The Sunday Leader

Will Discuss On A Third Candidate – Udaya Gammanpila

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) has decided to submit three proposals to the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena.  The JHU proposals are to abolish the dictatorial powers of the President, establish independent commissions to guarantee good governance and amend the election system to be answerable to people.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader the JHU MP Udaya Gamanpila said that they have exhausted all avenues of discussion with the government. However, he said that they had not held any discussions with any other party prior to relinquishing their ministerial portfolios as his party considered it unethical. Asked why his party had submitted a complete set of proposals to the government but only three to the common opposition, he said that as the common candidate would only be an interim president it was only fair that they submit the limited number of proposals.  However there is also speculation that if the JHU is not happy with the common candidates manifesto, they will decide to support a third Buddhist candidate.

Excerpts of the interview:

By Camelia Nathaniel

Q: What is the stand of the JHU with regard to the presidential candidate?

A: Well we have still not made a firm decision on who we are going to support at the presidential election. However, we are having intensive discussions at the JHU high level. Until the 18th of this month we only had discussions with the government as we considered it unethical to speak to others while we were holding government posts. Therefore only after we resigned from the government that we commenced discussions with other parties and in all probability we will come to a final decision by the end of this week.


Q: What do you expect from a presidential candidate?

A: When we tried to strike a deal with the UPFA candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa we had formulated a comprehensive six-year plan. However, in the case of Maithripala Sirisena, since he is only coming in to abolish the executive presidency, it is not fair for us to expect the same from him. Therefore we have submitted a three-point program for the common candidate, namely bringing sovereignty back to the people, eradication of corruption and ensuring transparency and good governance. In addition to that, we also want to know what his political program would be prior to making our decision on whether to support the common candidate or not.


Q: Do you think that the JHU can work with the UNP?

A: When we worked with the SLFP they were in a different paradigm, but we were able to change them by our engagement. Therefore we are not afraid to work with any party. As long as we have a solid plan we are confident that we can work with any party. The JHU would certainly be a formidable impact on any party we decide to work with.

Q: In the event of not being satisfied with the common opposition, would the JHU consider contesting for the Presidential elections on its own?

A: Of course if the need arises we will certainly or perhaps we will hold discussions with other Buddhist parties and take a decision to field a third candidate.


Q: What is the issue between the JHU and the BBS?

A: We have no issue with them and in fact we have a very cordial relationship with the BBS. We may have certain differences of opinion but in spite of that we still maintain a very cordial relationship with the BBS and when it comes to Buddhist issues, we will certainly work together.

3 Comments for “Will Discuss On A Third Candidate – Udaya Gammanpila”

  1. garawi

    I used to look up to Champaka and via him the JHU. However this interview has made me change my mind. At times I was wondering why the JHU did not leave the government when MR rejected the JHU list of requests. Now I realize that JHU is nothing more then the MPs who are hanging on to MR just for the perks. This idea of a third Buddhist candidate means Maithripala will have no chance of winning and getting MR back in the saddle. It seems like that is what JHU wants despite all the talk against MR. So now JHU is out of my preference list.

  2. Ranjith

    We are people who gave the Rs. 100 for you at last PC elections. Being a JHU & to continue our support we need you to ask the follwoing most important questions from all parties. Bur answers should be solid..
    1. Will you withdraw armed forces from the North & East. YES or NO.
    2. Will scrap the 13th amendment. NO Police & Land Powers to PCC. YES or NO.
    3. MUSLIM Administrative District in the East Will you give that or not. YES or No.
    We will not support you hereafter if you do not get firm answers on these matters.
    If BBS see these comments would like to know their position.

  3. Rabok

    Champika – I have a question for you

    1- If Mithree wins he will abolish EP and go into sanity after 100 days – and RW will be the PM with executive powers – I hope you understand how Ranil had handle LTTE in the past – do you really think RW will be different this time ? He will go on all fours and will allow UN to organize a referendum in North and East and also will stop recolonization of North and East with Sinhalese – I think this is what Tamil Diaspora exactly wants – If this is going to be the case then why JHU is supporting Mithree to bring Ranil into power and allow Diaspora to divide this country

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