Mahinda Rajapaksa says he wants to make a fresh start as PM

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Colombo, July 17: Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today blamed 'international and local conspirators' for his defeat in the presidential election held in January and vowed to ensure communal harmony and peace in the country in a future government headed by him.

Rajapaksa during his first public appearance after his defeat in the presidential elections vowed to correct all his administration's mistakes.

Also read: Mahinda Rajapaksa plans to return to politics as PM: Top aide

Want to make a fresh start: Rajapaksa

Addressing the launch of the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) campaign for the August 17 parliamentary elections in the north central capital of Anuradhapura, Rajapaksa said, "We will ensure reconciliation, communal harmony and peace".

69-year-old leader blamed the international and local conspirators for his January 8 defeat to Maithripala Sirisena in the presidential election.

"Ranil (Wickremesinghe) and foreign missions tried hard to prevent my entry into the race for parliament, the people defeated that conspiracy", Rajapaksa said.

He charged that all mega infrastructure development projects undertaken by his government had been stopped by the current government led by Sirisena while the economy has stagnated.

The national security which he ensured by defeating the LTTE is also under threat. Rajapaksa did not respond to the tirade against him by Sirisena in this week's television address. "I do not need to respond to them, people will respond", he said.

Sirisena has predicted that Rajapaksa will lose and even if he wins he will not make him the Prime Minister. Rajapaksa, who was the president twice since 2005 has taken the unprecedented step for a former President to run for parliament after enjoying two terms.

He became the first president to be defeated at an election since 1978. Since the defeat his loyalists were clamouring to bring him back as the Prime Minister.

PTI

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