The marriage between the SLFP and the SLPP would last till Mahinda (left) and President Sirisena support each other.
The Wickremesinghe led Government is sitting pretty after having passed the second reading of Budget 2019, but it has to emerge victorious at the Budget vote, scheduled for April 5.
Many have termed Budget 2019 as an election friendly budget with loans being offered even to newly weds, migrant workers and undergraduates studying at non-state universities. But the Wickremesinghe Government must see the challenge that it may face if the SLFP supports the candidate proposed by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) at the next presidential elections.
Time and again scholars and the clergy in the country have shown why the presidency is harmful to the country and must be done away with. But power hungry politicians in the country still wish to retain the presidency despite the 19th Amendment to the Constitution reducing some of the powers exercised by the Executive. The last amendment to the Constitution was sponsored by Wickremesinghe himself, but now there is talk within the UNP circles that the premier is likely to be the candidate from the Green Party at the next Presidential Elections.
- Mahinda said that the government has taken more loans compared to his time and that there is nothing much the Wickremesinghe government can show for their efforts
- But a few days ago a leading Buddhist monk told him in the presence of his brother Gotabaya that the latter should be the SLPP candidate at the next presidential elections
The next few years will be crucial for the country because it has to find ways of reducing its debt commitment; failing which we might have to end up having a crippled economy. China is slowly advancing with its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative and making Sri Lanka dance to its tune. Mahinda Rajapaksa invited the Chinese, offered construction contracts and and also obtained loans from them. As a result China has brought to the island its own work force and its known that the Chinese even bring their own materials, even the simplest metal nut from their own country.
Even the UNP led Government has not been able to escape from the grip of China and very recently handed over the Kerawalapitiya L.N.G powerhouse tender to a Chinese company; a project said to make the Ceylon Electricity Board make a loss of rupees 90 billion. China is so powerful in their Belt Road Initiative that it has signed over 150 agreements with about 130 countries during the past five months. No Sri Lankan Government can say ‘no’ to China because it has the money and the expertise for construction work and we, on the other hand, are almost broke economically.
Very recently Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the present government has taken more loans compared to his time in office and added that there is nothing much the Wickremesinghe government can show for their efforts. Critics point out that this is a fact that even China will agree with. Going on the same lines there is a school of thought that the Chinese Government prefers the former Rajapaksa regime to the present Wickremesinghe government when it comes to signing business agreements between the two nations.
Rajapaksa knows that the Wickremesinghe Government doesn’t have the support it musters within parliament if it decides to take to the streets and canvass for the elections. Rajapaksa, it’s known, works around the clock, at his ripe old age, and is promoting the cause of the newly formed ‘Pohottuwa party’. Recently he was there in a big way at the rally in Kandy which was held under the theme ‘Enough is enough’.
But a few days ago a leading Buddhist monk told him in the presence of his brother Gotabaya that the latter should be the SLPP candidate at the next presidential elections. People who saw the visuals of this meeting on television could see a concerned Mahinda, lost in thought, whether to say yes or no to the head priest who was in discussion with them.
This is Mahinda’s plight these days. He is the man who marshalled the country to defeat the tiger rebels. He is the person who gave a shot in the arm to the opposition by helping to form the SLPP and make it a force at the last Local Government Elections. But now he faces his biggest battle which is to find a suitable candidate for the next presidential elections from among his brothers Chamal, Basil and Gotabaya.
Mahinda is stuck in thought whether to promote Gotabaya, who is fast gaining popularity with the masses, or pick someone else among his brothers who would not be that popular, but would be the most suitable candidate to be the first citizen of this country
The marriage between the SLFP and the SLPP would last till Mahinda and President Sirisena support each other. This is not hard to happen if one can fathom that there are political understandings between Sirisena and Mahinda and also between Wickremesinghe and Mahinda. All these top brass political leaders work on an understanding that one supports the other. It’s their supporters and voters who are fighting for what’s right for the country when the politicians are only concerned about taking the right decisions that keep them in power.
However the undercurrent in the political scene tells us very clearly that Sirisena might not continue to receive the support of the Pohottuwa party. Gampaha District Leader of the SLPP Prasanna Ranatunga has said that the ‘Pohottuwa party’ is not willing to nominate Sirisena as the next presidential candidate and that the coming together of the SLPP and SLFP was aimed at the sole purpose of toppling the government.
Mahinda however will be the sole decision-maker with regards to who would be the next presidential candidate from this new party. However he is stuck in thought whether to promote Gotabaya, who is fast gaining popularity with the masses, or pick someone else among his brothers who would not be that popular, but would be the most suitable candidate to be the first citizen of this country.