07/09/2019, 15.56
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A National Movement for good government emerges in Sri Lanka

by Melani Manel Perera

The National Peoples’ Movement was created in December 2018 to, among other things, fight corruption, develop inter-religious harmony, and increase women’s representation. The group wants “give the country a real leadership,” says priest.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – The National Peoples’ Movement (NPM) was created recently in order to promote national unity, achieve religious and ethnic harmony and reconciliation, develop a new political leadership, identify the most suitable individuals to lead the country, and boost women's representation in Parliament.

The NPM is planning to take part in next December’s presidential election, and with this in mind, it presented its objectives to the public last week.

The movement was established on 18 December 2018 by two organisations, Deshodaya and United Professionals Movement, which brought together 17 civil society groups, composed of intellectuals, professionals, teachers, entrepreneurs, young people and village communities, i.e. the country's cultural elite.

"Sri Lanka is in crisis,” said NPM leader Vinya Ariyaratne, speaking to AsiaNews, “and we must save ourselves from incompetent, greedy and self-centred politicians, who for over 70 years (since independence in 1948) have stifled Sri Lanka and us, [preventing us] from fully realising our full potential.”

“As the citizens of this country rich with natural resources get poorer, politicians, their families and friends amass enormous wealth selling national assets and plunging it into insurmountable debts for the rest of us to repay.”

At present, the movement is just like a think tank, and has not decided whether to become directly involved in politics, but is considering the possibility of doing so under a registered political party.

For now, “we are taking the policy framework to the grassroots to get feedback,” Vinya said. The goal is to “get the people to start taking actions such as engaging with local government bodies to be more responsive to the citizens.”

To do so, “We need to first change the political culture by converting voters into active citizens. Also, identify potential leaders (young leaders, women, disadvantaged groups etc.) who can be candidates for elections.

For Fr Joseph Srinath OMI, who was at the presentation, the NPM is "mainly a group of professionals who have come forward to give the country a real leadership, that can make it develop and end corruption".

(Photo credit: NPM)

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