporters. They married the political party which killed thousands of party members and have now taken a divorce. So how can people trust such a political party?

The glory has vanished and no words to stay with the UNP, especially the youth. Today thousands of UNP members and supporters join the UPFA because they have understood that the UNP is not the proper 'place' for them.

Voters, especially the new UNP voters join with the UPFA in large numbers.

Q: What would be the impact of the General Election results on the international community?

A: The results of the Presidential Election helped Sri Lanka immensely to express its image to the world and show that the election was free and fair.

The result gave a special message to the world and showed the popularity of President Rajapaksa and his policies.

The people reposed their faith in President and wanted him to be their President for the next six years.

The election result of the upcoming General Election will endorse this decision.

The result of the upcoming general election will show that people strongly re-approve the economic policy the Mahinda Chinthana. The result will have a significant impact on the international community because it will prove that no international power could disrupt the stable Government and interfere with the internal affairs of the country in future.

Q: What are the international level goals Sri Lanka achieved in the health sector under the UPFA Government?

A: The health sector is Sri Lanka had gained international recognition for many reasons improving infant and maternal health, controlling diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Filaria and served other diseases.Life expectancy in Sri Lanka has increased to 75 years and it is 76 years in the US State hospitals in Ampara, Mahiyanganaya and Dambana had won international recognition for the quality of service.

Some countries such as Nepal and Kenya sent delegations to Sri Lanka to study Sri Lankans free healthcare system and improve its own. WHO has commended Sri Lankan healthcare system.

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