The government yesterday challenged opposition presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka to disclose his stand on the abolishing of the executive presidency because the views held by him and his main supporters the UNP and the JVP were quite different.
Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka told the weekly government news briefing at the Mahaweli Centre the people had a right to know about General Fonseka s views on this highly sensitive issue.
He is on record saying he does not want to become a ceremonial President like President William Gopallawa and expects to retain some executive powers. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna wants the executive presidency abolished and the President demoted to the level of a symbolic Head of State. The United National Party has moved away from its long held stance of upholding the post of executive president and now meekly says it wants to abolish it but does not appear too keen about it. The three main partners of General Fonseka s camp have highly confusing views on the issue. The people want to know what exactly they can expect from him on the abolition of the executive presidency, Minister Ranawaka said.
He said the country would love to know details of General Fonseka s economic policy because the UNP has neo liberal economic policies based on the open market and private investment while the JVP wants a now defunct Soviet Union-style closed and proletariat managed economy which is highly confusing.
Do not say you will tell us after consulting the UNP. We expect a direct and immediate response about your economic policy, Mr. Ranawake said.
He said in President Mahinda Rajapaksa s manifesto to be published shortly legal provisions would be incorporated to eradicate corruption and waste not only in the state sector but in the private sector and among officials and politicians as well.With regard to allegations of corruption in the government sector, Mr. Ranawaka said large scale corruption and embezzlements had taken place during the 2001 -2004 Ranil Wickremesinghe regime where certain ministers and their kith and kin openly engaged in shady deals.
Corruption is taking place not only among politicians and in the public sector but among officials and in the private sector as well. President Rajapaksa is determined to put an end to all kinds of waste, corruption and waste in the public sector as well as in the private sector and his work plan in this regard will be incorporated in his presidential election manifesto, Mr. Ranawaka said.