Close on the heels of the newly formed UNP-led United National Alliance’s approval for Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Sarath Fonseka’s nomination as its candidate at the next presidential election, UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday put forth conditions for endorsing his (Gen. Fonseka’s) candidature.
Wickremesinghe said Gen. Fonseka had to agree to appoint a caretaker government with him (Wickremesinghe) as the Prime Minister in the event of his election.
The UNP leader expressed these views in an interview with the Editor of The Sudar Oli, Nadesapillai Vidyadaran, published yesterday.
Wickremesinghe said the United National Front, the JVP and the Tamil National Alliance should be agreeable to Gen. Fonseka’s candidature. He said he expected Gen. Fonseka to clarify certain issues concerning the Tamil people and the Tamil National Alliance should endorse that General Fonseka’s clarifications were acceptable to the Tamils. "I expect even the JVP and the TNA to come to some understanding over this issue," Wickremesinghe told the Sudar Oli.
The UNP leader said that he expected the common candidate to fulfil certain other obligations and make some pledges in public regarding the abolition of the executive presidency and the resettlement of IDPs.
Wickremesinghe demanded that General Fonseka make a prior announcement that he would assign important portfolios to the JVP and TNA in the proposed caretaker government. Fonseka should pledge that he would do away with the Emergency Regulations and ensure the full implementation of the 17th Amendment.
Wickremesinghe told the Sudar Oli that he was hopeful that an understanding on these issues could be reached among the Opposition parties.
"Under these circumstances the Government that is already in a dilemma could even postpone the intended presidential election, in which event it would be advantageous to us" the Opposition leader said.