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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » ECONOMIC CHRONICLE™ » A Critical Analysis of the 2015 Sri Lanka Presidential Election

A Critical Analysis of the 2015 Sri Lanka Presidential Election

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Vice President - Equity Analytics
Vice President - Equity Analytics
The impression given to the public is that the country has had enough of President Rajapakse and his family rule – if the country hated President Rajapakse so much why did the main Opposition and the Opposition parties need to fish for and field a Common Candidate? What is interesting is not the nomination of the General Secretary of the SLFP to contest against the incumbent President but the fact that at a crucial press conference announcing the common candidate the absence of the UNP was a noteworthy factor giving rise to the question how many UNPers will want to vote for a SLFP. The office of the Executive Presidency has been in existence since 1978 and numerous promises have been made to abolish it – no one has actually even attempted to do so. The President is elected not by politicians but by the people but this election appears to be nothing but about levelling scores against each other.

Can Maithri fulfill the aspirations of those supporting him?

The common theme said to unite the common opposition camp we are told is the aim of abolishing the executive presidency. This is an obvious ruse which they know and we should by now know can’t be done in the manner they are promising. What we need to realize is that those in the Opposition Common camp have their own wish-list while those that funded the cross-overs have their own wish-list as well. How will Maithri be able to satisfy all in the same measure given the background history of all?

How far do we know CBK will not fall for dollar carrots for which she was ready to hand over the North for 10 years without elections to Prabakaran or enter into detrimental agreements such as PTOMs and ISGA? Did she not have a majority that even President Rajapakse has not achieved – and did she also not promise to do away with the Presidency but stayed for 2 full terms!
How far do we know if Ranil will not enter another CFA type agreement. Let UNPers note that even his party was not aware of the clauses and probably do not know all that RW actually promised the LTTE. But we do know that scores of intelligence personnel were killed after divulging their names to the LTTE and these men included Tamils and Muslims.
How far do we know if TNA and SLMC will make their own demands for separatism again under bogus names meant to fool us?
How far do we know how much money transpired to buy over these cross overs and what promises were made in exchange to fulfil upon election victory and the biggest question is in what capacity will these promises end up comprising the national security of the country as a result of the bargains made?

How can a possible President-elect Maithri fulfil the aspirations of the ‘kandahaliya’ supporting him?

What will happen if Maithri ends up doing a Uvais Mohamed on the parties and individuals supporting him? Remember the Municipal elections of 2006 when the UNP could not contest they supported Uvais Mohamed who claimed that he would hand over leadership to the UNP after winning the election and all the Colombo UNPers voted for Uvais and what did Uvais do after winning – he refused to give up his title and became the Mayor of Colombo – what an anti-climax for the UNPers! Would such get repeated?

Can people trust jumping jacks?

The cross over factor is becoming a curse to the nation. Coming from people’s vote what moral right do politicians have to change camp for personal remunerations and personal glory? What is the likely outcome from such an arrangement when politicians can be bought over for anything and by anyone? Is it not a dangerous scenario when politicians can be manipulated by depositing dollars and pounds?

Is this not why the office of the President is important to maintain stability in a Parliament that has parliamentarians susceptible to be purchased and not only that if money will also be used to get them to use their office to sign and make deals that are detrimental to the nation and the people!

Most often the reason for cross –overs have nothing to do with the needs of the nation but are purely based on personal factors – to escape investigation for abuse of office, promises of new titles etc.

Corruption factor – Name a person not corrupt?

It is agreed that corruption has got worse and will never be solved unless administrative changes and discipline is adopted to put a stop to corrupt practices. Corruption occurs in both state and private sector and from the top to bottom. There is little place for honest people nowadays as the systems are run by the corrupt who will ensure that the honest are never in any leading roles. It is good to take a leaf from the discipline that prevails in the military where mechanisms are in place to take action against those found guilty and similar procedures must be put in place without anyone enjoying impunity. That there is a blanket on people in high places from being punished for wrong actions is certainly a factor that the current President needs to now seriously look into. Only people in office should have a right to lead the nation not their families. Ignoring these factors have given risen to multiple situations where the same people who have been let off end up being the headache!

Nevertheless, what needs to be said is that if people are against corruption there is no requirement for them to remain with corrupt people. Look how Gamini Jayasuriya showed what a man of integrity he was. He did not agree to the Indo-Lanka Accord and he graciously bowed out – how many politicians have been part of the corrupt circle and then when elections come they emerge to become the beacon of righteousness against corruption.

The question is would Maithripala Sirisena have come out against corruption and to abolish the Executive Presidency had elections not been called for?

Would the JHU have done the same? Why are people coming out against this, that and the other only after elections are announced? Why did they not resign from the Ministerial portfolios if they felt so strongly against the wrongs taking place? This question applies to not only Ministers but officials holding portfolios as well. What the public needs to understand is that while they too played a role in aiding and abetting they cannot claim to be the Mr. Clean’s during election time only!

