Although the time is close to holding elections, it will be a heavy burden on the country’s economy, human rights activist, former Dean and Professor of the University of Technology in Jamaica, Colombo University Senior Lecturer and lawyer Dr. Prathibha Mahanamahewa yesterday told the Sunday Observer.
Dr. Mahanamahewa said, “It will be appropriate to postpone the proposed LG pole to a distinct time frame and place Local government bodies under a Commissioner or extend their official tenures.” The New Year will be a stepping stone to deal with the financial crisis on a solid foundation, he said. The Government has mitigated the impact of the economic crisis on the people with a firm and long-standing plan under the office and function of President Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The President has overcome political instability, which arose due to the economic crisis owing to shortages of essentials, such as fuel and gas, from growing into major civil unrest, he said. He was responding to our question about how the Government has fared since the advent of Ranil Wickremesinghe as President.
“The President provided leadership to establish foreign relations and international negotiations. He led foreign policy diligently, promoting diplomatic interactions, building trustworthiness in international interactions, which was paramount for the country,” said Dr. Mahanamahewa. “He brought members of diverse political parties to a single table to discuss and resolve the problems before the nation. He discussed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution with the Tamil National Alliance members, with concern to solve their problems,” he said.
“Tourists are visiting Sri Lanka today because of President Wickremesinghe’s leadership,” he said.
Dr. Mahanamahewa referred to the situation where the Public Utilities Commission and trade unions had sought to legally challenge the Government to increase electricity tariffs. He said he believes that the Commission and the trade unions should have supported the Government in reducing the costs associated with electricity generation as the Government is trying to manage a financial crisis. He said that the President’s Director General of Trade Unions could play a significant role by bringing all trade unions to resolve it amicably through multi-conferences. “It would be better if the President had more space to deal with matters related to national security, foreign policy, and the economic crisis at this time,” he said.
On holding elections, he said that the President can dissolve Parliament in the future and seek a fresh mandate. If he goes for an election – Local Government or Provincial Councils, he will get an idea about where the people stand in terms of giving their mandate. He said that people might think that changing the system or the administration should be given a mandate, and then people will select who they want. He said that would be good news for other countries and the President must also consider drafting a new Constitution.