Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today recalled that in 2003 when he was Prime Minister and Chandrika Kumaratunga was President, she chose her party before the country.
Wickremesinghe, who at the time was involved in peace talks with the LTTE following the signing of a cease fire agreement, said that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) which was led by Kumaratunga at the time, did not understand what the then UNP Government was attempting to do by negotiating with the LTTE.
The Prime Minister was speaking at a function held at the BMICH today to mark former President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s birthday.
Wickremesinghe said that in 2002-2003 he felt he could work with Kumaratunga on the National issue despite both of them being from two separate political parties. However that attempt failed.
“She had different reasons for the failure for us to work together back then and I have different reasons,” he said.
Wickremesinghe said that some members of the SLFP had, during that period, looked at short term gains and not the bigger picture and that some of them are still in the SLFP.
Kumaratunga, in 2004 dissolved Parliament and called for Parliament elections, which later saw the UNP lose power and the ceasefire agreement with the LTTE being cancelled.
The Prime Minister said that had the UNP been able to continue in power back then, the situation after that would have been different and lives lost following the resumption of war could have been saved.
Wickremesinghe said that despite the issues in the past, in 2013 the UNP agreed to work with Kumaratunga as they looked to remove the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government.
He said that after several rounds of talks with other political parties and civil society, everyone agreed last year to nominate Maithripala Sirisena as the Presidential candidate for the January elections this year. (Colombo Gazette)