Last week, when horse-trading was at its peak, we, the Daily Mirror, editorially told that it was advisable now for both the groups in the power struggle to amicably agree upon a process to bring in a new composition of Parliament forthwith, through a fresh election. We had come to that conclusion as the cause of the confused political situation in the country had stemmed mainly from the fact that no political party had the absolute majority in the Parliament to form a government. Both the main political groupings had to coalesce with others who in someway have differences with them.
After the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) withdrew from the United National Party (UNP)-led government on October 26, no party had the capability to form a stable government. Although the UNP could have shown the majority with the support of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the latter was unlikely to join a government formed by the UNP.
Also it was no secret that the new Prime Minister too did not have the confidence of the Parliament. It is unethical and undemocratic on the part of both the parties either to hang on to or grab the power without the necessary numbers. Also it is useless, as such a government cannot pass a single Bill or a motion in the House independently, without giving in to the demands of other parties.
Hence, the best and only option for a stable government was to go for a fresh election. We were of the view last week that political parties must compromise their hard stances in the name of the country and its people and arrive at an agreement to request the President, by way of a resolution of the Parliament, to dissolve the Parliament.
Now that the President has dissolved the Parliament using his executive powers, a new situation is in the making with a new set of problems emerging. The UNP, TNA and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) are preparing to resolve the problem through a legal process.
However, there are only two options left with the country which are not in the best interest of the people, unless the judiciary points out a third one which could resolve the crisis amicably. One is to proceed with the current developments while the other being to go back to the situation that prevailed on November 9 where two groups had been challenging each other to show their majority power in the Parliament.
One option would create a precedence where incumbent or any future President would be able to dissolve the Parliament anytime he or she wished, without considering the four and a half year restriction laid down by the Constitution. The other one would create an immediate chaotic and dangerous situation where the showdown in the Parliament might spill over to the supporters of the two main groups outside, as we pointed out in our editorial last Wednesday.
The current crisis is very clearly a power struggle with extremely selfish motivation of politicians which does not involve the interests of the people at all, despite the groups on either side of the current political divide screaming at the top of their voices that they are fighting for democracy. Besides, with the crisis dragging on, politicians are spreading hatred among the people each minute with their rhetoric which is dangerous.
Unless the politicians cast away their selfish ambitions, at least for the moment, to put their heads together to find an amicable solution which could produce a stable government, they will have to take the responsibility for the repercussions of the current impasse. Surely, “You can use your enormous privilege and opportunity to seek purely private pleasure and gain. But history will judge you,” as Robert F. Kennedy once said.