Leader of the opposition of the Colombo Municipal Concil Milinda Moragoda has stepped down from the Council, but dismissed reports that he was taking a top position in the World Bank.
“My commitment remains to serve the citizens of Colombo and of our great country”, Mr Moragoda said in a statement.
Text of his statement made at the CMC meeting today follows
During thirty years of war, the citizens of our city had to endure deprivation and neglect. Therefore, when President Mahinda Rajapaksa invited me some eight months ago to be the UPFA candidate for election as Mayor of Colombo, I recognized the opportunity to serve this City and its citizens and, after much reflection decided to accept.
At the start of my campaign, I put forward a detailed policy and governance platform that aimed at making nothing less than a revolutionary transformation of Colombo into an advanced modern city to rival others in Asia and elsewhere. It was not only revolutionary in scope, but would also require a revolution in our political culture – a unified effort by all sides, to achieve its objectives. As you know, we did not succeed, and the election resulted in a fractured mandate. This has required the UPFA and our allies in the Municipal Council to begin a process of political consolidation.
Since Sri Lanka regained its independence in 1948, Colombo politics has been dominated by a single political party. But the results of our recent election have, for the first time, signaled an important electoral shift that has created the potential for the UPFA to win a clear mandate from the citizens of Colombo at a future election. Over the past six months I have worked hard to build a strong team that will provide the necessary foundation to enable us to achieve that objective. As a result, we are today strongly positioned in the Municipal Council. This was recently proven when the UPFA and our allies were able to win a crucial majority of seats in the Finance Committee, the most important committee in the Council.
To move forward to the next stage, however, it is essential that the Leader of the Opposition give full commitment to the affairs of the Council and ensure that the foundation we have established remains united and resolute. My present responsibilities elsewhere prevent me from filling that role, and it is for that reason, and that reason alone, that I have decided to step down as Leader of the Opposition, and Member of the Council. As I do so, I want to assure you that I stand ready to provide advice and guidance to the new Leader should he so desire, and I will continue to serve the citizens of our great City in various other capacities as I have always done. In addition, in my role as Senior Advisor to the President, my support and assistance will be available to you.
I feel honoured to have served as a Member of the CMC, an institution with a venerable history and traditions, and would like to express my gratitude to all of you for your unstinting support and for the confidence that you have placed in me from the very beginning. My appreciation extends to all of you here who joined together to work as a united team. We have had our difficulties and challenges, but at the end of the day I am happy to say that we have accomplished much and have the clear potential to be a winning team.
I would like to place on record my gratitude to President Mahinda Rajapaksa for inviting me to take up the challenges offered in seeking to lead the Colombo Municipal Council, and to our President and to Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa for their support and encouragement during my tenure as Leader of the Opposition.
I also wish to thank the Mayor of Colombo, the Commissioner, officials and staff of the Colombo Municipal Council for the assistance rendered to me during my tenure in office.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to state categorically that speculation appearing in the media that I will be taking up a position in an important international organization is not true, and is moreover completely without foundation. My commitment remains to serve the citizens of Colombo and of our great country.