POSTED AT 09:20 AM 18-04-2019
Next Presidential candidate must get seven million votes to win - Champika
The 2020 Presidential election’s winning candidate will have to harness 6.5 million to 7 million votes to emerge victorious, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said.
“There will be 15.8 million eligible votes this time out of whom at least 13.5 million to 14 million will exercise their vote and the winner will have to obtain 6.5 million to 7 million votes to emerge victorious,” he said.
The minister said this addressing a meeting after laying the foundation stones for the proposed office building and industrial unit of the Sri Lanka Railways recently.
Ranawaka said on the day the results of the 2014 September Uva Provincial Council election were announced, then President Mahinda Rajapaksa called a meeting of the Cabinet at which Minister Basil Rajapaksa made a presentation on the results of all nine provincial council elections.
In his presentation Basil Rajapaska predicted an easy victory for the UPFA if a Presidential election was held. He said the UPFA had polled 5 million votes as against all told 3.6 million gained by parties in the opposition.
Thereafter, President Mahinda Rajapaksa got up and said a Presidential election should be called without delay. Minister Ranawaka said he kept mum throughout the meeting Basil Rajapaksa made the presentation.When he was leaving the meeting after it adjourned, President Rajapaksa summoned him and asked why he kept silent after being a shrewd mathematician.
Rajapaksa asked whether 5 million or 3 million was bigger. Ranawaka said he turned to President Rajapaksa and told him that he would face imminent defeat unless a major reorganization of the government was made.
Ranawaka said he told Rajapaksa that only 65 percent of eligible voters had exercised votes at the Provincial elections but 85 percent of voters would vote at a Presidential election and Rajapaksa would need 6 million votes to win it. He also told Rajapaksa that due to the situation created in the country by members of his family he should make a major transformation in the government if he was to stand a winning chance.
Ranawaka said as requested by Rajapaksa he submitted a letter outlining the changes the government should make if it was to win and that he (Ranawaka) wanted a clear answer to his submissions. But later he got a letter dated November 15 from Rajapaksa stating his inability to enact the re-organisation plan proposed. Ranawaka said thereafter he visited Rajapaksa at his residence and submitted his resignation letter from the UPFA government.
The rest which followed was history. Maithripala Sirisena won the Presidential election gaining 6.2 million votes and Mahinda got only 5.8 million. The same fate would befall members of the Pohottuwa (SLPP) party who were now boasting about the 4.9 million votes gained at the recent local government elections as against 3.6 million votes gained by the UNP, he said.