Inside Story About Maithripala Sirisena Defeating Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2015 Revealed in Book by Malith Jayathilake
Posted on December 29th, 2016

By Vijith Samarasinghe

28 December 2016, 2:00 am

November 21 marked the second anniversary of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s defection from former President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government to contest the January 2015 presidential election as the opposition’s common candidate.” Sirisena, who was Rajapakse’s health minister and secretary of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), defeated the incumbent and formed a coalition government with the United National Party (UNP), appointing its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister.

The mainstream media and pseudo-left groups hailed Sirisena’s election victory as a democratic revolution.” Only the World Socialist Web Site and Socialist Equality Party explained that Sirisena’s cross-over was part of a reactionary regime-change operation orchestrated by Washington against Rajapakse’s pro-China tilt.

A recent book by a SLFP parliamentarian, Malith Jayathilake, titled The January 8th Revolution: As I Have Seen It”, contains some inside information on how leading figures in Sri Lanka’s ruling elite conspired to oust Rajapakse.

Jayathilake was a former advisor for Rajapakse’s ruling cabal, but later became Sirisena’s election propagandist.

While the book was written to glorify Sirisena and others who backed him, it confirms aspects of the WSWS’s detailed analysis of the regime-change operation. Jayathilake deliberately avoids mentioning Washington’s intervention. Sirisena, Wickremesinghe and their cohorts fear that revealing US imperialism’s connection to their installation would be politically suicidal.

Jayathilake portrays former President Chandrika Kumaratunga as the chief actor in Sirisena’s defection from Rajapakse. Her central role, however, was principally determined by her US connections, highlighted by the WSWS. After her presidency ended in 2005, Kumaratunga joined the Clinton Foundation of former US President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Clinton, who became secretary of state during the Obama administration’s first term.

Under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the US instigated its pivot” to Asia to isolate and militarily encircle China and to undermine Beijing’s influence in the region. In her efforts to align countries in the region behind Washington, Clinton bullied the Rajapakse government to distance itself from China. After attempts to pressure Rajapakse over Sri Lankan war crimes failed, Washington systematically worked toward regime change. Former US ambassador in Colombo, Michele Sison coordinated these activities, having connections with Kumaratunga, Wickremesinghe and middle-class groups such as the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ).

The book reveals that Kumaratunga began tapping Sirisena as a possible presidential candidate in 2013, sending feelers to see his views. According to the book, Sirisena initially replied: I cannot agree to this [proposal].”

Kumaratunga started to exploit discontent within the SLFP against Rajapakse and his cabal, who had concentrated political power in their hands and marginalised senior party figures. Rifts within the SLFP were such that several MPs wanted Kumaratunga to become a common opposition” candidate to defeat Rajapakse.

Kumaratunga told her close circle she would not contest a presidential election, giving various reasons. The book covers up the real political reason for her reluctance. Kumaratunga was well aware that she ended her presidential term thoroughly discredited because of her government’s attacks on living conditions and democratic rights and its resumption of the communal war against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Kumaratunga continued her intrigues, sending emissaries to Sirisena. According to Jayathilake’s book, Kumaratunga established direct contact with Sirisena by June 2014, on the pretext of discussing problems with a hospital established in her late husband Vijaya Kumaratunga’s name. She also used the Viber messaging system to contact Sirisena and others. Facing the intrigues of his political opponents, Rajapakse set up phone-tapping equipment to seek information on the plotting.

In July 2014, Rajapakse indicated he was planning to call an early election. The book explains that Kumaratunga intensified her efforts. She advised her personal friend and current MP JayampathyWickramaratne and her chief of staff P. Dissanayake to start secret negotiations for Sirisena’s defection.

Kumaratunga and UNP leader Wickremesinghe had already started talks to coordinate efforts to oust Rajapakse. Her aim was to enlist a section of the SLFP and get the support of the UNP leader to field Sirisena as a common opposition candidate.

While agreeing to the proposal, Wickremesinghe was planning to contest the election himself. However, the view of prominent UNP leaders, including MangalaSamaraweera, Ravi Karunanayake and Malik Samarawickrama, and also Kumaratunga and those opposed to Rajapakse in his party, was that Wickremesinghe should not be the common candidate.

At a secret meeting held at her house on November 6, 2014, Kumaratunga told Wickremesinghe he could not become the candidate. One reason was the unwillingness of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) to support him. They think your image has collapsed,” she said.

Underscoring the capitalist elite’s communal considerations in selecting a candidate, Kumaratunga also pointed to the lack of confidence about Wickremesinghe among the Sinhala communal parties.

In this meeting, for the first time she revealed Sirisena’s intention to defect and reportedly told Wickremesinghe: If you agree, I’ll get him [Sirisena] to agree.” Wickremesinghe finally agreed to give way to Sirisena, just two weeks before the latter’s defection.

Kumaratunga had conducted talks with the TNA for a common candidate” since September 2014 without divulging Sirisena’s name. She conveyed the idea to TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran and he agreed. In October, in a discussion at her house, Kumaratunga told TNA leader R. Sambandan that Sirisena would be the candidate and he was enthused. The TNA, representing the Tamil capitalist elite, lined up with the regime-change plot.

