But we have seen the best and the worst of Sirisena during these three and a half year rule of the Yahapalana regime
The majority of Sri Lankans and most political parties are of the opinion that the Government should hold General Elections soon as possible to sort out the present political crisis. The country has a tiny Cabinet, a greatly restricted president and two individuals claiming that they are Prime Minister. These developments are due to the Government authorities opting to form a caretaker Government which has not received the blessings of most nations.
What the people of Sri Lanka need is a stable economy and a set of lawmakers who can ensure that the regime’s finances aren’t wasted and there are checks and balances when there is spending. We also need men with brains to set up a plan to sort out the debt commitment of the nation.
- Wickremesinghe had the habit of using the powers entitled to the president
- From another perspective isn’t Sirisena to blame for not putting Wickremesinghe in his place
- His critics have time and again told that Sirsena has to be proactive
- Sirisena is associated with ‘Janadhipathy Thaththa’
When the regime changed in 2015, Wickremesinghe was appointed as premier. This man Wickremesinghe brought in Singapore national Arjuna Mahendran as the Governor of Central Bank when there were other qualified Sri Lankans who could have been slotted into this post.
Sirisena was not a leader who would stamp his authority ruthlessly, but rather is a person who chooses to pinch a person hard, when he is opposed, threatened or challenged
A few years into the Yahapalana regime, president Sirisena said that Wickremesinghe’s economic policies had failed and suggested that he steps down as Prime Minister. Apart from the economic setbacks that the country had suffered there were other reasons for Sirisena to get rid of Wickremesinghe. One was that Wickremesinghe had the habit of using the powers entitled to the president. Now Sirisena says that he wants to probe the corruption that took place during the Yahapalana regime and has appointed a committee for that purpose.
From another perspective isn’t Sirisena to blame for not putting Wickremesinghe in his place as Prime Minister? It seems that Sirisena has the habit of ‘closing the stable doors after the horse has bolted’.
His critics have time and again told that Sirsena has to be proactive; a standout feature of a successful politician. This characteristic was prominent in former presidents J.R. Jayewardene and R. Premadasa. It is said that Jayewardene had demanded undated resignation letters from government ministers before they assumed duties. This way he had a control of all who worked for him.
The problem with Sirisena is that he took the post of president rather lightly. When J.R Jayewardene introduced the executive presidency he knew what a monster he was creating. Even though Sirisena didn’t know quite well how to exercise the powers of the executive president, Wickremesinghe knew how to manipulate someone else’s post despite not having all the power he wished for. Sirisena has been quoted in newspapers as saying that he allowed Wickremesinghe to take decisions, only a president was entitled to, out of gratitude for helping him become the president of Sri Lanka in 2015.
When Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as Prime Minister after unceremoniously ousting Wickremesinghe, it gave a message that Sirisena was not a leader who would stamp his authority ruthlessly, but rather is a person who chooses to pinch a person hard, when he is opposed, threatened or challenged. In other words Sirisena knows that a cat needs not be killed brutally by the bashing it with a cricket bat, but instead can be drowned in a cauldron of freshly drawn milk.
But we have seen the best and the worst of Sirisena during these three and a half year rule of the Yahapalana regime. All the chaos seems to have made his thinking sharp
There is no sign of Sirisena fighting out of the situation he is in. He temporarily patched up differences with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and appointed the latter as premier. But Rajapakaa failed to produce his old magic. Now the Sirisena-Rajapaksa government is struggling to form the majority in parliament. Government ministers and parliamentarians supporting the regime keep walking out of parliament claiming that they wouldn’t be back till the Speaker acts according to the Constitution, follows standing orders and respects its traditions.
One of Sirisena’s trump cards was to prorogue parliament till he formed the majority, but the court issued a stay order which overturned the president’s decision. Now president Sirisena faces another ‘Wickremesinghe like’ challenge from Speaker Jayasuriya; with the latter doing all he could to uphold what’s left of democracy within parliament. There are of course accusations that Jayasuriya is acting in a highhanded manner and is working with a bias towards the UNP. The Government claims that much of the turmoil now in Parliament is because of Jayasuriya not honouring parliament traditions.
Sirisena in fact gains by this present turmoil. He needs time to map his next move and the present chaos probably seems to aid him. He didn’t surface as a politician doing productive work under past presidents because there was some order in the political set-up despite the country being gripped by a civil war. But we have seen the best and the worst of Sirisena during these three and a half year rule of the Yahapalana regime. All the chaos seems to have made his thinking sharp. The surprises he sprang on two consecutive Fridays suggest that he has the ability to shock his detractors. The leadership he has given the nation is shrouded with controversy, but also spiced with shocks, revenge and betrayal.
Even though Sirisena didn’t know quite well how to exercise the powers of the executive president, Wickremesinghe knew how to manipulate someone else’s post despite not having all the power he wished for
In this context it seems apt to recall the last stages of Nobel Prize winner writer Ernest Hemingway. Life was so pleasant for him and he was addicted to the good life and the successes that money and security brought him. The American writer was working on a book on bullfighting, but old age and a faulty brain prevented him from finishing this literary product. He later took his life. Sirisena is associated with a best-selling biography (Penned by his own daughter) titled ‘Janadhipathy Thaththa’. If Sirisena decides to script his own life story he would probably struggle when he gets to the last chapter. He knows that the ending is not going to be good.