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Former parliamentarian Rosy Senanayake tipped to be Colombo Mayor

Posted on 26 August 2016 by admin

Rosy Senanayake

Rosy Senanayake

As we all know, the power of politics has no limits. Former Mrs. World and UNP parliamentarian Rosy Senanayake is lkely to be appointed Mayor of Colombo in the next few weeks. She is currently attached to the Prime Minister's Office as an advisor. A former Mrs. World, Rosy Senanayake has worked tirelessly for the UNP for over two decades. She was elected to parliament earlier but lost out at last yearès general election due to the proportional system prevalent in Sri Lanka today. Political analysts claim that this is a good move as the mayoral aspirant is known to be a committed worker and her leadership will be good for the largest and most vibrant city in the island.

Her professional life has been devoted to promoting Sri Lanka, and particularly Sri Lankan trade, to the world. She works for the rights of women and adolescents in her country, and as a United Nations Population Fund Goodwill Ambassador she has, through the National Youth Services Council, promoted reproductive health services for young people and for migrant women workers in Sri Lanka's Free Trade Zone. Senanayake has worked with the private sector to provide reproductive health services to employees of private companies in Sri Lanka, and recently starred in a film about reproductive health. Through her popular daytime television program 'Eliya' she has become an icon for women's and children's causes in Sri Lanka.

We will be reporting further on this news item.

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V. Muralidharan a.k.a. Karuna Amman dropped from UPFA National List

Posted on 16 July 2015 by admin

Karuna upset – dumped from UPFA national list – By Anuradha Herath – Courtesy: Ceylon Today.


The leaders of the UPFA promised Vinayagamoorthy Muralidharan a.k.a. Karuna Amman that he will be given a National List seat, Muralidharan said.


"Both Susil Premajayantha and Anura Priyadharshana Yapa confirmed that I would be given an … opportunity to enter Parliament via the national list, but in the end the non inclusion of my name is something most regrettable," Karuna Amman pointed out.


Under these circumstances, he must take a decision in this regard, Karuna Amman told Ceylon Today.
During the crucial phase of the war, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Lakshman Hulugalla met him and requested him to help the government. At that moment he took a most perilous decision on behalf of the country, owing to which he had to even face criticism from certain sections of Tamils.


Karuna Amman went on to elaborate that he induced 600 Tamils cadres of the East to turn against LTTE, and among them 300 died during the war. Now he has to shoulder all those responsibilities, the former MP noted.


"I must say first and foremost that I am not happy with the present political climate. Both Susil Premajayantha, the UPFA General Secretary and Anura Priyadharshana, the SLFP General Secretary promised me that I could contest at the forthcoming elections," he said.

 

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Nominations denied for Duminda, Sajin, Mervyn and Sarana

Posted on 13 July 2015 by admin

General Secretary, United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) confirmed that nominations were not given by the party to Duminda Silva, Mervyn Silva, Sajin Vaas Gunawardana and Sarana Gunawardana. The first three named here were prominent but controversial figures in the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa Government. All four were close allies of Mr. Rajapaksa. Public opinion weighed heavily against all four politicos abd this was the primary reason for nominations been denied to them.

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Rainbow coalition re-groups to fight Sri Lanka elections under one banner

Posted on 13 July 2015 by admin

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By Dharisha Bastians – Courtesy: Daily FT (Financial Times).

The threat of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s political re-emergence has unified the fractured rainbow coalition that swept President Maithripala Sirisena to victory on 8 January, with several parties signing agreements yesterday to contest parliamentary elections under a single banner. The United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) was inaugurated at Temple Trees yesterday, with several parties that backed the Sirisena ‘common candidacy’ in January regrouping to contest against the UPFA.

Twenty-four hours ahead of the close of nominations for the 17 August poll, President Sirisena’s bid to consolidate his position within the SLFP appeared to have failed and the defeated President Rajapaksa is likely to be the de facto leader and presumptive premier of the UPFA. During their 160 days in Government, the election alliance showed signs of cracking with SLFP members and the JHU, which backed President Sirisena, strongly critical of the UNP. With the rainbow coalition rebanding, the 8 January battle lines have been drawn again, with Rajapaksa likely to canvass hard on a nationalist platform, while the alliance pledges good governance and reconciliation between communities in the island.

