The United National Party launched its manifesto today, pledging to ensure that the Sri Lankan state “takes the responsibility of safeguarding and nourishing Buddhism”.
“We, in the United National Party, are bound through life to safeguard the Sri Lankan identity,” declared the manifesto.
“With this foundation in place, a United National Party government will ensure that based on Lord Buddha’s teaching that all beings will be treated equally and justly ensuring equality before the law,” it added.
The manifesto went on to state that “the foremost position in the country will be granted to Buddhism,” as it already is under Sri Lanka’s current constitution.
“A solution will be provided to the national ethnic issue based on the discussions held in the Parliamentary Select Committee and outside,” it further added.
Earlier this year Sri Lanka’s former finance minister and senior UNP leader Ravi Karunayake said his party had now been cleansed of those who had been “speaking against Buddhism… and standing up only for the minorities”. The party also suspended the membership of parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake for statements “made against Buddhism and Buddhist monks,” reportedly on the orders of former Prime Minister and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The party has long spoken of its staunch support for Sinhala Buddhism on the island, with previous manifestos continuing back granting Buddhism “foremost” place. In 2018, the UNP pledged to build 1000 Buddhist viharas in the Tamil homeland, under the guise of reconciliation.
The UNP’s manifesto also warned of the economic dangers Sri Lanka was facing, stating there is “a grave danger of falling down an abyss”.
“Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves are also depleting,” it added. “Printing Rs. 450 billion is no solution to the crisis. We are falling from the frying pan to the fire.”
“We need win the support of the international community. We cannot overcome this challenge by becoming a hermit state.”
“However, Sri Lanka has to date been unable to secure any tangible international assistance. We have isolated ourselves on the world stage due to the lack of an economic vision and plan. It is only the United National Party that has a track record of raising the required finances through developing international relations.”
“Think a minute,” the manifesto concluded. “Is there any other party that could safeguard the country other than the United National Party?”
Read the full text of the manifesto here.