A New Force In The Presidential Fray

Members of Abiman Lanka Peramuna pledge to introduce a new political culture free of nepotism and corruption.

Kshama Ranawana

A fourth alliance, sans the usual political trappings has entered the presidential race, with a vision statement that reads, “ A sovereign country that stays independent of global super power interventions and geopolitical interferences, pursues a sustainable path to development, promotes national unity, integration and spirituality of people, and ensures social justice and equal opportunities to all.”

For months, Sri Lankans weary of the corruption and nepotism practised by the political parties that have governed the country these past 71 years, have been agog with the news of a possible alternative force, that could bring about  a new political culture,  led by either Dr. Rohan Pallewatte or Nagananda Kodituwakku.

On Thursday, August 22, the much talked of duo along with representatives of several other organisations, mostly comprising professional groups launched its alliance the Abiman Lanka Peramuna at the CIDA Auditorium, on Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo.   Led by three main groups, Dr. Pallewatte’s Social Democratic Party of Sri Lanka, Nagananda Kodituwakku’s  Vinivida Foundation and  Dr. Vinaya Ariyaratne’s National People’s Movement, Abiman Lanka Peramuna brings together 12 other organisations  and their sub-groups.

At Thursday’s event, Abiman Lanka Peramuna (ALP) whose symbol is the Bee, unveiled a brief policy statement with the promise of a more comprehensive document to be published by the second week of September. At that time, ALP will also announce its presidential candidate along with their choice of ministers which would be just twenty, as well as the names of the ministry secretaries.  With so many presidential hopefuls within the alliance, it may not be an easy task to pick a candidate, yet, in conversation with Counterpoint, Mr. Kodituwakku explained that a democratic process will be followed.  All hopefuls will be required to meet a certain criterion, and present their case, and a vote taken from amongst the alliance membership to elect the most suitable candidate.

The alliance seeks to completely overhaul the current system, and introduce a Samarajya concept, where power will be built upwards from the grassroots, as envisioned by the Movement to Unite the Motherland, one of the members of the alliance.

The grand alliance, brought about within a twenty day period, is the brain child of Dinesh Keerthinanda, of the Alternative Political National Alliance (APNA).   The alliance will focus on ensuring a corruption free political culture and electoral system, a new governance system and introduce the power of recall, establish separation of powers and humane actions.

On the economic front, the alliance plans to diversify all sectors to generate ‘productive employment’ across the country; ‘…. both domestic and foreign capital to be diversified into production-oriented ventures outside the major urban centres,’ that will lessen regional disparities and ensure excellent health, transportation and educational facilities.

Dr. Rohan Pallewatte(left) and Mr. Nagananda Kodituwakku (right) are both presidential hopefuls.
Dr. Rohan Pallewatte(left) and Mr. Nagananda Kodituwakku (right) are both presidential hopefuls.

It also identifies the need to completely over haul the “highly politicized social welfare system’ and replace it with one that would ensure social justice and equity among the “socially marginalized’ sections of the country.

ALP also envisages to breakdown the divide and rule policies to ensure that Sri Lankans have access to equal opportunities through the formation of   “an overarching mainstream national culture suited to a modern, secular democratic country.’

There will be a new politico-administrative structure to end the current ‘top-heavy administration” which has resulted in public resources being utilised to build “patron-client relationships” resulting in discrimination and political favouritism.  The new structure planned by ALP will see a pro-people management system where development assistance will be distributed on an equal basis.

On the environment front, ALP seeks to minimise natural and man-made disasters through the implementation of pro- people and pro- environment policies which would conserve “Sri Lanka’s ecological resources and the bio-diversity to support the needs of the existing population and maintain the sustainable levels, without compromising the ability of future generations to have free access and use of its natural resources.

While representatives of the alliance signed a pledge to work together to bring about a positive political change to the country, speakers reminded members and the audience that the new system will be administered by professionals instead of thieves. The country, they said needs someone who can genuinely develop the country. There was much hope of a great revolution in 2015 to do away with the corrupt, but it was only the same old group dressed differently that took over, they said.

The alliance promises a Sri Lanka made up of committed professionals and not those aligned with political parties, to introduce a new system of governance where the people could enjoy the country’s resources and have no fear of the future.

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