Prime Minister and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and SLFP dissidents Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne sign the agreement along with Minister Arjuna Ranatunga and M.K.D.S. Gunewardane at Temple Trees yesterday.

“We were to contest separately, but on the road to good governance, obstacles get in the way. Mahinda Rajapaksa and his forces of corruption and division are trying to stage a counter revolution,” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said after formal agreements were signed between the parties at his official residence yesterday. Wickremesinghe said to combat the threat from the former President and the regressive forces supporting his attempt to regain power, the political movement that defeated him in January had to regroup. “Together let us sweep the Rajapaksa regime into the dustbin of history,” the Prime Minister charged.

Since political parties could not be registered after the election is declared, the UNFGG will only be registered with a new symbol post-poll. “For now it will be a political movement, contesting under the elephant symbol,” Wickremesinghe explained. The Premier assured however that parties would be able to assert their own identities even in the new Parliament that is elected on 17 August. “There will be a leadership council formed to take consensual decisions and to protect the individual identities of parties in this alliance,” Wickremesinghe explained.

JHU General Secretary and Minister of Power and Energy, Patali Champika Ranawaka, who addressed the gathering after the agreements were signed, said the Sri Lankan people were not willing to go backwards and into the dark ages that preceded the electoral revolution of 8 January. “A huge investment is being made as we speak to push this country back into the darkness, to restore family rule and corrupt politics,” Ranawaka said. Under the circumstances, the JHU strongman said it was no longer possible to remain in an alliance with the UPFA or contest under its banner. Ranawaka said the JHU hoped the new Parliament would ensure the abolishment of the preferential system, a new constitution and corruption-free politics.

SLFP dissident and Minister of Health, Rajitha Senaratne, hailed UNP Leader Wickremesinghe for committing himself so wholeheartedly to the election of the General Secretary of the SLFP as president of Sri Lanka. “These two parties have a historic rivalry and they have always been at loggerheads. But the UNP Leader made that sacrifice in January and decided to wage a battle of ideas instead of playing partisan politics,” Senaratne said. “We begged that corrupt individuals should not be included in the UPFA nominations list. But our appeals fell on deaf ears. How can we contest alongside them? How can we go before the people and ask them for a vote?” Senaratne echoed the fears of SLFP members who must now contest with a majority of Rajapaksa loyalists on the ticket. ‘Victory assured’ Minister Senaratne said that the 49 political and civil movements that had backed the January 8 movement for change were regrouping now, including Sobitha Thero’s National Movement for a Just Society, trade union collectives and civil society organisations. “Now our victory is assured,” Senaratne said, confidently, “even the forces of nature are with us.”

SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem said that the UNP had been a main force behind the 8 January victory and the movement was realigning itself behind the party once more. “The rainbow alliance comes back together today, united for good governance,” Hakeem said. UNP Leader and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe, SLFP dissidents and presidential loyalists, Rajitha Senaratne, Arjuna Ranatunga, M.K.D.S. Gunewardane and Earl Gunesekera signed a Memorandum of Understanding at Temple Trees yesterday to contest under the UNP’s elephant symbol.

JHU Chairman Athuraliye Rathana Thero also signed a similar MoU with the UNP to contest the polls under the same banner. Ranatunga will contest on the UNP ticket from the Gampaha District, while Senaratne will contest in the Kalutara District. Ranawaka will contest on the UNP list from Colombo. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the All Ceylon Muslim Congress led by Rishad Bathiudeen and Mano Ganeshan’s Tamil Progressive Alliance will also contest under the UNFGG at the poll.

All the speakers at yesterday’s signing ceremony stopped short of criticising President Sirisena who still functions as the chairman of the UPFA and the SLFP. UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim told Daily FT that the UNP nominations list was delayed to accommodate the crossovers, after a series of agreements were signed between the party and the separate groups. Hashim said the UNP would send its lists to the district by Sunday night after they were finalised by evening. –

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Hirunika Premachandra to contest under ‘elephant’ symbol

Posted on 11 July 2015 by admin

 

 

UPFA Western Provincial Council member Hirunika Premachandra has reportedly signed nominations to contest the upcoming parliamentary election from the United National Front for Good Governance, the UNP-led political alliance.

