Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka was the first to be called in to take over the premiership as soon as Mahinda Rajapaksha handed over his resignation. However, he never received the final call and he says that he does not regret missing the premiership in the contrary he says that ‘Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa must be regretting what had happened. Had he accepted what I recommended at that time, he would have been the President today
As Forsake describes the happenings of that crucial discussion he reveals his initial reaction to the proposal.
‘Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa wanted me to take up the position immediately. But my first question was, why not Sajith Premadasa? But Gotabaya declined it as Sajith Premadasa’s main condition was Gotabaya’s resignation
The veteran soldier made a quick decision.
‘So, I accepted the offer, but I laid down my conditions. First, as per the original 19th amendment, the President shouldn’t have any ministry under him. But he wanted to keep the defense ministry under him; I opposed it as people were demanding his resignation, and he needed to take steps to relinquish power.’
Sarath Fonseka recollects his thoughts at that moment.
‘Had it been the case, I could have convinced people and made the changes we all needed. ‘
According to Sarath Fonseka, they both departed after arriving at an agreement: Sarath Fonseka would be the next Prime Minister.
‘He (Gota) said he would send me a draft before the announcement. However, that draft never surfaced. When I called him back, he said that Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chamal Rajapaksa feared the offer when he had told them about the arrangement. Later, jokingly, he said,
“Sarath, I was also scared when you proposed the 19th amendment, and to hand over the defense and public security ministries.”
According to Sarath Fonseka, the fear of the battlefield hardened soldiers among the Rajapakshas prevented a crucial exchange of power.