2ND LEAD (CORRECTIONS)

UNP and SLFP(M) tie up, vow to ‘eradicate terrorism’

[TamilNet, Thursday, 19 July 2007, 14:20 GMT]
Announcing a tie-up Thursday, Sri Lanka’s main opposition United National Party (UNP) and the SLFP-M, a splinter of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party promised to solve the island’s protracted ethnic conflict “within 9 months” of coming to power. The UNP and SLFP-M also vowed “a major offensive will be launched with the support of all people who honour peace and with the support of the international community to eradicate terrorism and separatism from Sri Lanka if any party refuses to accept the solution that safe guards the integrity of all, enforced on a majority decision of the public.”

The agreement between the UNP and the SLFP-M (Mahajana Wing of the SLFP) was signed by the two party leaders, Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe and Mr. Mangala Samaraweera, who also agreed to hold the office of Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister respectively in the event their electoral alliance – to be named the “National Congress” - to come to power.

Out of a lengthy agreement published Thursday, coinciding with the government’s celebration of the armed forces capture of Thoppigala, only two paragraphs referred to finding a solution to the ethnic conflict.

The two parties agreed “to find a solution within 09 months to the ethnic conflict that has been dragged for decades with All Party Conferences, Commissions and Committees by accelerating the process of finding a solution that accepts wide sharing of power within an undivided country in which every citizen, whether Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim Burgher, Malay or any other Minority would be equally accepted and treated and will enjoy equal fundamental and democratic rights.

“The basic objective of this exercise will be to unite Sri Lanka and a solution based on power sharing that could be agreed upon by all sections of the society be submitted for public approval at a national Referendum.”

In an implicit criticism of the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement which the UNP itself, then in government, signed with the LTTE, the UNP-SLFP-M agreement stated: “Both parties agree to strictly forbid any opportunity to provide training, procure arms, assassinate intelligence, military or Police officers and to engage in any other terrorist activities.”

The second paragraph on ethnic conflict states: “A major offensive will be launched with the support of all people who honour peace and with the support of the international community to eradicate terrorism and separatism from Sri Lanka if any party refuses to accept the solution that safe guards the integrity of all, enforced on a majority decision of the public.

“It is envisaged to launch such an offensive by providing the three forces with necessary modern arms and equipment. They will be according to accepted international norms and war regulations while agreeing to refrain from carrying them out on mere political agendas.”

The two parties are “to form a broad front with all democratic political parties and people's organisations who agree with the [our] policies.”

The parties agreed to contest elections with all political parties who agree to contest with them as a “broad front” which will be called the "National Congress."

Full text of the agreement by UNP and SLFP-M follows:

As Sri Lanka has never before in its history experienced such a grave catastrophe that compels steps to be taken with utmost urgency to safe guard democracy and human rights, to eradicate fraud and corruption, to establish good governance, to seek redress to public grievances including the high cost of living, to find an early solution to the ethnic conflict and to develop Sri Lanka without delay,

As it is necessary to forge a broad political front based on clear principles along with an implementing plan while also maintaining the policies and objectives of respective political parties to achieve the above,

As the party leadership and his brothers have taken control of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, having ousted those who strived to work towards establishing good governance in the country and internal democracy in the party by removing Members of Parliament Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathy Sooriyarachchi who worked within the party to maintain its middle path principles whilst trying to safeguard the party constitution and the "Rata Perata" (Take the Country Forward) policies, from their Cabinet portfolios,

Agreement is reached herewith as necessary to forge a broad front consisting of individuals, political groups and political parties based on firm and clear principles with a time frame for implementation that would go beyond those Alliances and United Fronts which were established in Sri Lanka's past history for the sole purpose of coming to power.

This agreement is reached between the United National Party, a duly registered political party in Sri Lanka and the Mahajana Wing (M) of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party that truly claims allegiance to the constitution and the policies of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, a duly registered political party in Sri Lanka, on the 19 th day of July, in the year 2007.

Both parties to the agreement hereby agree to effect broad based constitutional reforms that include the following basic aspirations through a Constitutional Council within 03 months from an election that provides a people's mandate to establish a new Constitution.

1.1) Further strengthening of Fundamental Rights. Priority will be given at all times in all activities to treat Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher and other minorities without any bias and with equality

1.2 ) Introduction of a Presidency elected by popular vote that would have the present executive powers limited and then held responsible to the parliament and to the judiciary. Strengthening of powers and responsibilities of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers. The new Constitution to provide for two (02) Vice Presidencies to be elected from among the cabinet of ministers in consensus with the President.

