Confusion reigns over the political atmosphere these days with political parties doing one thing today while reversing it tomorrow. In the meantime there are signs of unexpected political alliances emerging not based on principles but with the sole intention of facing the August 17 parliamentary election.
On June 30 the media carried a news item that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to be given nomination to contest the election under the United People’s Freedom Front (UPFA) by the President and UPFA leader Maithripala Sirisena, the very person who ousted the former at the January 8 presidential election. The presidential media unit immediately issued a statement saying that the President had neither accepted nor announced that Rajapaksa would be the prime ministerial candidate of the UPFA.
However, the statement did not contradict the news item as the former dealt with the issue of prime ministerial candidacy while the latter did not mention it at all. However two days later on July 2, the President denied the news item posing the question as to why the presidential media unit did not say so in its statement. Again on July 3 the UPFA issued a statement to the effect that the UPFA had decided to give nomination to Rajapaksa, raising the level of confusion further.The ordinary man was further perplexed with a news item carried by certain websites that the President had told Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera that he was not a party to that decision. At the launch of the Matara-Hambantota stretch of the Southern Expressway on July 4, the President said that he would not allow the victory gained at the January 8 presidential election to be rolled back, a remark that had direct relevance to Rajapaksa’s political comeback.
However, the UPFA seems to go ahead with its decision to field the ousted President Rajapaksa at the election in spite of the fact that President Maithripala Sirisena heads the UPFA in his capacity as the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), the main constituent of the UPFA.
With the President being non-committal regarding Rajapaksa’s candidature S.B. Navinna, who joined the new “yahapalana” government of President Sirisena as the SLFP Treasurer, quit the SLFP and joined the UNP on July 4 apparently in response to the decision to absorb Rajapaksa into the UPFA fold.
Democratic Left Front leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara who was the leader of one of the four miniature parties that campaigned for the Rajapaksa candidacy under UPFA had told BBC that the President had betrayed the people who voted for him. He says this after the President heeded to their call.
Meanwhile the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) which broke ranks with the UPFA and teamed up with the UNP to elect Sirisena as the president on the eve of the presidential election had announced that it would form a third front seperate from the two main possible coalitions. Rumours had it that the name of the new coalition had dropped from it the nationalistic words Hela and Sihala which formed the JHU’s former name Sihala Urumaya.
Indications are that a considerable number of crossovers from one coalition to another are in the pipeline while ample room is being left for horse trading. As in the case of the presidential election all these developments would give an opportunity to the ordinary voter to understand the different policies and principles professed by the politicians. With the parties and the coalitions, except one or two, being opportunistic the voters are being increasingly left with the option of voting for lesser rogues.
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