She will contest the General Election under the “elephant” symbol from the Colombo Electoral District.

The United National Front for Good Governance today received approval at the UNP’s special convention held in Colombo.

Several other prominent figures in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), who had not signed UPFA nominations, such as Ministers Rajitha Senaratna and Arjuna Ranatunga are expected to contest as the United National Front for Good Governance.

Several other parties including the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) as well as a number of civil society group are expected to join the new alliance.

 

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Speculation that Karu Paranawithana will be UNP candidate for Rarnapura District

Posted on 10 July 2015 by admin

The United National Party and the Jathika Hela Urumaya have invited Karunaratne Paranavithana to contest for the Rathnapura district from their parties at the forthcoming General election, reports say. Although he had initially planned to contest from the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) ticket, Mr. Paranavithana had changed his mind as a mark of protest against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa being granted nominations from the party. Mr. Paranavithana, who is said to be one of the most trusted aides of President Maithripala Sirisena, is currently the secretary of the Media Ministry. Earlier, the President had tasked Mr. Paranavithana with the political measures that should be taken in Rathnapura district against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa if the latter decided to contest from the district from a different front after being denied UPFA nominations.

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Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest Kurunegala on UPFA ticket

Posted on 08 July 2015 by admin

Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) member and former Parliament opposition leader Nimal Siripala de Silva today confirmed that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be contesting the Parliament elections from Kurunegala. Nimal Siripala de Silva said that several United National Party (UNP) members have been asking him if Rajapaksa will contest the election. He says he told the UNP members that Rajapaksa will contest from Kurunegala and that he will contest under the UPFA. Kurunegala has traditionally been a SLFP seat from 1947 when H. Sri Nissanka won the first parliamentary seat under this banner. Then was D.B.Monnekulama when UNP Stalwart D.B. Welagedera held the seat winning many elections.

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President Maithripala Sirisena appoints New Cabinet of Ministers on January 12, 2015.

Posted on 12 January 2015 by admin

President Maithripala Sirisena appointed 27 Cabinet Ministers, 10 State Ministers and 08 Deputy Ministers at a ceremony held at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo. Information obtained from the Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka.

They were sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena.

Cabinet Ministers

1.Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe – Minister of Economic Development & Policy Implementation
2.Ravi Karunanayake – Minister of Finance
3.Joseph Michael Perera – Minister of Home Affairs
4.John Amaratunga – Minister of Public Order, Disaster Management
5.Duminda Dissanayake – Minister of Irrigation
6.Dr. Rajitha Senaratna – Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine
7.Kabir Hashim – Minister of Highways and Investment Promotion
8.Sajith Premadasa – Minister of Housing and Samurdhi
9.Naveen Dissanayake – Minister of Tourism
10.Wijedasa Rajapaksa – Minister of Justice
11.Arjuna Ranatunga – Minister of Ports and Shipping
12.Patali Champika Ranawaka – Minister of Power and Energy
13.Rishad Bathiudeen – Minister of Industry and Commerce
14.Gayantha Karunathilake – Minister of Mass Media
15.Palani Diganbaram – Minister of Plantation Infrastructure Development
16.Akila Viraj Kariyawasam – Minister of Education
17.D.M. Swaminadan – Minister of Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Affairs
18.Rauff Hakeem – Minister of Urban Development, Water Supply and Drainage
19.Ms.Thalatha Athukorala – Minister of Foreign Employment
20.Ranjith Madduma Bandara – Minister of Internal Transport
21.P. Harrison – Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare
22.M.K.D.S. Gunawardena – Minister of Land
23.Ms.Chandrani Bandara – Minister of Women’s Affairs
24.Karu Jayasuriya – Minister of Buddha Sasana
25.Lakshman Kiriella – Minister of Plantation
26.Mangala Samaraweera – Minister of Foreign Affairs
27.Gamini Jayawickrama Perera – Minister of Food Security

Ministers of State

1.Nandimithra Ekanayake- Culture and the Arts
2.V. Radhakrishnan- Education
3.Faizer Mustapha- Aviation
4.Palitha Range Bandara- Power and Energy
5.Dilip Wedaarachchi- Fisheries
6.Ms.Bernadeen Rose Senanayake- Children’s Affairs
7.Rajiva Wijesinghe- Higher Education
8.Ruwan Wijewardene- Defence
9.K. Velayudhan- Plantation Industries
10.Niroshan Perera – Youth Affairs

