President Maithripala Sirisena said the government has fulfilled the mandate given by the people in large measure to the satisfaction of the people and the policy of good governance would be continued in the coming years.
“When I meet people they say that they are pleased with the performances of the government, they feel they had not wasted their votes and that I have performed my duty by the voters,” he said addressing media heads and editors today (May 20) at the President’s House in Colombo.
“Our next agenda is the dissolution of the Parliament after the Constitutional Council is established and the 20th amendment is adopted. It is now for Parliament to decided on the 20th Amendment on the new electoral system. Everybody in Parliament wants to change the current system of preferential votes. But most of them also want to have the next election under the old system. The Parliament will decide on that later this week,” President said.
He said that the new Parliament will be constituted by September. Once this Parliament is dissolved, the nominations will be called after two weeks and the general election would be held in five to seven weeks later, in keeping with the law, as decided by the Commissioner of Elections.
President Sirisena said the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, of which he is the Chairman, will appoint a Nominations Board later this week to call for applications for candidacy and then the SLFP Central Committee will take the final decision on the candidates.
The SLFP will give nominations only to those who are not seen as perpetrators of corruption and fraud, which is a responsibility of all parties. I expect other parties also to adopt a similar policy, he said.
The President said an internal mechanism to investigate allegations of human rights violations during the conflict will be set up next month, and by September some progress of the investigations would be expected. “If they find any evidence of violations of human rights, those responsible for such violations will be dealt with under the laws of the country,” he said.
When asked about settlements in Wilpattu forest reserve, President Sirisena said the displaced should not be resettled in reserved areas. The problem was caused by a Task Force appointed by Mr Basil Rajapaksa during the last regime, which had allocated those lands for resettlement in violation of the laws governing forest reserves and state lands.
The government is committed to protecting the forest reserves and the humanitarian aspect of settling displaced people. They could be provided land elsewhere, he said.