23 May 2017
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Mahinda seeks respectable exit

mahinda rajapaksha waveFormer President and UPFA candidate of the Kurunegala District - Mahinda Rajapaksa has sought a chance from President Maithripala Sirisena to make a respectable exit from politics following the upcoming General election, sources from the Rajapaksa family say.

 

The request has been made by Mr. Mahinda's brother - former Defence Secretary - Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the 'Sath Handa' reports.

He has requested to provide the Prime ministerial position for Mahinda Rajapaksa on a short term basis should the UPFA win with a majority of at least one seat.

He has also urged to allow Mahinda Rajapaksa to respectfully resign from that post some months later.

Mr. Gotabaya has further assured that his brother will bid adieu to politics soon afterwards and that the President's politics would not face any harm or hindrance during this time.

Senior State Leader

As the President has refused to comply, another proposal has been made.

The second proposal has suggested to name Mahinda Rajapaksa as a 'Senior State Leader'.

A senior state leader is entitled to Preliminary Protection and powers enjoyed by a cabinet minister and has a similar acceptance to that of the State Leader during diplomatic affairs, reports say.

Only two global leaders have ever been acknowledged as Senior State leaders. One, is Malaysia's former leader Mahathir Mohamad while the other is Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew.

According to sources, the suggestion to name Mr. Rajapaksa as Senior State Leader was made after the President recently stated that the former will never be appointed as the country's Premier.

In this backdrop, Mr. Rajapaksa would be compelled to function as a backbencher in Parliament as it is unlikely that he will be made a minister.

As this would have a negative impact on his image and personality, and as reports predict a negative impact on the island after the UNHRC report is released in September, the above suggestion has been made with the hope that Mahinda Rajapaksa holding the Premiership would be able to minimise the possibility of war crimes being levelled at him.

However, sources close to the President say that Mr. Sirisena is swaying between his earlier public statement and the two new proposals he is now faced with.

The President, who had earlier prepared to address the public during this weekend, has postponed it due to this issue, reports say.

- SLM -

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