President Maithripala stresses collective effort to overcome challenges

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President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday told parliament that the last three years demonstrated the country is still lacking in political and social maturity needed to realise the objectives of a coalition government.

Making his policy statement lasting 35 minutes, at the inauguration of the new session of parliament, the President said the power struggle in government and in political parties in the last three years had driven people to despair.Even though consensus governance is adopted in many countries around the world, it is yet a foreign concept to Sri Lanka, President Sirisena observed.

He pointed out that the country is not in a situation to fall prey to power politics, but that it is in a position where a collective effort to overcome its challenges have become mandatory.“If we are to overcome the challenges faced by the country, the power struggle between the two main parties in the coalition government must cease. The competition for power between the Opposition and the ruling party must also cease. Any kind of power struggle will only cause the people despair,” President Sirisena pointed out.

He also said that the role of the Opposition as well as the approaches of the political allies in the coalition government should undergo change. In his statement, President Sirisena called for a social friendly, people oriented economy instead of crony capitalism. He also urged for a political vision that recognises the political heartbeat of the public. “This political vision should uphold our values, culture and our inheritance”, President Sirisena pointed out.

At the outset of his speech, the President briefed MPs on the key pieces of legislation and achievements recorded by the government in the last three years. He made these observations with reference to criticisms levelled against the efficiency of the government.

President Sirisena observed that 18 economic related Bills were passed during the last three years that mainly focus on managing the enormous debts heaped on the shoulders of the present government by the previous regime. The President noted that the public should not be exposed to the direct impact of these heavy debts and urged for the adoption of a strategic debt management approach.

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