Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena called on all political parties to end politics of conflict and extend a helping hand to strengthen the politics of consociation initiated by the government.
Pointing out that one major national party ruled the country for 35 years and the other main party ruled for 32 years, Sirisena urged all the Members of Parliament representing different political parties to cooperate with the government’s determined initiative to usher in a new political culture of consociation.
Sirisena made the statements Tuesday at the opening session of the 8th Parliament of Sri Lanka. He said that the post conflict era is the most suitable time for Sri Lanka to work as a joint force to face all the internal and international challenges.
Sirisena emphasized that the launching of this new culture of unity under a national government would be immensely helpful to build reconciliation between the communities and speed up socio economic progress to achieve human development targets set for 2020 and beyond.
Sirisena said that the government, while formulating development programmes, would incorporate proposals from the election manifestos of UNP, UPFA, TNA and JVP into his Presidential Election manifesto, ‘Maithri Palanayak’ and arrive at a common program of action.
Sirisena said that the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution already provides the format for a new electoral system and it would be the responsibility of the new Parliament to agree on a proposal to do away with the detested preferential system and introduce a new electoral system acceptable to all the political parties as well as the civil society.
“21st Century is Asia’s century. We are fortunate to be geographically located in a position most suited to obtain maximum benefits from the economic opportunities available when Asia stands as premier economic center of the world,” President Sirisena said. He added that it is the responsibility of all of us the formulate economic plans and strategies to make maximum of the available opportunities.
Sirisena said the main focus of the foreign policy of the government would be the principle of Asia-centric middle path. In this globalized world and new world order, we have to learn from each other and our foreign relations will continue to be based on openness and friendliness, he said.
“I am happy to declare that my government has succeeded in changing our image satisfactorily to ensure the rise of our glory and pride among the international community,” Sirisena said.
Sirisena further pointed out that the Parliament will be responsible to decide whether the post of executive Presidency is needed any longer and if yes, what should be the responsibilities of this position.
“My government will continue to crackdown on corruption and punish those who exploit national resources no matter who they are and there will be no political interference in the appointment of officials,” Sirisena said.
Sirisena invited all intellectuals in the country and all Sri Lankan intellectuals living abroad to join in the effort to build a new country.
Sirisena also outlined the plans of the government for growth of agricultural economy, raise local food production, take effective action to eradicate menace of drugs and alcohol, strengthen the public sector, to attract foreign investments and to formulate a new youth policy incorporating recommendations made by the 1990 Commission Report on Youth Unrest.
Sirisena, emphasizing the imperative need for protection of environment, said that economic development should be based on Buddhist economic principle as described in the words of Buddha, ‘Santhushti Paraman Dhanan’ (Happiness is the Supreme Bliss).