Exactly three year ago, the people went to the polls to reaffirm the mandate given to the two major political forces in the country to work together. President Maithripala Sirisena who won the Presidential Election in January 2015 had already appointed UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister. The agreement between the two major political parties in the country following the 2015 August General Election is unparalleled in the country’s 70 years of post-independence politics.
This Government did have a 100 day programme which managed to accomplish many promises made during the election period. They thus urged the people to give them a bigger mandate on August 17, 2015.
The public did reaffirm their faith in this Government of Unity and Consensus, also known as the Yahapalana (Good Governance) Government. In essence, the new Government had pledged to reverse the dictatorial course of the former Rajapaksa Government and grant freedom to State institutions whose freedom had come under attack, save Sri Lanka from international isolation and develop the economy which had reached abysmal depths.
The Government soon after assuming office embarked on a process of accountability, restorative justice and reconciliation and repairing its damaged image internationally. As a result of these endeavours, Sri Lanka has now become a respected member of the International Community.
The Government has also largely succeeded in restoring public confidence in State institutions including the judiciary and the police. The key to this change was the 19th Amendment, which was one of the key pledges of the new Government. It set Presidential term limits, pruned certain powers of the Executive Presidency and restored the independence of Government institutions. The Government delivered on its core promises. The Independent Commissions were established, Right to Information Act came into effect, established an Office of Missing Persons etc.
The proposed new Constitution will enable Sri Lankans to project one identity under one nation. Development has not been forgotten.The Megapolis Initiative in the Western Province is a major project that will make an overall resurgence in the province. After a thorough review, the Port City project initiated by the former Government with Chinese funding has been totally transformed as a Financial City to attract more investors. The Government also announced a new economic policy that will augment the development process.
Recent initiatives such as the ‘Gamperaliya’ programme to develop villages and ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ loan scheme proposed in the 2018 budget to create entrepreneurs and boost domestic private investment has been much appreciated by the public.Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe speaking at a public function last week said the government has stabilised the economy and managed the country’s debt burden systematically. Also the government has pledged to establish 2,500 Uda Gammana villages by 2020 to address the housing needs of the people and the results so far show it is well on course to achieve it.
Also investigations and legal proceedings into acts of fraud and corruption alleged to have been committed by prominent members of the former regime have been accelerated and already some have been punished for their misdeeds.Three years is a relatively short time to make a proper assessment of a new government’s record in office. Usually, the first year is devoted to consolidating power while the second and third year is the time when it gets down to business in earnest.
Considering this, there is a lot to be happy with the turn of events and the changes wrought that has impacted positively on the citizenry. There can be no doubt that there is a discerning sense of freedom and an air of well being among the general public during the past three years.
The Yahapalanaya government in the short span of three years under President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has displayed the will to succeed. While settling the mountainous debt, left behind by the Rajapaksa administration, it has taken determined strides to rebuild the economy and also usher in prudent development that would bring beneficial returns to the countryThe President and Prime Minister have already declared that the next two years will usher in a development revolution in the country and the Yahapalanaya government is unshakable and would run its full course.