Colombo (News 1st) – Former President Mahinda Rajapakse, who is on a 3 day official visit to India has spoken to “The Hindu.”
In the interview to “The Hindu”, Mahinda Rajapakse has stated that he will lead the SLPP adding that according to the 19th amendment there are doubts as to whether he can contest in another presidential election.
He had further stated that Namal Rajapakse cannot contest as a presidential candidate as the minimum age requirement has been raised to 35 years and he will only be 30 years by 2019.
Mahinda Rajapakse further stated to “The Hindu” that his brother is certainly a contender, but the party and the coalition will have to decide who the public expects as a leader.
Although the former president talks about his brother contending, it was not specified as to which brother of his, hopes to be the next presidential candidate. Is it Gotabaya? Chamal? or Basil?
India is our relative?
In the interview with “The Hindu” the former president added that India is our closest relation and our neighbour. Not wanting to sour relations with China, the former president described China as a “long-standing friend”. He went on to state that in all the dealings with China, Sri Lanka never forgot about the interests of India.
Ironically Rajapakse back on the 12th of March 2015 gave a statement to the South China Morning Post, where he stated that the Americans, the Norwegians, Europeans And the Indian intelligence agency ‘RAW’ were openly working against him to defeat him in the elections.
Former President Rajapakse stated in 2015 “I asked the Indians, ‘Why are you doing this? It’s an open secret as to what you are doing.’ I had assured them that I would never allow the Sri Lankan soil to be used against any friendly country, but they had other ideas.”
When questioned regarding his change of tone towards India, MR responded by stating that no one should meddle with somebody else’s elections and that it is an internal matter of a country as to whom the people decide to elect. He chalked up his earlier statement to a mere misunderstanding,
The former President states “We had a mechanism during the war [against the LTTE in 2009] called the Troika, where three officials from both sides were able to discuss any issue, even in the middle of the night. For economic purposes also, we must have a mechanism like that, where India and Sri Lanka coordinate on all the issues we have today.”