Lanka needs democratic leaders, not murderers – Kumara Welgama | Sunday Observer

Lanka needs democratic leaders, not murderers – Kumara Welgama

UPFA Kalutara District Parliamentarian Kumara Welgama said that Sri Lanka does not need a murderer as its leader but a leader that will ensure the rights of the people and safeguard democracy, but if a leader with murderous intentions contests he would not support him.

“The Presidential candidate we field should safeguard democracy and not exert pressure or harass the people and should not instil fear of death in the minds of the people to consolidate his authority. Only those amenable to criticism and do not want to avenge by resorting to killings or similar acts should be considered as the ideal Presidential candidate”, the SLFP heavyweight told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

He said almost all former Governments had either assaulted or killed journalists who expressed views against them. Even journalists should concede this fact. Therefore, the country needs a leader who is not a dictator.

MP Welgama said although he prefers Mahinda Rajapaksa to be the next Presidential candidate, he cannot contest again.” If it is so, another party senior who upholds democratic politics should be nominated as the Presidential candidate,” he said.

Commenting on speculation that the former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa is likely to be SLPP’s Presidential candidate, SLFP and SLPP sources confirmed that there have been no discussions so far on the selection of a Presidential candidate and added that at present discussions between the two parties are centered on forming a broad political alliance to contest future elections. Meanwhile, Gotabaya Rajapaksa had hinted that he could deliver the goods to the hard-pressed Sri Lankans.

He said his future Presidential campaign will be conducted on the SLPP political platform.

UPFA General Secretary MP Mahinda Amaraweera said that discussions are still under way between the SLFP and the SLPP but the issue of the next Presidential candidate has not been taken up as yet. Asked whether the SLFP MPs in President Maithripala Sirisena’s camp favour the incumbent President to be their next Presidential candidate, MP Amaraweera said it is not the time to make such comments but it will be decided on after the two parties reach a consensus.

SLFP General Secretary MP Dayasiri Jayasekara said that the SLFP has not yet discussed the matter with the SLPP on the Presidential candidate. At present, discussions between the SLFP and SLPP are mainly focused on forming a broad political alliance to contest future elections.

UPFA Ratnapura District MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that so far no discussions have been held on selecting a Presidential candidate. The SLFP and SLPP are confined to discussing the program and the structure for the political alliance and not about the Presidential candidate. Although some names have been nominated for consideration nothing has been finalised as yet. Our party position is that MP Chamal Rajapaksa should be the next Presidential candidate.