1.3) It is agreed there would be a maximum of thirty two (32) ministers sworn in to the cabinet and no other ministers except the Deputy Ministers will be appointed. At no time will the total of 32 Ministers and the Deputy Ministers together exceed 1/3 rd of the total number of Members in Parliament. The Constitution to define subjects and responsibilities of Ministries to the best possible extent. While working under the Minister, the Deputy Ministers to have their subjects and responsibilities also defined. Gender representation in the cabinet of ministers would be maximized. Provisions to be made to include a maximum of three (03) persons who are not Members of Parliament but with exceptional specialization, to the cabinet of ministers. These three Ministers can be excluded from the parliamentary majority.

1.4) Introduction of an electoral system that would ensure a majority that would allow for a comfortable government while also allowing representation for minority ethnicities and small political parties. It is also the basic objective of these reforms to provide for a member to be elected from popular vote for all electorates that would be demarcated after delimitation of electorates for the new electoral system.

1.5) All effort would be taken to introduce the system of by-elections and strict laws would be introduced to bar Members from crossing over from the political party from which he/she is elected from at an election, to another political party.

1.6) Steps will be taken to introduce criteria for nomination of Members from the National list and strict regulations will be introduced to stop nomination of criminals, underworld leaders, relatives or those who were unseated from Membership to parliament by a court of law, as Members of parliament from the National list.

1.7) A permanent Select Committee comprising of all political parties representing parliament will be established to monitor the implementation of election promises and policies, while also introducing laws that make handing over of election manifestos to the Election Commissioner mandatory.

1.8) Steps will be taken to make the judicial process a simple, more efficient, less expensive and time conserving process with a high degree of credibility and to provide for more independence in the judiciary including the Supreme Court that has hitherto acted with considerable independence when under undue pressures and presently to hold Sri Lanka from being turned into a dictatorial regime. The Attorney General's Department that has turned into a political tool will be reformed into an independent institute.

1.9) The Police Department will be de-politicised and turned into a strong and credible organization to establish law and order in society that is presently burdened with insecurity, fear and terror. A very concerted, major effort will be made to eradicate drugs and illegal use of fire arms within six (06) months from forming a government. Immediate steps will be taken to investigate all abductions, involuntary disappearances, extra judicial killings and extortions and bring the offenders in front of the law. Also those Police Officers who have taken the law unto their hands for political reasons will be severely dealt with according to law.

1.10 ) Laws and regulations necessary to curb corruption, fraud and bribery will be provided for in the Constitution and existing law will be strengthened. In this respect, the report submitted by the UNDP will be positively amended for implementation. A Code of Ethics will be introduced for Elected Representatives and Public Servants and will have clear demarcations on agreements that could be entered into with the State and agreements that can not be entered into with the State.

1.11) It is agreed that tenders will be called for all state work and for large projects while no procurements, constructions or other projects would be entertained on single proposals when no government is involved.

1.12) Immediate and special measures will be taken to bring those who were involved in the Telecom deal, corrupt procurement of arms and ammunition at a very high cost, acquiring of Mig 27 and Mig 29 aircrafts for very high prices, Licenses issued by the Telecom Regulatory Commission, Licenses issued for Radio and Television stations, Mihin Air Company, Lanka Logistics and Technologies Company, enforcing heavy taxes on flour imports while providing full tax concessions for Wheat imports and enforcing a high price for bread to collect millions of rupees as commissions monthly, Hingurana Sugar Factory, transfer of valuable state land to relations and friends through illegal means and at heavily under valued prices, issuing of permits for refining of petroleum products on massive commissions, frauds in importing of fertilizers, corruptions and frauds mentioned in the COPE report and other major frauds and corruptions in front of the law, effect judicial procedures and punish the offenders.

02. Finding early solutions to the Ethnic conflict

2.1) Agrees to find a solution within 09 months to the ethnic conflict that has been dragged for decades with All Party Conferences, Commissions and Committees by accelerating the process of finding a solution that accepts wide sharing of power within an undivided country in which every citizen, whether Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim Burgher, Malay or any other Minority would be equally accepted and treated and will enjoy equal fundamental and democratic rights. The basic objective of this exercise will be to unite Sri Lanka and a solution based on power sharing that could be agreed upon by all sections of the society be submitted for public approval at a national Referendum. Both parties agree to strictly forbid any opportunity to provide training, procure arms, assassinate intelligence, military or Police officers and to engage in any other terrorist activities.

