Opposition Leader Rajapaksa was appointed as the SLPP Leader at the party’s inaugural national convention which was held today where he also officially announced Gotabaya’s candidacy.
Mr Rajapaksa said the national security should be restored in the country and the country needed someone who is vigilant about security round the clock.
“Only he can prevent looming threats. After restoring national security, we have to rebuild the country. To do that, we need discipline and law and order. Its the opinion around the world that no country can be developed without discipline and rule of law. No matter if there’s oil in Mannar or golden showers fall, we can’t make use of them if there is no discipline or rule of law,” he said.
He said Gotabaya is someone who understands the plight of the people in the North as he contributed to save them from the grip of the terrorism and resettled them.
“Not only that, he is someone who provided the opportunity to people from the Muslim community to go back to their own lands and villages. Our candidate is someone who can interact with the Tamils and Muslims honestly and will not deceive them. We don’t need someone who takes revenge on his opponents and bends the law,” he said.
When deciding on Gotabaya as the presidential candidate, he said what mattered to him was not his choice but that of the people.
“They looked for someone new, someone who will protect them, safeguard the law and democratic values and can create genuine reconciliation among different communities. People looked for someone who works hard and loves children. People wanted his wife not to have the ‘first lady’ mentality. Gotabaya never asked anyone for the presidency or pleaded with people to strengthen his hands. He has already become your brother and has won over your hearts. I give him to you as your brother. He should always put the country first, second and third just like me,” Mr Rajapaksa said.
He said they would only focus on the people who love them and love the country after they come into power, and not at those who hate them.
“Many people think that we will take revenge on our political opponents. The hatred-filled politics has no survival as we have witnessed. I don’t have anything to win over by hating anyone. The government’s time is running out. As time went by, it was certified that we were not guilty and it also recommended us to the country,” Mr Rajapaksa said. (Lahiru Pothmulla)