Presidential election 2019 Mangala: 2/3 of UNP group supportive of Premadasa … vows new govt will finalize MCC agreement
Posted on August 29th, 2019

By Shamindra Ferdinand Courtesy The Island

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, yesterday, said he saw nothing wrong in the conflict between two groups in the government over the presidential candidate to be named. He said so in response to a question, raised by The Island, at a hurriedly summoned press conference at the Finance Ministry.

Having compared the performance of the previous Rajapaksa administration (2005 Nov-2015 January) with the current dispensation, Samarawweera stressed that the economy was in a much better shape.

 Asked by The Island why a section of the party felt the need to promote Deputy Leader of the UNP Sajith Premadasa as its presidential candidate at a time the situation was improving further primarily thanks to two key projects-Gamperaliya and Enterprise Sri Lanka as

claimed by the Finance Minister, an irate Samaraweera alleged a section of the media had what he called a slave mentality. Minister Samaraweera said that they were used to living in a country run by dictatorial rulers.

 Having compared the internal battles for top leadership in political parties in the US and the UK with that of the situation in Sri Lanka, Minister Samaraweera said that there were several persons seeking nominations from the party to contest the presidential election. “There were no restrictions,” lawmaker Samaraweera said, describing the UNP as a modern democratic party.

The Minister said that discussion/disagreement among members of the UNP in this regard shouldn’t be considered a weakness under any circumstances.

Samaraweera declared that the country was now enjoying what he called seven-star democracy.

Responding to questions regarding UNP Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam demanding explanation from State Ministers, Sujeewa Senasinghe and Ajith P. Perera for throwing their weight behind Premadasa, Minister Samaraweera initially questioned the veracity of the reports to that effect. When the media said that they had copies of Kariyawasam’s letters sent to Senasinghe and Perera, Minister Samaraweera said that no single individual could decide on disciplinary action and would be the prerogative of the decision making Working Committee.

 The Matara District MP said that their party followed democratic principles and there weren’t slaves in the UNP.

 Referring to a recent media reports, Minister Samaraweera pointed out that even Minister Daya Gamage was ready to take the presidential challenge.

 When asked to reveal his position on those vying for nominations, Minister Samarawera declared Sajith Premadasa as the main contender on the basis that two-thirds of the UNP parliamentary group backed him (Premadasa)

 Both Finance Minister Samaraweera and State Minister Eran Wickremaratne dismissed a spate of media questions regarding deepening political instability and chaos in the run-up to 2019 presidential election. State Minister Wickremaratne said that the government would definitely complete its full term.

 Commenting on the progress in post-Easter Sunday recovery process, Minister Samaraweera said Sri Lanka had made much faster progress than some other countries affected by terrorist attacks.

 Asked to comment on critical US statement on the appointment of newly promoted Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva as the Commander of the Army Minister Samaraweera said that the UNF government was committed to assurances given to the international community as regards accountability issues.

 Samaraweera reiterated the UNP’s strong commitment to the signing of an agreement with the US government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) on a large scale five-year project meant to promote what the minister called inclusive economic growth.

 The Minister said that he was in touch with the MCC. Describing the US readiness to accommodate Sri Lanka in the MCC project as a unique victory for the country, Minister Samaraweera claimed that originally the agreement was to be finalized in early 2004 during Ranil Wickremesinghe tenure as the Premier.

 Claiming that following the change of government, the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa, too, had sought to finalize the MCC project, Minister Samaraweera said that the US had discontinued it in the wake extra judicial operations undertaken by that administration. Samaraweera acknowledged that he functioned as the foreign minister of that administration.

 Samaraweera said that under the direction of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe he had resumed talks with the US in that regard following the change of government in 2015 January.

 The move to finalise the MCC agreement on Dec 17, 2018 was disrupted due to the constitutional coup perpetrated in late Oct 2018. However by January 2019, the MCC project had been back on track, Minister Samaraweera said, acknowledging the absence of consensus between the UNP and President Maithripala Sirisena regarding the MCC compact.

