Sri Lankan presidential candidate: National security top priority

COLOMBO (The Island/ANN) - SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa admits need to rectify past mistakes and strive to achieve long-term goals. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa introduced his brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the presidential candidate.

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) 2019 presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, yesterday, acknowledged the need to rectify the previous administration’s mistakes and strive to achieve long-term goals.
Assuring that the SLPP and its partners would work together to achieve a common goal instead of personal aspirations, Gotabaya Rajapaksa called for countrywide support from all communities at the presidential election, which, he said, would be decisive for the country’s future.
The SLPP presidential candidate said so at the inaugural convention of the SLPP at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium.
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa introduced Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the presidential candidate the country had asked for.
The former President told a cheering crowd that the country had asked for a person who could provide a new vision.
Mahinda Rajapaksa reminded the gathering how those in power had deprived him of the opportunity to seek another presidential term, through constitutional means, and even sought to arrest him.
The ex-President stressed that for Gotabaya Rajapaksa, too, the country will come first.
Referring to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s criticism of SLPP strategist Basil Rajapaksa’s recent statement that the country needed a terminator, Mahinda Rajapaksa said that there was a pressing need for a terminator to eradicate poverty, corruption, fraud and the narcotics menace.
At the onset of the event, SLPP Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris proposed Mahinda Rajapaksa as the leader of the SLPP on the basis of the outcome of the last Local Government polls in Feb 2018. As the crowd cheered, Prof. Peiris, SLPP Secretary attorney-at-law Sagara Kariyawasam and Mahinda Rajapaksa came on stage, where the twice President accepted the party leadership.
In his address, the former President said that the country needed a person with the vision for 2030.
Having thanked former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for choosing him as the presidential candidate, Gotabaya Rajapaksa thanked the clergy, the constituent parties of the Joint Opposition, the civil society and the media for the support extended to him.
Gotabaya assured that he had the strength and the will to face any challenge as he had done in the past.
Recalling his two decades long military career as well as his decade long tenure as the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Gotabaya declared that he wouldn’t go beyond accepted norms but would fulfil obligations.
Gotabaya recalled a letter of commendation received 35 years ago from the then senior most military officer Gen. Cyril Ranatunga referring to him as ‘an officer who takes initiative over and above the normal call of duty.’
The ex-infantry officer said that he had been able to provide strategic guidance and administrative support to wartime President Mahinda Rajapaksa as he always acted out of principle which earned him Gen. Ranatunga’s praise.
He also recalled his role as the Secretary to the Ministry of Urban Development following the conclusion of the war.
The Rajapaksa administration brought the war to a successful conclusion in May 2009.
The SLPP presidential candidate gave an undertaking never to betray the country to external forces under any circumstances.
Referring to the Easter Sunday attacks, the former Defence Secretary assured that security would be restored under his leadership. The restoration of security would be his administration’s top priority, he said.
Vowing that he wouldn’t allow extremism to take root, Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that swift action would be taken to address the grievances of those living in the Northern and Eastern regions.
Mahinda Rajapaksa paid a tribute to the lawmakers who had refused to join the government.

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