As Rajapaksa said, they did strengthen their hold in politics, further weakening President Sirisena, who now remains pushed to the wall
There is a strong demand within the UNP Parliamentary group, to remove all SLFP Ministers, who voted for the NCM and against the PM
The Constitution now says the “head of government is the PM” and Wickremesinghe has come out stronger than he was before the NCM
The Diyawanna Reality Show came to a happy ending for UNP and PM Wickremesinghe two days ago on the night of Wednesday 04 April 2018. The No Confidence Motion (NCM) was voted out with 122 MPs saying they have confidence in PM Wickremesinghe. The Joint Opposition (JO) mooted NCM against PM Wickremesinghe was voted for by 76 MPs that included the JVP too.
Though without Mahinda Rajapaksa playing a lead role, the JO was able to reduce the SLFP bloc that President Sirisena was holding on to.
They increased from 51 out of the 55 that signed the NCM to 71 without the JVP votes.
The JO would now have a strong bid for the Leader of the Opposition post to oust TNA leader R. Sampanthan.
As Rajapaksa said, they did strengthen their hold in politics, further weakening President Sirisena, who now remains pushed to the wall.
Sirisena cannot “demand” but could only “plead” with Wickremesinghe who came out of the NCM consolidating his position within the UNP and in Government. The LG elections that proved Sirisena has no ground support, cannot now say he runs the SLFP as its leader, reduced to 24 MPs, who absented from voting and would hereafter decide politics on their own. Backdoor dealings will thus begin in how the Government would constitute with a new Cabinet, despite PM Wickremesinghe promising to continue with the ‘Unity’ Government to honour the January 8 mandate given by the people.
There is a strong demand within the UNP parliamentary group, to remove all SLFP Ministers, who voted for the NCM and against the PM.
There are also efforts by this group of SLFP Ministers to hold on to their ministerial portfolios on the argument, feeble though, it is the President who would decide their positions as “head of government”. The Constitution now says the “head of government is the PM” and Wickremesinghe has come out stronger than he was before the NCM.
Sirisena is thus left weak with two formidable opponents in Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa.
PM Wickremesinghe now stands firm, not because he was adamant and smart, but because MR was in no hurry to form a Government within this Parliament, as I wrote after the LG elections and before this NCM (DM article March 30) that MR, was on a different agenda, gunning for a Parliamentary election. That would now be decided between Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa; both unable to go for a Presidential poll for two different reasons.
Many would now have other interpretations of the outcome of the NCM. All interpretations and explanations would be on the fate of this Government, the fate of President Sirisena and how the President and PM would continue in partnership hereafter. Most would want to say the defeat of the NCM signals the fall of the JO as well. Within all such talk, there are questions that have not been asked and answered with due seriousness.
Why did the JO bring this NCM in such haste immediately after the LG polls? Was it because this Government failed in carrying out its mandate given by the people in January 2015? Was it because the Government continues with all Chinese projects including the Colombo Port city that it promised to immediately stop? Was it because this government has all this time failed to solve the SAITM issue? Was it because this government has failed to properly and independently investigate all corruption of the previous Rajapaksa government and punish the guilty? Was it because this government does not honour the UNHRC Resolution 30/1 it co-sponsored? None of those issues held any worthy importance in the NCM.
The NCM was all about the Bond Scam and PM Wickremesinghe’s complicity in it. Of 14 listed reasons for no confidence, 11 were on the Bond Scam, two on holding onto subjects that violated the Fiscal Law and one on Digana Violence.
The whole debate (sic) on the NCM was on “corruption” with the JVP accusing PM, the UNP leadership in Government and the President for going lenient on Rajapaksas.
On the flip side, why didn’t PM Wickremesinghe resign under so much pressure? Was it because he wanted to continue serving the people? Was it because the people wanted him to continue serving them? He and the UNP stood firm on the argument they hold a majority and the UNP leadership is decided by them and no one else.
The question is, was all that public money spent for Parliamentary activity in having this 11-hour debate, worth it?
This NCM had a glaring omission. It was not about people. Was not about issues that burden people, and have to be provided with stable and positive answers. It was all about usurping and continuing in power.
The promise to continue with the January 2015 mandate holds no water. Samasamajist in the UNP, talking about the Government having to correct its course, is simply a joke. Despite what people wanted from this ‘Yahapalana’ Government, despite what Colombo ‘pundits’ said about “reforms and democracy”, this was no alliance that could deliver on any of those promises.
It was common sense, a breakaway group from Rajapaksa that was complicit in all corruption, in all Sinhala Buddhist extremism and bending of the law, forming a Government with a long starving UNP with plenty of backing by the “filthy rich” would not be a Government that can deliver what was promised to gain votes.
It was insane for anyone to have believed, this unholy, unprincipled alliance between two groups of corrupt politicians that knows nothing about democracy and good governance would behave as honest leaders in a Government, simply because they were labelled “Yahapalanaya”.
There is absolutely no purpose in wasting time with this Government that is not capable and is not willed to meet the challenges faced by this society.
Let us be open about these political parties and their existence in electoral politics. None has a vision for the country and have a membership with democratic participation in deciding their political programme.
They are all corrupt groups funded by equally corrupt business dealers who run political parties that are registered with the Election Commission to qualify to contest elections.
Whom people elect is whom these political parties offer as candidates and requests for right and honest candidates to be voted has no validity within this system.
No more proof is necessary than checking how many Attorneys at Law, Financial Experts, Professionals and Academics are there in the present Parliament.
It is worth asking the difference there was between Professors and Mervyns in politics. It makes no sense in waiting for another year and a half to see if they would deliver. They simply will not and cannot serve the people.
Neither the vast majority in the South and those in the North-East.
The ITAK leaders still sticking with this Wickremesinghe Government expecting their demands would be met, is betraying those men and women demanding answers for their immediate issues; their land, their family members held without charges, their missing persons and the security forces encroaching into their livelihood and civil life.
The new Constitution the ITAK leaders think they can smuggle through with this Government is dreaming in daylight. The Colombo pundits who think this Government can leave Rajapaksa out of politics are fake democrats. Their belief that Rajapaksa can be defeated with this coalition, is dumb to all the Sinhala Buddhist extremism this Government is touting around with. They provide Rajapaksa more legitimacy to ride his Sinhala racist caravan.
Thus it is now time to ask this Government, what’s its answer to reforming education that is fast declining? Where’s its programme to develop the health sector? How will it develop the rural economy and agriculture? Where is comfortable and efficient public commuting in this horrible traffic jams, that waste hours of productive time on roads?
How would it create the political environment in defeating Sinhala Buddhist extremism and answer political and social issues of the Tamil and Muslim people?
It is time these issues are taken up seriously in society, instead of giving ear to all the petty issues the Government and the JO create for their survival.
It is time the mainstream media become more socially responsible in taking up issues that have to be found answers for.
It is time too for society to demand development programmes for education, health, public transport, rural economy and housing. We are lacking that social dialogue trapped in petty issues wanting this “yahapalanaya” to correct its course that can never happen.
We are too late in realising that “name and face” changes in politics have failed us all along our electoral history. We keep choosing people instead of a seriously discussed “National Programme” for development. We got to change before we think of changing Governments.