“I am confident that more than 80 per cent of the people will agree on devolution of power, if a referendum were to be held today”, said President Kumaratunga in one her most assertive public addresses in recent times.
Speaking to a well-attended forum on International Women’s Day yesterday a confident President said the moment had come to bring peace to the country through the devolution of power, and added whoever stood against it, if the people wanted that solution, she would go for it.
She called on the people to set aside political differences and take the country towards prosperity by opting for decentralization of power. The consent of 51 per cent of the people was all that was required to go for such a solution in a democratic manner. “Opposition from a mere 15 to 20 per cent cannot stop us from achieving a lasting peace”, remarked the President.
The President said the two major political formations in the country were in agreement that the ethnic problem should be solved through the devolution of power. In an obvious reference to those opposed to decentralization of power Kumaratunga said "At the 2001 elections a third of the country's population voted for the two major parties. So we can easily solve this problem.” “Those who polled 15 to 20 per cent of the votes may have a bigger number in the Parliament. But they cannot oppose if the people of this country agree to solve this through devolution of power," stressed the President.
The President explained that the problem could not be solved through a war, "Neither the LTTE nor we can win a war, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the PA have always held this crisis should be solved through the devolution of power.’
The people who demanded the devolution of power turned towards a separate state because we could not respond to their demands in a justifiable manner," the President noted. The President said, “the limited number of people in the North and East supportive of Mr. Prabhakaran continue to remain with the LTTE because our Governments could not provide the basic needs of those people".
The President said that if the country can solve the problem through the devolution of power and solve the problems of the Tamils while safeguarding the rights of the Sinhalese and Muslims, no force could stop the country from reaching prosperity. In conclusion the President said, "The tidal waves taught us the lesson that we should unite and solve this problem through the devolution of power".
Contact Information: Send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments about this web site.