National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) Chairman and former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday stressed that all political forces must unite to save the country from impending disaster.
In a statement, he said less than two months have passed since President Gotabaya Rajapaksa addressed the nation and made an important pledge to the country’s people. However, it is now evident through the current conduct being exhibited that this pledge made before the country will not become a reality.
This has been made all the more clear due to the striking difference between the reforms expected by the Government through the proposed 22nd Amendment to the Constitution and the socio-political and economic reforms demanded by the civil society and political parties in this country.
Therefore, the NMSJ called upon the President to honour the pledge he made on 11 May 2022 and take immediate steps to ensure it comes to fruition. “Further to this, we would like to inform the President that as a responsible organisation we are currently unable to place our confidence in the process due to the significant gap between the Government’s stated objective and the general expectations of the country in relation to the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution,” Jayasuriya said.
He said NMSJ, as an organisation that truly believes in its responsibility to stand for the future welfare of this country, will not give up its expectations for the necessary political, economic and social reforms in Sri Lanka and the measures to be taken to ensure it.
“To this end we call on all parties, their leaders and civil society movements to stand together to ensure the reinforcement of the core content relating to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution,” he said.
Jayasuriya stressed there is urgent need to address the severe political and economic crisis that has now arisen in the country. “We would like to warn all political forces in the country of the possible dangerous and tragic situation that may arise if the country is not guided down a path of immediate and practical political change,” NMSJ Chairman said.
He stressed that if the political parties representing the Government, the Parliament of this country and their leaders fail to realise this responsibility and fulfil it immediately, the country may fall into a further abyss and they must then bear its responsibility.
Accordingly, we emphatically request all political parties and public representatives in Parliament to immediately form an all−party Government in a way that can gain the trust of the local and international communities in order to provide basic solutions to the economic crisis facing the people and to ensure the future well-being of the country.
“We would like to express our consensus with the proposals put forward by Reverend Mahanayakes on two occasions. We also request that the process be based on the proposals made by a number of professional organisations including the Bar Association of Sri Lanka and civil society organisations in the country,” Jayasuriya said.
According to him, the term of the all-party Government formed must be limited to a short period of either 12 or 18 months. Its main objective should be to find a short-term solution to the severe economic crisis the country is facing based on the trust and support of the international community, while its secondary objective should be to take basic steps for the political reforms that must be implemented for the well-being of the country.
Only such a specific and limited responsibility should be handed over to the all-party Government and the end result should be to hold a parliamentary general election within a year or a year and a half thereby providing an opportunity for the country to form a stable new Government.
He stressed the need for all-party Government to call a referendum, if necessary, at the same time as the general election, after obtaining the proper approval of the Parliament. For this reformation process, a delegation consisting of all the political parties representing the Parliament of this country and representatives of the civil society movement should be appointed and a clear agreement should be reached with the President without delay. The said agreement should be reached by 10 days or earlier.
“Therefore, we request all the political parties of this country to intervene in this matter urgently with great interest in order to save the country and its people from the impending disaster that may befall us. We also kindly request the Maha Sangha led by venerable Mahanayake Theros, Catholic, Christian, Hindu and Islamic religious leaders as well as civil and political movements of the country to come forward to provide the necessary guidance and blessings for this crucial process,” Jayasuriya added.