2.2) A major offensive will be launched with the support of all people who honour peace and with the support of the international community to eradicate terrorism and separatism from Sri Lanka if any party refuses to accept the solution that safe guards the integrity of all, enforced on a majority decision of the public. It is envisaged to launch such an offensive by providing the three forces with necessary modern arms and equipment. They will be according to accepted international norms and war regulations while agreeing to refrain from carrying them out on mere political agendas.

03. For economic development

3.1) Both parties agree to appoint a main Committee and sub – Committees to draft a long term national economic plan. Special emphasis will be given to the following, within this national economic plan.

3.1.1) An accelerated programme to improve productivity and production in all sectors of the economy.

3.1.2) Special attention to be given to the energy sector with emphasis on development of alternative sources of energy

3.1.3) Special concessions to be given to promote local investors and to provide investing opportunities to all citizens, while also finding efficient and simple methods in promoting foreign investors. Reforming laws and regulations that hinder private sector enterprises which contribute to the GNP in a major way.

3.1.4) A well formulated plan to be drafted for agriculture, fisheries, plantations, industries, small and medium enterprises, construction, gems and minerals, jewellery, forestry and Mahaweli to guide them in accelerated development

3.1.5) Allocate internationally accepted percentages on social justice from the GNP for education, health, vocational training, social services and Samurdhi and utilize those funds on a well designed programme. In this respect special emphasis will be given to children, youth and women. Post G.C.E O/L or A/L youth will be inducted for voluntary work in nation development. Also training programmes with international acceptance for pre-school teaching, beauty culture, nursing and the like will be introduced to promote foreign employment instead of as house maids. A programme to teach English to all children in the country will also be launched.

3.1.6) Port, Fisheries harbours, urban housing, high ways, transport, irrigation, post and telecommunications to be developed on a long term basis taking into consideration the population and world economic growth

3.1.7) A Steering Committee to be given the responsibility to recapture tourism and related services that we have by now lost

3.1.8) Implement wide ranging reforms that would qualitatively improve productivity of both public and private sector employees. The main focus of this will be to fill all existing vacancies in the public sector, shift excess employees into productive positions and to achieve employee satisfaction through workers' welfare schemes.

3.1.9) Immediate steps to be taken to introduce a simple tax scheme that is not tax heavy and to reduce Bank interests to a single digit.

3.1.10) In designing the economic plan safe guarding and developing local art, national heritage and bio-diversity will be a prime need. Environmental conservation will be given special consideration in economic development

3.1.11) The essence of this economic policy is to launch an accelerated development programme in Sri Lanka by effectively incorporating past and present achievements and traditions of our motherland, of our Asian region and the world that would provide for equal distribution of development dividends among all citizens of Sri Lanka

3.2) Agrees to provide Sri Lankan citizens employed in internationally recognized foreign institutes as Medical Doctors, Engineers, Scientists, IT Specialists and Financial Experts with honourary citizenship and special allowances to harness their expertise for speedy development of Sri Lanka

3.3) A speedy programme to be designed to launch a state fund to provide higher or further educational opportunities in well reputed foreign universities like the Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Yale to students who do exemplary well at G.C.E A/L exams at district level and at final graduation exams.

3.4) Access international expertise or skills to reform and rehabilitate state institutes considered economically extremely important as productive and efficient organizations, instead of privatizing them

3.5) Steps will be effectively taken to stabilise the rupee value and consolidate prices in order to curb the rising cost of living. A committee on cost of living will meet weekly to maintain a cost of living that would be bearable

3.6) Foreign relations that has hitherto been affected will be duly rehabilitated and a foreign policy that would uphold Sri Lanka's self respect and identity will be adopted, while developing extremely friendly and mutually respectful relationships with India and other SAARC region countries, China, Japan, EU member nations, USA and all other countries.

At least a minimum of two thirds (2/3) of all positions in the foreign service will be invariably filled by career diplomats. The Permanent Parliamentary Committee Monitoring Election Manifesto and Promises will obtain reports to over see the status of these appointments monthly

3.7 A definite programme will be implemented to guarantee media freedom and to stop all forms of media harassments that aim at covering fraud and corruption using the war as a cover. Provide Constitutional safety to deny future attempts at enabling the Criminal Defamation law.