 Declaring that Sri Lanka should enter into the agreement with the US worth USD 480 mn, Minister Samaraweera vowed that it would be finalized by the new UNP government.

5 Responses to “Presidential election 2019 Mangala: 2/3 of UNP group supportive of Premadasa … vows new govt will finalize MCC agreement”

  1. dhane Says:

    Do not vote for Sajith Premadasa if he contest for next Presidential Election under whichever the Party. Because Mangala Samaraweera is his biggest supporter and he will become a Minister to implement this agreement with USA government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) It looks Ranil had planted Mangala to sabotage Sajith popularity. Mangala is one of the most untrusted man like his farther Percy during Sirima Government.

  2. Dilrook Says:

    Obviously Mangala, Ranil, Basil and Gotabaya would sign MCC and SOFA. It is a given. The first two would sign it publicly with celebrations while the latter two will sign it in secret. Ultimtely the end result will be the same.

    Don’t forget Mangala was the campaign manager of Mahinda in 2005. It is a great misfortune of the nation that he is a very capable political strategist. Examples include the iconic 1993 SPC election, 1994 parliamentary and presidential elections, 2000 parliamentary election, 2004 parliamentary election, 2005 presidential election and 2015 presidential and parliamentary elections. Some of these are watershed elections won with extreme difficulty. Mangala was the most potent power behind these difficult wins. Love him or hate him, he has been able to do regime change and sustain regimes. It is a great misfortune.

    (I only look at the national interest totally devoid of party politics which ruined this nation.)

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    Neither Gota nor Basil will sign the MCC. The Buddhist clergy and most PATRIOTS are DEAD AGAINST it, and Gota, as President, will not BETRAY US!

  4. Dilrook Says:


    Your faith is misplaced. Trust yourself with Mother Lanka, not anyone else.

    I have provided free legal counsel to lawyers of some war heroes and I know what went inside when one of those names framed the STF, navy and the army in war crimes to the US State Department. Please read Wikileaks cables and learn facts. I must admit that the other was against it but he was silent! Let me tell you this. If ever our soldiers are to be framed for war crimes, I will represent them free of charge and affirm the assumption that all acts were done with the instructions from the very top as ours is a very disciplined military. The only escape is to maintain none of our soldiers did war crimes.

    As for the other, please inform yourself about the person who signed South Asia’s first military deal with USA in 2007.

    It is extremely difficult to protect Sri Lanka’s national interest from “patriots in bed with 13A, devolution, USA, etc.”. Far easier to defend the nation from terrorists.

    Signing MCC and SOFA will not be sold as betrayal of Sri Lanka. It will be packaged as “protecting Sri Lanka with US help”. Please listen to a learned supporter of one of those names defending ACSA 2007. He argued that thanks to ACSA USA helped us locate LTTE floating weapons warehouses! Nonsense! There is no such proviso in it. But I’m sure you believe it. Also believe it when the same people explain how great MCC and SOFA are to defend Sri Lanka and the version of MCC and SOFA signed by SLPP regime is different to the deals UNP planned to sign! (It does not matter to USA if it is UNP or SLPP. They will sign the same thing.)

  5. Randeniyage Says:

    When last 2007 one was signed, there were no charges of war crimes. Now, with the baggage attached, there is this risk of very secrete much more dangerous even worse than SOFA signed.
    Risk Analysis shall be carried out on every candidate. Gratefulness, love and compassion not considered in Risk Analysis. One can have his / her own love and liking to candidates , but when doing analysis should consider ALL FACTS, proven and NOTE proven and also how the candidates behave when charges are laid against them. Risk analysis also include mitigation of the dangers to reduce the risks of a preferred procedure.
    If we have our preferred option chosen, then we should apply the mitigating condition straightway to bring down the risks to acceptable level.
    At the moment we see tow main demands which should be MUST.
    1. Remove Palaath Sabha
    2. One law to all
    I would like to make another demand but this one is to supporters. DO NOT LOVE THEM. They are not you own mother. They don’t 4 divine abidings towards people of Sri lanka, It is proven fact beyond all reasonable doubt.

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