Deputy Ministers

1.Champika Premadasa- Industry and Commerce
2.Harsha de Silva- Policy Development & Economic Affairs
3.Eran Wickramaratne- Highways and Investment Promotion
4.Sujeewa Senasinghe – Justice
5.Wasantha Senanayake- Tourism
6.Ms.Vijayakala Maheswaran- Women’s Affairs
7.Ajith P. Perera- Foreign Affairs
8.Anoma Gamage- Irrigation

(KH)

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Long trek from Polonnaruwa to the Executive Presidency of Sri Lanka – but Maithripala Sirisena made it happen

Posted on 10 January 2015 by admin

Born to parents who came from Ganemulla in Siyane Koralayala to Luxauyana farming community in Polonnaruwa, Maithripala Sirisena grew to be a clever and smart person with every passing day in his life. The destiny made him to be born few hours after the official inception of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party – on the 5th of September, 1951. Maithripala Sirisena who was elected as the President of Sri Lanka on January 8 – the birthday of the founder leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, is the first president who hails from ancient Anuradhapura Kingdom after the era of Sri Lankan kings.

His father was an army official and his mother was a teacher. Maithri’s father came to Polonnaruwa with his family members since he was given land under the scheme of granting farming land to retired army officials by the then D. S. Senanayake government.

A bright student of Polonnaruwa Thopa Vidyalaya, Maithri later attended Polonnaruwa Royal College. During this time he paid great attention to political and social development in the country and this inherited curiosity developed due to his close relationship with the leader of Sri Lanka Communist Party (Chinese faction) Sanmugadasan. The prefect of the school Maithri who has inherited socialistic perspective and natural leadership qualities joined the youth movement of the Sri Lankan Freedom party when he was just 17 years of age on the invitation of SLFP MP Leelarathna Wijesinghe.

During the 1971 youth insurrection, he was arrested and jailed in Batticaloa Prison since he has shown great leadership qualities in democratic and social activities during his school days in this dark era of the nation. He entered active politics via the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Youth Wing led by Anura Bandaranaike. He was employed at several state and semi-state institutions in his youth and later became a fulltime SLFP activist in 1978.

In 1981, Anura Bandaranaike held chairmanship of the SLFP Youth Wing and Basil Rajapaksa was its secretary while Maithirpala was the treasurer. During the presidential election in 1982, Basil Rajapaksa joined the United National Party. Due to this reason, Maithripala shouldered the responsibilities of secretary loosing his opportunity to be the SLFP organiser in the Polonnaruwa District.

Elected to Parliament

He was elected to the parliament in 1989 from Polonnaruwa District and became the Deputy Minister Of Irrigation of the coalition government in 1994. With the reshuffle of the first cabinet of 1997 government, he was appointed the Mahaweli Development Minister.

From then onward Maithripala shouldered many responsibilities in his political life. He became the SLFP Deputy Secretary in 1997 and in 2001 he was appointed the general secretary of the party. While being the general secretary of the party for 14 years, he held several cabinet portfolios providing revolutionary and innovative leaderships for them.

This people’s leader who truly recognised the heartbeat of the common man introduced to the motherland many innovative agricultural projects by combining conventional and modern knowledge when he was the Mahaweli Development Minister. He initiated many concessionary grants to improve the standard of the farming community. Maithri also initiated important irrigation projects such as Moragahakanda, Kalu and Walawe Rivers.

The manifesto proposal of granting 50kg fertiliser bag for Rs. 350 became a reality due to the consistent effort taken by Maithri in this regard.

He was vehemently against the act brought to the parliament by D. M. Jayarathne –the then agriculture minister- to close the Paddy Marketing Board which was defunct at that time. He converted Paddy Marketing Board into a government institution when he became the Agriculture Minister of the 2005 government. Even now the granteed price for paddy is given via the resurrected Paddy Marketing Board by Maithripala Sirisena.

Api wavamu, rata nagamu

Maithripala Sirisena was the father of the concept of Api Wawamu, Rata Nagamu (let’s grow and improve the country) which was initiated to improve local food production on national level. It became a true scheme to make the farmer the king. Under this scheme Vap Maguls (Festival of Tilling) were conducted every year in each divisional secretariat and more than 10 lakhs of abandoned paddy fields were re-cultivated under the programme. Even some coalition partners of the government envied this programme since it became a huge success at that time.

