Amid the battle for the control of the Colombo City, a euphoric UNP yesterday challenged the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration to go for a fresh poll if it was determined to prevent a UNP administration in the Colombo Municipal Council.
UNP deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya told a news conference that despite using the entire government machinery and the bureaucracy the UPFA was unable to break Colombo`s strong UNP vote base.
Though the UNP`s nomination list was rejected it campaigned through an Independent group with the spectacle symbol and this group won the majority of seats. The UNP claims the independent group members will resign to make way for UNP members but the Elections Commissioner has challenged the legality of this process.
On behalf of the party and its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Mr. Jayasuriya expressed his gratitude to the people who stood by the UNP and voted for it at the mini polls.
?We scored a great victory at the election. We accept this victory with humility and a sense of responsibility. At the election, the government misused state power, property and the media in a vain effort to win the CMC,? he charged.
Once again the UNP voiced its concern over the arbitrary appointment of members to the Independent Commissions saying it had posed a grave threat to democracy.
?Time is ripe for the government to think about the future of this country rather than concentrate on retaining power for the next five years,? Mr. Jayasuriya said.
UNP assistant general secretary Tissa Attanayake said the government should respect the people`s verdict at the election without resorting to ploys to undermine it.
Commenting on the Appeal Court judgment preventing anyone outside the lists of contestants being appointed to local bodies, Mr. Attanayake said the party could now go to the Supreme Court to get a ruling on the matter. He said the UPFA would also face similar problems in appointing members to the Udapalatha and Bentara-Elpitiya Pradheshiya Sabhas as it too had fielded candidates through other parties.
?We challenge President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the government to go for a re-polling if they are unwilling to allow a UNP administration in the CMC council honouring the mandate of the people,? he said.
Mr. Attanayake said no one should oppose the will of the Colombo electorate.
?If they cannot accept the people`s verdict, they should go to the Supreme Court to obtain a ruling on the matter. Otherwise, they can take an initiative to pass a Bill in Parliament to overcome the supposed legal snag,? he said.