Editorial - Red Light for Government

30 March 2014 08:18 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Shunned by the middle class and feted by the celebrity zealots the provincial polls on Saturday no doubt have gone to spoil the euphoric victory that the UPFA was planning to observe.
Given the zest and zeal with which the urban and suburban voters have triggered a surge for the opposition- UNP, DP and the JVP despite their consecutive poll setbacks, is only indicative of a part of the frustration.
The other is the absenteeism.


"If one is to go by the government's  argument for Geneva - that absentee vote is a vote cast against- then of course the voter turnout especially in Colombo is suggestive of a growing protest vote against the government"



If one is to go by the government argument for Geneva - that absentee vote is a vote cast against- then of course the voter turnout especially in Colombo is suggestive of a growing protest vote against the government.
However in reality such a big absenteeism can be caused by multiple factors.
Disillusionment certainly is one. A sizeable percentage would have stayed at home as they do not have any favourites among any of the parties that contested polls.
Surely there would have been tens of thousands of those who would have wanted to vote against the government for its gross corruption and rising wave of political crimes but would not have been able to make up their mind due to the memory of war victory.


The poor voter turnout especially in Colombo also speaks of a coming-of-age of the middle class which has grown out of proportion over the years. This big chunk of voters is hardly bothered about the polls anymore and is unlikely to step out of their homes on a Saturday unless the poll is as crucial as a presidential or general election which can trigger a regime change. This is a global pattern especially in the middle income countries as well as in the developed.
This indifference by the middle class has made sure that the working class favourites and celebrities rank high in preferential lists over professionals.


More than the surge in the UNP which has shown a strong comeback especially in the minority-heavy Colombo city it is the rise of Sarath Fonseka’s Democratic Party that is likely to disturb the UPFA rank and file. This vote is comprised of more or less equal parts of disillusioned UPFA and UNP voters rather than any exclusive vote base forthe ex-General. Given the acrimonious fallout between the regime and the ex-commander, the UPFA leadership will always view Sarath Fonseka’s DP as a bigger threat than any other party.


The setback in Colombo has gone to undermine whatever  the government has gained in the SLFP stronghold Gampaha. Besides, despite the giant development projects and expressways doled out to South the Southern voter too has moved to send a red signal to the government that development and democracy do not always go hand in hand. The antithesis of development and democracy is a theory proven over and over again in the south as well as east-Asian nations.
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  Comments - 1

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  • Kalu Banda Monday, 31 March 2014 11:33 AM

    I hope your sister paper the Lanka deepa will also carry this piece. The sinhala readership needs to be educated.


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