Presidential candidate of the Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peramuna, Gotabaya Rajapaksa said, at a media briefing today that everyone must focus on the future, rather than dwelling in the past.
The media briefing which took place at the Shangrila in Colombo was attended by the Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa. Mahinda Amaraweera representing the SLFP and several other politicians supporting the SLPP attended the event.
Journalists questioned whether the SLPP has moved forward with the TNA, and Mahinda Rajapaksa stated that they would have discussions with all the parties if they intend to. However, he added that there was no invitation by the SLPP or TNA had been extended yet.
Mahinda Rajapaksa responding to the journalists noted that after the new government the prime minister would also change.
When questioned about the outstanding debt load Mahinda Rajapaksa stated that paying debts was nothing new to them as they shouldered a huge debt load when they assumed the government in 2005.
He went on to note that during his tenure he was able to develop the country while paying the debts, proving that they are perfectly capable of handling a debt crisis.
Journalist: Former minister Basil Rajapaksa had told The Hindu Newspapers, no matter who becomes President, the head of the government will be the former president. Do you maintain the same stance?
Mahinda Rajapaksa responded that they would split into two, and the constitution dictates that the prime minister is the head of the government.
Mahinda Rajapaksa stated that several issues arose following the 19th amendment, but it would affect them.
Journalist: So who should we identify as the head of this country? Is it the President or the Prime Minister?
Mahinda Amaraweera stepped up and stated that as per the constitution the head of Sri Lanka is the President.
A journalist posed that during a previous media briefing with the government yesterday, an individual stated that if they raise questions boldly like that with Gotabaya Rajapaksa they would be abducted with white vans.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa stated that the white van culture was not something he has used, those who make bold remarks regarding the white van culture has forgotten about the white lorries in the 80s.
Journalist: Will you give us assurance, that we do not have to hesitate and will be able to raise any question?
Both Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa stated that they would.