05 January 2015

Mahinda's Victory Speech (Draft)

Victory speeches are long.  Statements from the defeated camp are also long.  They usually consist of a lot of homilies, chest-beating and finger-pointing.  It’s quite alright and even necessary to thank those who helped.  A bit of chest-beating is allowed; so too the articulation of reasons for defeat.  Troop morale has to be maintained, after all.  But there are things that don’t get scripted into such speeches.  In the event Mahinda Rajapaksa wins, perhaps he could use some of this.  These, I believe, are good things to say (better of course to believe what's said and better still to make it real).

I was not a perfect President.  I acknowledge with all humility and honesty that I turned a blind eye on many things during my tenure as President.  I neglected the vexed issue of lawlessness that has plagued our nation for so long and especially after 1977.  I saw all this.  It was not that I condoned any of these things, but the truth is that my focus was elsewhere.  In hindsight, maybe I should have taken firm and concrete steps to ensure the rule of law.  I did not. 

I owe my people a constitution that celebrates citizenship and insulates them from the excesses commonly perpetrated by politicians. I owe them the dignity of living in a country where the rule of law is supreme. 

I propose to dedicate my third term to re-write the constitution so that it reflects first and foremost our national cultural ethos, the economic needs of our times and the overall well-being of our citizens without compromising national security concerns, territorial integrity, national sovereignty and the unitary character of the State. 

Just as I was not perfect, neither are those who stand with me and those who oppose me perfect.  We all have our blemishes. We all have our strengths.  My principal opponent, Mr Maithripala Sirisena, is an old friend. We have fought many battles together.  I recognize him as a capable leader and whose support I need at this critical juncture.  I am ready to put behind aside all the negatives that have unfortunately become part and parcel of election campaigns.  I know he can do this too. 

The Opposition, quite rightly, pointed out all my flaws.  I am willing to correct these.  We need all the good people we can find.  We need to have the best minds on one side.  At this moment I need all the support I can get, and I cannot stress enough how much I need the support of Mr Maithripala Sirisena and his team. 

I am a simple, pragmatic man who did what I could to the best of my knowledge.  I am getting on in years and I yearn for my beloved Medamulana.  The only legacy I want to leave behind is a country that is at peace and in which the rule of law is supreme.  Help me create such a nation.    

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