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Reach a consensus to usher in a new era, then, let voters decide who or which party will do better:- Ranil

Ranil Wickremesinghe

United National Party Leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe has observed that if we could arrive at a consensus, we would be able to usher in a new era. Thereafter, we could go for elections and ask people to decide who or which party could do better.

He made this observation participating in the adjournment debate on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s policy statement. Ranil said:

“We have come to the end of politics. If we go by the words of Francis Fukuyama, it is a question of the end of politics. But that does not mean the end of Parliament. We in Parliament must think afresh. We must discuss how to bring about long-term policies which will help us find solutions to the problems affecting the public.

Thereafter, we can go for elections and ask people to decide who or which party could do better. Japan did so. Great Britain is doing so. India and Canada do the same. Why can’t we do it here? If we can arrive at a consensus, we will be able to usher in a new era.

The President has commenced this new session while the country is facing the worst economic crisis in 34 years. In his statement, he mentioned only the foreign reserve crisis. The economic crisis we are facing is far worse. We created a middle class with open economic policies. With the collapse of the open economy, the middle class too will collapse. There are a handful of companies and individuals who could earn profits while the economy is shrinking.

We must decide whether we’ll perish or unite to work out a plan to ensure our collective survival. We have come to the end of traditional politics. We may shout at each other and go out to shout slogans. But that will not help us solve problems.

After 34 years, we are in the midst of the most critical economic and political crisis. Our economic crisis runs deeper than a mere Forex crisis. In which country do we apply GST and VAT on the same goods? Burden of this economy has to be shouldered by Samurdhi receivers, trishaw drivers and other low income families.

We created a middle class with an open economy. When the economy collapses, the middle class also collapses. A very small group of companies and people keep extracting the profits.

We have two options. We need to decide whether we should go to the IMF or if the government is offering an alternative solution. We are expecting the Finance Minister to select either of the two. We cannot let this problem keep hanging without an aim. I request the Cabinet to make a decision on this matter by February and let this House know about it.”

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