3.8 Although Non governmental Organisations are being subjected to numerous allegations, they contribute positively in social services and environmental conservation sectors. Both parties agree to develop a programme that would improve social contributions by non governmental organizations and allow them to independently function while contributing to the efforts of the government.

3.9) Although a parliamentary select committee has been requested and a complaint lodged with the Terrorism Investigation Unit against Rs. 20 million given to the LTTE in order to block votes at the 2005 Presidential elections to ensure election victory and there after on billions of rupees given through numerous methods, no action have been taken to date and therefore a wide ranging inquiry will be conducted to identify and punish the traitors and culprits who are responsible for the deaths of security personnel that is the result of purchase of arms, ammunition and explosives by the terrorists from these monies.

04.) The United National Party and the Mahajana Paarshawaya (People's Faction) of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party as primary partners in achieving the above, agree to form a broad front with all democratic political parties and people's organisations who agree with the above policies

05.) Both parties agree to work tirelessly in bringing all other democratic political parties and organisations into this National Congress, who either agree to the above policies or who contribute positively in developing the above policies, as we have arrived at the last hour in saving Sri Lanka

06.) At any time when an election is held in the future, the United National Party and the Mahajana Paarshawaya (People's Faction) of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party while agreeing both parties have a right to work independently with their own identities, also agree to work as follows.

6.1) To contest elections with all political parties who agree to contest as a broad front

6.2) That front will be called the "National Congress"

6.3) If necessary in any time in the future, the United National Party and the Mahajana Paarshawaya (People's Faction) of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party will nominate two (02) persons as Joint Secretaries of the National Congress. At any time Ranil Wickramasinghe holds the office of Prime Minister or the President, the Secretary to be notified to the Elections Commissioner will be nominated by the Mahajana Paarshawaya (People's Faction) of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and at all other times, the Secretary to be notified to the Elections Commissioner will be nominated by the United National Party.

6.4) The Treasurer of the National Congress will be from any other political party in the National Congress.

6.5) At all elections the Mahajana Paarshawaya (People's Faction) of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party has the right to nominate candidates to districts as agreed. Also the Mahajana Paarshawaya (People's Faction) of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party will be entitled to nominate candidates to Local Government bodies as it suits them

6.6) Election campaigns will be managed by the President of the United National Party Mr. Rukman Senanayake and by the Chief Co-ordinator of the Mahajana Paarshawaya (People's Faction) of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Mr. Sripathy Sooriyarachchi.

6.7) At all elections, the final nomination board will be constituted by Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe and Mr. Mangala Samaraweera

6.8) Both parties further agree to conduct themselves as follows after conclusion of parliamentary elections.

6.8.1) Both parties agree that Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe will hold the office of Prime Minister while Mr. Mangala Samaraweera will hold the office of Deputy Prime Minister and in accordance with the additional agreement entered into this day, agree to share the total 32 Cabinet portfolios, the Deputy ministerial posts and the subjects while also agreeing to discuss same with other political parties in the future. Also the number of National List Members the National Congress would have and other additional issues will be decided among the two parties and the other political parties according to the conditions agreed in the additional agreement.

6.8.2) It is agreed that a Ministry for Samurdhi and Social Justice will be established and to eliminate what ever deficiencies the Samurdhi Movement may have in order strengthen it and help alleviate poverty.

6.8.3) It is agreed to strengthen Local Development Committees with a broad development programme that brings together all government Members of Parliament in accelerating rural development within the above mentioned economic development. Special allocations of monies will be made for such programmes and it is agreed to implement all rural development programmes through these Local Development Committees. Ministers and Deputy Ministers will only be allowed to hold the Chairmanship of the Local Development Committee of his or her electorate. Other government members of Parliament will hold Chairmanships of Development Committees of other electorates / Divisional Secretariat areas, apart from the Chairmanship in his or her own electorate.

6.8.4) In coming to agreements with other political parties, both parties agree to consent to such agreements. And both parties agree to be flexible in such arrangements.

Both parties agree to fully abide by this agreement and by the additional agreement from the 19 th day

of July, 2007 and accordingly place signatures to this agreement at the Parliamentary complex of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Ranil Wickramasinghe
Leader
United National Leader


Mangala Samaraweera
Convenor
Mahajana Wing (M) of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party that truly claim the right to the SLFP Party
Witnesses :
01. Rukman Senanayake ………………………..
President of United National Party

02. Sripathy Sooriyarachchi
Chief Co-ordinator of Mahajana Wing (M) of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party


Chronology:

 

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