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Richard Pathirana (1938 - 2008)

Mr Speaker

I had not initially thought to speak during this vote of condolence, but I was reminded of so much to do with the Hon Richard Pathirana while listening to his son, the Hon Member from Galle, that I felt I should pay my tribute too.

I was in particular moved by his mention of the famous, or rather infamous bye-elections of 1983, when his father was one of the few to triumph against the juggernaut of the then government. It was shocking, Mr Speaker, to note one of my fellow neophyte MPs referring approvingly to our first Executive President, J R Jayewardene, as a model to be emulated. I hope that memories of what happened in the eighties, when democracy was treated with contempt, will introduce a proper understanding of political principles and persuade those embarking on a political career of the dangers of authoritarianism.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

May 2010
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