President Rajapaksa Presented his election manifesto today (Photo:Asian Tribune)
Rajapaksa echos opposition's pledges; promises to reform presidency
(NIDAHASA News) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today (23) promised to reform the presidential system, just one day after he lost two-third majority in parliament to do it.
Presenting his election manifesto in Colombo, Rajapaksa vowed to implement a new Constitution "to meet people's aspirations" within one year.
Ruling party lost two-third majority it had in the parliament during last four years after two more lawmakers crossed over to the opposition yesterday.
"I admit that there are flaws in the present Constitution with incompatible patchwork amendments," Rajapaksa said.
The incumbent's move is being seen as a response to increasing support for his main opponent Maithiripala Sirisena's campaign to reform the political system.Sirisena has already promised to abolish executive presidency within hundreds days should he win, a promise Rajapaksa failed to deliver since being elected to the office in 2005.
The incumbent also promised to allow a local probe into possible war crimes committed during civil war against Tamil separatists.
"If human rights were violated, I will establish a mechanism under the existing legal system to ensure justice in a transparent manner," the manifesto said.
"At this election, people should decide if they should go back to an era of destabilized society or go forward with strength and stability," said the president who seeks a mandate for an unprecedented third term, citing his massive development projects.
"Letís raise our country to developed status, secure the nation for our children," Rajapaksa pledged.
The 69 years old leader built a new harbor, new airport and a network of toll highways during his nine-year rule. But defectors from his own cabinet says those projects are highly corrupted, with some priced up to 2000% of benchmark price.
President also echoed many of the pledges already made by his challenger about good governance, media freedom and a new political culture.
Rajapaksa's manifesto was scheduled to release on yesterday (22), but his party announced that they are postponing it to 26th due to "unavoidable reasons." However they later decided to held it today, after concerns being raised about ruling party's failure to present his manifesto before postal voting day.