As the WSWS explained in January 2015, the TNA’s decision to back Sirisena was not a last-minute decision. It was a carefully prepared move, fully endorsed by Washington and New Delhi. The main tactical calculation in delaying announcing the TNA’s support until late December was to avoid Rajapakse’s communalist accusations that Sirisena had caved in to Tamil parties.

For some time, Kumaratunga and Wickremesinghe held discussions with the Sinhala extremist Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), a partner in Rajapakse’s government, and the communalist opposition JanathaVimukthiPeramuna (JVP) to rally them behind their plot.

This account again demonstrates that there was not a grain of democracy” in presenting Sirisena as the common presidential candidate.” Everyone involved conspiratorially schemed behind closed doors in Colombo, monitored by Washington.

While a propaganda drive was drummed up against Rajapakse’s anti-democratic rule and corruption, nothing was said about Sirisena’s role as one of Rajapakse’s ministers or the autocratic methods of the UNP while in power.

Professors and pseudo-radicals initiated the NMSJ and Citizen’s Power campaign against Rajapakse’s corruption and nepotism.” Many of them had already lined up behind the bogus US human rights campaign against Rajapakse. When Sirisena’s candidacy was announced, they were jubilant.

This exercise was not limited to a presidential election. If the operation had failed to defeat Rajapakse in the election, it would have culminated in a Washington-instigated colour revolution” to oust him.

Nearly two years of rule by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government have proved that this regime change was not conducted out of concerns for the democratic rights of workers and poor. The government’s major move has been to deepen political and military ties with the US.

As the WSWS and the SEP warned, this government—which came to power under the false banner of good governance” – has imposed savage austerity measures, deepened the attacks on workers and democratic rights, and steadily dragged Sri Lanka into the maelstrom of US war preparations in the Indian Ocean.

Courtesy:World Socialist Web Site

4 Responses to “Inside Story About Maithripala Sirisena Defeating Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2015 Revealed in Book by Malith Jayathilake”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    World Pseudo Socialists

    World Socialist only see – Rajapakse as Communalistic, JVP as Communalistic, Hela Urumaya as Sinhala Extremist, while failing to name the TNA as Racist and the Muslim parties as Jihadists.

    The rest is true that the whole exercise to oust the Rajapakse regime was plotted and executed through their proxies in Sri Lanka by the United States in collusion with Britain, France and Germany. It was the Regime Change think tanks in Washington under the guidance of the Clinton Foundation that orchestrated the traitorous gang – Cyclops Chandrika and the pseudo socialist cabal in Sri Lanka behind the coup. They managed to convince Ponil for a second time to agree to a ‘common candidate’. Role played by the Economic Migrant Tamils now called the Tamil Diaspora worked hand in hand with the Clinton Foundation.

    Sirisena the traitor thinks he came to power with 62 lakhs of votes. The Tamils or the Jihadist Muslims did not vote for him. They just voted for Hansaya the symbol pointed out to them by their leaders. Just as much as they voted for Sarath Fonseka this time around they voted for Sirisena, many of them hardly knew him as person. If their leaders asked these hapless creatures to vote for a “Pol Pitta” they would have done so.

    The Racist LTTE front the TNA and the Jihadist Muslims all fell in line to defeat the swollen headed and power intoxicated Mahinda Rajapakse. Mahinda Rajapakse would have gone into history as one of the great rulers of Sri Lanka if not for his sons, wife and hangers on who made him loose his bearings in guiding the ship of Sri Lanka. Due to his foolishness he lost his presidency. This is not to say he along with Gotabhaya did great things for Sri Lanka. In fact they did a lot, but lost the plot and failed to properly market the products of their labour – victory over terrorism and all the great infrastructure projects they undertook and completed.

    Sri Lanka is now mired in a seemingly unfathomable quagmire of problems – financial, political and communal!

    It is sad that still there is no major move by the Joint Opposition to make contact with the New Trump set up in the US. They should be made aware of the Regime Change plots of the Clinton Foundation and how Sri Lanka could be a friend of the new world order that will come into effect soon!

  2. Christie Says:

    Indian colonial parasites and the Indian imperialists are part and parcel of the Socialists here and in the world. They are very cunning and crafty in misleading and destroying targeted groups. The Sinhala Chauvinists as they call us are the untouchables for them.
    US may have played a small part in in the regime change due to the Indian influence in the US specially because of the Democrats.

    It is India who got Bandaranayake in 1951 and the same repeated with Sirisena in 2015.

  3. Sarath W Says:

    This is not news any more. We all know now who was behind the regime change. But not many of us know how much My3 was paid and how it was done and what plans were made for him in case he lost the elections. Now looking to the future, what we have to think is how can we change this government and how soon can we do it. I think this government cannot be defeated as long as the current election commissioner is in office. Every effort should be made to scrutinise his bank account in Singapore, how many millions is in that account and who transferred that money to that account etc. Someone in HSBC will be able to help.

  4. S.Gonsal Says:

    Thank you for posting this.
    Sinhala extremist Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), a partner in Rajapakse’s government, and the communalist opposition JanathaVimukthiPeramuna (JVP) proves the writer is an extremist.

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