His service for the country when he was the health minister during 2010 to 2014 is unmatched. He carried out a lone struggle to redress the nation from Cigarettes and Alcohol. World Health Organisation and Howard University appreciated his grand service in this regard in 2013.

The Cigarette and Alcohol act brought to the parliament by Maithripala Sirisena made waves in the country in the recent past. The act has recommended tocover 80 percent of a packet of cigarettes with pictorials that depict the danger of smoking. However, it is an open secret now that it was reduced to 60 percent due to the pressure of the invisible hands in the government itself.

Even though Maithripala Sirisena ardently needed to regulate Senka Bibile Drug Policy, pharmaceutical companies and government mafia in this field prevent it from becoming a reality. It was bad luck for the nation that the legal drafts of the act were lost in the Sri Lankan Department of Legal Draftsman.

In an interview with The Sunday Leader Mr. Sirisena noted that he stood committed to the implementation of the drug policy.

‘I would have easily taken money from mega drug companies and prevented the national drug policy from getting cabinet approval. With all the death threats I had from these drug companies, I still went ahead to introduce this policy in the country. But I was prevented to implement the drug policy in the country. I went to courts for two and a half years to obtain the order to put a picture in the cigarette packet to show the consequences of smoking. This too was prevented,’ he added.

He assured that ‘will amend the Bribery Act and will give all powers to the Bribery Commission to take action against the corrupted, in response to the corruption charges leveled against politicians.

‘I am a straight forward politician who has never been involved in any corruption or misuse of power. I have held many important ministries and have showed how to walk out from each ministry with clean hands. That was why the common opposition chose me as the Presidential candidate. If I am a corrupt politician no one in the common opposition will allow me to contest as the common opposition candidate.

‘I am going to abolish the executive powers of the president. I will ensure that law and order will prevail in the country as independent commissions will be appointed and when there are no executive powers with the President how can he interfere with the judiciary and police?,’ he said.

Addressing issues of the economy, Mr. Sirisena stressed that he will ‘strengthen the national economy by opening local industries and mega projects. Over the past ten years not a single local industry or mega projects that benefits the national economy was started. Once these projects are introduced, jobs will be generated and people will have money and have the spending capacity.

‘As stated in my election manifesto, people will get the benefit of a corruption free government within 100 days. That does not mean that it will take 100 days for the people to get the benefit of eradication corruption but will do it sooner than later as I want to see the people who have suffered economically all these years to know how much benefits they will get when the government is not corrupted. I want to see smiles on the face of each citizen of this country. I will not allow them to suffer anymore.’

He assured that prices of ten essential commodities including, sugar, dhal, milk powder etc. will be brought down immediately.

‘I will also bring down the prices of diesel, petrol and kerosene. By increasing taxes on fuel, the present government collected Rs.40,000 million annually. What has happened to this money? Even the poor motorcyclist has to pay this exorbitant tax. How unfair it is. By reducing the prices of fuel, prices of essential commodities will further come down sharply, he added.

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Senior SLAS Officer P.B.Abeykoon is Secy. to President

Posted on 10 January 2015 by admin

Senior SLAS officer and former Public Administration Ministry Secretary P.B. Abeykoon assumed duties as the Secretary to new president Maithripala Sirisena, today.

Abeykoon joined the Sri Lanka Administrative Service in 1982 and started his career as an Assistant Government Agent, at Gomarankadawela (Trincomalee District). Then he moved to the Department of Immigration & Emigration and worked as an Assistant Controller and later Deputy Controller. Subsequently he was appointed as the Deputy Director, Combined Services Department, Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs where he served till 2000.

From 2004 to 2005 he functioned as the Commissioner General, Department of Registration of Persons, Colombo and from 2005 to 2010 as the Controller General, Department of Immigration & Emigration. As Controller General.

He has a Special Degree in Economics from University of Kelaniya in 1980 and a Diploma in Agriculture from the School of Agriculture, Kundasale in 1981 & his Masters in Development Management (MOM) from the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Manila,the Philippines in 1995. He is an Attorney in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.

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