BASL attempts at presidential election open debate ‘unsuccessful’

BASL attempts at presidential election open debate ‘unsuccessful’

BASL attempts at presidential election open debate ‘unsuccessful’

Written by Staff Writer

05 Jan, 2015 | 9:49 pm

Attempts made by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka to hold an open debate between the two main candidates in the upcoming presidential election have proved unsuccessful.

The Bar Association noted that only the faction of Maithripala Sirisena had agreed to participate. These views were expressed at a media briefing convened Monday.

Attorney-at-Law Upul Jayasuriya, speaking at the media briefing, expressed these views:

[quote]

Maithripala Sirisena accepted the invitation and informed the Bar Association of Sri Lanka that he would be able to participate in this debate today. However, it is disappointing to note that His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa is yet to respond to either the initial invitation or the reminder that was sent thereafter. We decided that it would not be appropriate to hold a discussion with the participation of only one candidate. As a result, the proposed debate will not be held. At about 8:30 in the morning, there was a letter from an organization known as “Nidahase Mawbime Nithinyavarun,” which was signed by Attorney-at-Law Sagala Kariyawasam. This was accompanied by another letter allegedly from the Elections Commissioner. We are aware of this letter. This letter purportedly from the Elections Commissioner, says that they are opposed to our proposal because none of the other candidates have been invited for this debate. The way I see it, this letter has come from a group of lawyers, who are connected to the government and who have received various positions from the government. They may have expected that if a debate or discussion was held a problematic situation would arise for them.

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