Rajapaksa, a former defence secretary who is credited with ending the countryâ€™s long civil war. (Photo Credit: IANS)
Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, in his first New Year message, said that he would create a prosperous country for all communities to live in peace and vowed not to allow any force to obstruct the realisation of people’s expectations. Rajapaksa, a former defence secretary who is credited with ending the country’s long civil war, was sworn in as the island nation’s new president on November 18, a day after he won the closely fought presidential election in the island nation.
In a short speech after his swearing-in ceremony in November, Rajapaksa thanked the powerful Buddhist clergy in the country for backing his presidential bid. He openly acknowledged the support of the Sinhalese community and lamented that the minorities have not supported him.
The new government is the outcome of unity among the people who love their country. We will not allow any force to obstruct the realisation of people’s expectations. The sole aim is to create a conducive environment where all can live harmoniously in peace, Rajapaksa said in a statement.
The president assured that he would create a prosperous country for all communities to live in peace. The country is in need of a strong and vibrant economy which gives priority to nationalistic aspirations. Such an economy will further cement our resolution for independence, he said.
During his visit to India in November, he said that it would not be easy for him to address the Tamil minority demand for a political solution when the Sinhala majority was standing opposed to any form of power being shared with the Tamils. He later outlined economic development as the answer to address the issues faced by the Tamils.
Rajapaksa, along with his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, led a decisive campaign that helped end the island nation’s three decade long civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
However, the brother-duo were accused of condoning sexual violence and extrajudicial killings allegedly by Lankan security forces during the civil war, which ended in May 2009 with the death of LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran.