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SLFP STRATEGIES BEHIND NATIONAL GOVERNMENT CONCEPT

26 February 2015 05:11 am - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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It is a wide perception that social media played a role, at least in part, in forming public opinion against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was unseated at the January 8th presidential election.


 

SLFP assesses  reasons for MR’s defeat




SLFP MPs assessed that its campaign was flawed with lack of  communication among its organizers right from the beginning. The  centralization of decision making power in the hands of a few, according  to the SLFP seniors,denied the party of realizing certain developing  ground realities, disadvantageous to its candidate


At a weekend workshop in Katunayake, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) took stock of things that led to the defeat of Mr. Rajapaksa as its candidate. In this respect, the impact of social media was among the salient matters that drew the attention of SLFP MPs.

The social media was not the sole factor that brought about the downfall of Mr. Rajapaksa at the last election.  A myriad of reasons led him to his eventual defeat, and the party assessed all of them with the help of some resource persons selected for the purpose. 

The party seniors opined that the alienation of minority communities, the middle class people, professional groups and the academia took their toll on the party candidate. 

SLFP MPs assessed that its campaign was flawed with lack of communication among its organizers right from the beginning. The centralization of decision making power in the hands of a few, according to the SLFP seniors,denied the party of realizing certain developing ground realities, disadvantageous to its candidate . It was opined that there was lack of communication within the party structure during the campaign, and it left some members disillusioned.   

The workshop was meant for a review of the current political developments and an assessment of factors that led to the defeat of the party candidate. Then, the party discussed the way forward under the changed political climate, and fresh challenges emerging from various quarters. 

Most MPs mooted the idea to form a national government in Parliament, particularly for the implementation of the constitutional reforms and electoral reforms as two interwoven aspects. The government, in the execution of its 100 day programme, looks inclined to prioritize the enactment of constitutional reforms over electoral reforms, yet SLFP sounds keen to have both of them taken up as parts of the same exercise.   

Some SLFP seniors were not in favour of the national government concept as they weighed the pros and cons of such a joint effort for ruling the country over a period.  In such an eventuality, some members held the view that Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), a vocal critique and a driving force of public opinion, would virtually become the key party in the opposition. 

Though a final decision was not taken regarding the formation of a national government, the President’s Media Unit issued a statement saying that the SLFP consensus had been announced for a national unity government. 
In its statement, the President’s Media Unit clearly stated that a national government had been agreed upon by the SLFP at this hour, and the modalities for it would be worked out later. Probably,   President Maitripala Sirisena has taken an interest in co-habitation between the two main parties-SLFP and the United National Party (UNP) – to facilitate the smooth execution of the 100 day programme. The enactment of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which seeks to transfer some executive powers to Parliament and to re-establish independent commissions, is the primary objective to be achieved during this period.  

The SLFP and UNP remain engaged with each other at this moment to make sure that this important piece of legislation sees the light of day. The committees, appointed by each party, will meet even today for a further discussion.

The government has already evolved an outline of the proposed constitutional reforms and presented it to other parties in the form of a discussion   paper for perusal. In the meantime, the SLFP has also come up with its own set of proposals, both for constitutional reforms and electoral reforms. According to the top sources, the two parties have differences on their proposals, but they are not considered irreconcilable through bilateral discussions. 1


Though a final decision was not taken regarding the formation of a national government, the President’s Media Unit issued a statement saying that the SLFP consensus had been announced for a national unity government


 

SLFP insistent on electoral reforms 




SLFP Central Committee, the highest decision making body, will meet today for consideration of both constitutional reforms and the concept of the national government.  The SLFP remains consistent and insistent that both constitutional reforms and electoral reforms should be enacted simultaneously.  Therefore, it has cast a pall of uncertainty that the two main parties may not be able to see eye to eye once again    on this whole exercise meant for the greater interest of the country.  The SLFP has expressed its willingness to give further time for the government if necessary for the enactment of electoral reforms and de-limitation of   electorates. In fact, the SLFP leaders said the proposed general elections could be postponed to find time for the de-limitation of electorates under a new system, a mix of the Proportional Representation System and the First Past the Post System.   The government is serious about the enactment of constitutional reforms. But, it is unsure whether the enactment of both constitutional reforms and electoral reforms are parts of a simultaneous process.   It is learnt that the ruling side is planning to present the draft bill for constitutional reforms on the first of March to Parliament, a key promise given to people at the presidential election.     

In case, SLFP does not support this bill in the House, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is reportedly planning to request President Maitripala Sirisena to dissolve Parliament for a snap election.  People are still at a loss to know what will be the end result of the evolving political circumstances.   But, it is incumbent upon the President to see that these election pledges are kept. In bringing about the unity across the political divide of Parliament, he can play a key role as he heads SLFP as its chairman today. 

It is learnt that the ruling side is planning to present the draft bill for constitutional reforms on the first of March to Parliament, a key promise given to people at the presidential election.  In case, SLFP does not support this bill in the House, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is reportedly planning to request President Maitripala Sirisena to dissolve Parliament for a snap election


 

President furious over pro-MR rally




President Maitripala Sirisena attended the SLFP workshop on its first day, and addressed the members. He asked the members to act with a proper understanding of people’s aspirations reflected through the January 8th presidential election. 

Besides, he sounded a warning at SLFP members who attended the Nugegoda rally organized by a few political parties to press former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to stage a comeback in politics. 
“A few small parties try to cling on to Mr. Rajapaksa to secure their positions in politics. But, SLFP members should think twice when attending such rallies,” he said.

SLFP MPs Kumara Welgama, C.B. Ratnayake, T.B. Ekanayake and Western Province Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga attended this event. It was organized by Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP), National Freedom Front (NFF), Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) and Democratic Left Front (DLF). In this manner, the President rang an alarm bell against SLFP members supportive of the former President 


 

President tough on fraudsters 




JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, raised concerns that there was a  lukewarm approach in taking action against those accused of frauds. Therefore, he said, there was public assumption that the government was trying to sweep investigations under the carpet to protect  fraudsters. 

The President turned angry about such lackadaisical attitude in dealing with corruption. In fact, he ordered the acceleration of action.

Accordingly, the investigation of allegations will be expedited from next week.

Besides, the copies of the draft code of conduct for MPs were circulated among the parties representing the NEC. The NEC will study them shortly. 


 

JVP rebuffs SLFP idea for National Government 



Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) sees the National Government concept by SLFP as a move to scuttle the 100 day programme, particularly meant to enact the constitutional amendments. JVP believes that Parliament should be dissolved forthwith  after the conclusion of the 100 day programme on April 23, to declare general elections.

“SLFP seems to be seeking the postponement of the election. For that, it has moved this National Government concept. The present Parliament does not reflect the people’s mandate expressed at the January 8th election. Therefore, elections should be conducted to afford the opportunity for people to elect their representatives,” JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said. 


 

Dead candidates in the fray



The elections to the two local authorities in the north-Puthukuduiruppu and Maritimepattu- will be conducted on February 28.  Actually, nominations were called for this election way back in 2011, but the election could not be conducted due to some legal wrangling. Four years has lapsed after the acceptance of nominations.  In the meantime, a few candidates who tendered nominations have died during these four years. But, their names remain on the nomination lists of their respective parties. One such dead candidate was from the TNA. Also, two more candidates, who were to contest this election, were elected to the NPC at the elections conducted in 2012.

Also, confusion remains over candidates switching allegiance to different parties during this period. Some candidates, who tendered nominations on the list of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), are now in for a dilemma as their parties are no longer the allies of UPFA.   According to reports from the north, a calm election   campaign is underway in these two local areas of the Mullaitivu district. 


 

Sumanthiran- Wigneswaran  in confab




Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan and MP M.A. Sumanthiran have been compelled to pay a political price in the Tamil polity for their moderate approach in dealing with the new government.  The TNA supported the President at the presidential election. Mr. Sampanthan and Mr. Sumanthiran were the two influential figures that prevailed upon the TNA to participate at this election.  Yet, the hardline elements of the TNA took a different stance, and in fact, they wanted a boycott of the election by Tamil people in the north and the east.   

Recently, the TNA -controlled Northern Provincial Council (NPC) passed a resolution saying that what happened during the latter part of the war amounted to genocide.   At a meeting in Jaffna, MP Sumanthiran rebuked NPC Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran for the adoption of such a resolution. He argued that   such harsh resolutions would strain the relationship between the TNA and the central government during this trying time. 

Incensed by Mr. Sumanthiran’s remarks, Mr. Wigneswaran shot back  saying, “You are a lawyer practising law. But, I was a person who sat in judgments.” In the meantime,   the Jaffna University Community staged a demonstration in Jaffna. During the demonstration, an effigy of Mr. Sumanthiran was burnt.  

Moderate Tamil leaders view that Mr. Sumanthiran, together with his leader R. Sampanthan, have been compelled to pay a political price. 


 

  Comments - 2

  • shan Friday, 27 February 2015 05:32 PM

    U people want it done but dont know how,tamil diaspora element dont wan the tamil issue to be solved.As long as their is problem is present certain diaspora elements collect money from tamils.

    Thanga Friday, 27 February 2015 09:25 AM

    With due respect to the retired learned justice Wigneswaran who was a reluctant bride who embraced politics, the resolution was ill-timed. Had he passed this resolution during the tenure of Mahinda Rajapaksa he would sacked the Chief Minister/dissolved the NPC. R.Sampanthan a seasoned politician attended the Independence that was not marked by military parade celebrating war victory as a sign of cooperation. Sampanthan was demonstrating his approval of the government led by Sirisena. It is a quid pro quo (something in return for something). The only way to disarm the extremist elements within the Tamils is to redress the their long nursed grievances. They have suffered a lot and they like to see Sirisena/Ranil government to undo the humiliation heaped on them by Mahinda Rajapaksa and his ministers.


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