Another factor is the issue against the power exerted by the family. These are certainly issues that the President needs to seriously look into and address but at the same time it is good for those pointing fingers to ask would the war be ended if not for the three-family members, would the development taking place not be a visible reality if not for the same threesome? Has any of those pointing fingers done an inch of what those they find fault with have done for which the entire nation is openly praising?

Can Ranil lead the country or does he really want to lead the country?

This question needs to be answered at some time or the other by the UNP and even Ranil W himself. It looks pretty obvious that every time an election is called for he is well and truly happy to put a scape goat to face elections and claim upon victory he would hand over mantle to RW – why cant RW fight his own battles? Why is it that both Ranil and Sajith are reluctant to face elections – is it because they know they will not win or because they do not wish to win lest that should expose them for their lack of leadership (some like to be thought of as leaders and do not like to prove they are)! The contention that RanilW is more than happy in his role as Opposition Leader with all the perks minus the hassle of leading a country of natives that he has no connection with or desires to connect with is a reality that people need to take stock of.

The class struggle prevails across ethnicities

Another underlying factor not put into the open but needs to be critically analysed is the caste factor as well as the class factor in elections – electing candidates, voting for candidates are essentially based on these two factors for the lack of policies playing a role in deciding who to vote for. It has to be accepted that manifestos are just pieces of paper that people hardly look at and those pledging never mean to uphold. Thus, it is personal charisma that often decides who people vote for. This is why actresses have gotten more votes than no. 2 in the UNP, this is why people promising jobs, money and other remunerations end up getting votes too. Will the JHU get votes based on a policy they uphold and why is the JVP vote base declining is this why we see a culture of clinging on to parties for political survival?

Who thinks of the country and the welfare of the people?

The next important question that voters need to ask themselves before voting for anyone or party is who among the politicians actually think about the country and the welfare of the people? What have they done for their electorates in terms of development from the allocated funds given? Have roads, been built, have they facilitated means of employment, have schools and other education facilities been provided, how much of prominence have they given to education and employing the educated against people who are willing to do their dirty work, what role have they played to bring a moral and ethical society devoid of illegal and illicit activities in the villages and towns that come under their purview….the answers will reveal which politicians have been no action talk only ‘leaders’ who now come forward to make complaints against others.

At the end of the day the voters must vote for people who have done a job and done a job well utilizing the money taken from the state coffers paid for by the tax payer. The public do not mind their leaders enjoying the fruits of labor so long as they are divided equitably and the lives of the people are looked after and looked into as well? The question is how many of our politicians have with the money allocated to them looked after the needs of the people or their own needs first?

Another factor that voters need to keep in mind is that electing leaders should not be looked with temporary relief or temporary solutions. People need to look far beyond and realize that our leaders need to be leaders able to fend off foreign pressures and foreign incursions. Just imagine what the country would be like if CBK signed PTOMs/ISGA or gave the country to Prabakaran for 10 years to run? What would have happened to the country if all clauses of the CFA were implemented and foreigners were given the mantle to run the country – the same nations that have ruined the countries of Yugoslavia, the Middle East, Africa and are now focusing on doing the same for Asia!

With the literacy of over 90% of Sri Lankans able to see the dangers of these incursions the voter must play a greater role in questioning which leader can face these challenges and come out of it without compromising the national sovereignty of the country?

How will people vote?

A party where class plays a key role, who in the UNP will vote for a farmer from the Opposite Camp? Class is why Sajith will never be accepted, why Dayasri left, however Premadasa had to be accepted for lack of other choice, but why Maithripala will never be accepted and possibly why no UNP sat at the press conference announcing the common candidate!

Ranil chickened out of contesting the last presidential election and Fonseka fell for the bait funded from foreign sources. Is 2015 an encore!

With the minorities voting for the UNP the question is

Will the Tamil UNP vote base vote for Maithri?
Will the Muslim UNP vote base vote for Maithri?
Will the Christian/Catholic vote base vote for Maithri?
Will the high class Colombians vote for Maithri?
Some advice for the President

This is a good time to take stock of matters.

Who are the reliable, how reliable are they?
Have the loyal to the party been rewarded or discarded because make-believe loyals have used their money to nudge their way to priority status? (money cant buy loyalty)
What can tip the balance – abolishing the 13a, adjusting provisions of it, safeguarding the interests of the nation, not people pretending to be doormats and then leaving camp!
Take the honest into one’s fold and get rid of the useless!
How much is the public affected in their day to day lives because of the office of the President – is it they who want the Presidency abolished or is it just a political slogan because the office stands in the way of bigger plots and plans?

What do the public want that a President can and should deliver? Is it giving in to political slogans or to provide leadership to keep the nation and its people safe, uplift the masses and develop the nation?

What a chaos the country will land itself in trying to experiment with people promising change with no plans for such and what a cocktail of uncommon compromises will need to be made to make the common candidate selection team happy!

Voters must decide and voters must not fall prey.

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