Sirisena invites all parties to join national unity govt

SansadTV Bureau

File Photo ( PTI )

Sri Lanka’s new President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday invited all the political parties to join his national unity government and pledged to work for religious harmony by giving due recognition to all minorities.

“I invite all parties to be part of a government of national unity,” Sirisena said in his first address to the nation from the central town of Kandy after winning the historic elections that ended the 10-year rule of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sirisena said as pledged in his campaign manifesto, the powers of the executive president will be conferred to parliament.

Eliminating poverty would be the priority for his government, he said. He also promised to strengthen economy with friendly foreign policy.

He said his government would uphold the majority religion of Buddhism and work to achieve religious harmony by giving due recognition to all minorities.

“It’s not a king we need in this country but a true servant of the people,” Sirisena said in a obvious reference to his predecessor Rajapaksa, who was hailed a ‘King’ for his action to defeat the LTTE’s separatist campaign.

Sri Lanka’s minorities include Tamils (13 per cent) and Muslims (17 per cent).

Rajapaksa’s Health Minister until late November, Sirisena defected to become the opposition unity candidate in the January 8 polls.

He has appointed the main opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the new Prime Minister.

Sri Lanka’s new govt to probe Rajapaksa’s ‘coup’ bid: Spokesman

Sri Lanka’s new government today said it will probe whether longtime president Mahinda Rajapaksa sought military help to cling to power after he realised that he had lost the closely contested election.

“The first thing the new cabinet will investigate is the coup and conspiracy by president Rajapaksa,” Mangala Samaraweera, a spokesman for the government led by President Maithripala Sirisena, told reporters.