Wed, 25 May 2022 Today's Paper

The search begins for the ideal leader

31 July 2019 01:22 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The sun seems to be shining on the Sri Lankan voters after a long period of uncertainty. There was a time when it looked like that no political party was interested in elections and the country would drag on like a ship without a destination. 

But with political parties burning midnight oil and working on finding their next presidential candidates, the initiative to find the country’s next leader has begun. However for the elections to be held the president of the country has to obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court with regard to whether the elections could be held in keeping with the old system. Experts say that if the court gives clearance to conduct the elections in keeping with the old system, it would speed up scheduling the presidential elections. Many are of the opinion that having the presidential elections is on top of the priority list of the country. 


  • Premadasa’s presence is just what the UNP needs within the party
  • Eventually, at the elections in 2005, the rebels made the country vote for a president who also believed in war
  • This war ideology hasn’t changed 14 years and two presidential elections later
  • Premadasa has to cultivate that ‘pulse’ or ability to read the ground situation

Right now people are witnessing housing schemes being declared open which have in a way eclipsed the efforts made by President Sirisena to mend old lakes and reservoirs for the benefit of the farming community. Premadasa’s efforts to provide houses would be more appealing to the majority of the people of this country who wait for the government to feed them. 
At present Premadasa is much spoken about as having the potential to be the next election candidate of the Gree party. 

Right now, even after the war, we hear of news where a group called ‘Ava’ has been harassing people and initiating violence in the north. Even after the war the north is experiencing the burning fires of hatred

Premadasa’s presence is just what the UNP needs within the party. He has the support of many within the party and a reluctant UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is forced to accept this fact. But Premadasa has to come out of his ‘housing mentality’ and start thinking about the country which is economically debt-ridden. 

Premadasa has to hear the loud cries of the majority Tamils who are screaming to get back some of their lands which are still occupied by the security forces. 

Recently former northern council member M.K Shivajilingam affirmed in a newspaper interview that lands owned by Tamils have not been released to them after the security forces took control of some of them. He also spoke of Tamils languishing in prisons and accused all past governments of not making a genuine effort to solve issues faced by minority Tamils. Premadasa has to cultivate that ‘pulse’ or ability to read the ground situation well like his late father when dealing with the minority communities. Given the political situation of the country no Sinhala leader can win at an election without the support of the minorities.  In the other camp, which is working to topple the government, we see former President and leader of the opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa ‘marshaling’ his troops. Even to date he has not uttered a word or given a hint as to whether the presidential candidate from the Pohottuwa party would be his brother Gotabaya. 

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) won the hearts of the people at the lat LG Polls by recording a comprehensive victory. The sweeping victory by the SLPP dented the morale of the UNP Government which is fast losing credibility. The Central Bank bond scam, selling of national assets to foreign countries and the no-confidence motion brought against the UNP Leader, who is also the prime minister of this government, have had their toll on the this present regime. 

At present Wickremesinghe is taxing his mind for a solution and sees his dreams of coming forward as the party’s presidential candidate being blurred. He tried his luck at the 2005 presidential elections where Tiger Leader Prabhakaran blocked the Tamil vote, enabling Mahinda Rajapaksa to emerge the victor. This was a message to Wickremesinghe and the whole of Sri Lanka that the rebels chose an armed struggle over a peace effort. Eventually, at the elections in 2005, the rebels made the country vote for a president who also believed in war. 

This war ideology hasn’t changed 14 years and two presidential elections later. The Sinhala majority have a war mentality and they wouldn’t trade that for the calm and quiet ways of Wickremesinghe and his liberal ways of dealings with the outside world. Wickremesinghe’s critics want an alternative leader who would not dance to the tunes of super powers like India, China and the USA. 

Future leaders like Premadasa have to negotiate with the fact that the Sinhala race has an inbuilt warrior mentality. We have had a history of kings setting foot on the battle field and the crown changing hands due to bloody family feuds

This war mentality is being nourished by an organisation comprising mostly Buddhist monks. This organisation, Bodu Bala Sena, has condemned all present politicians, baring one: Gotabaya Rajapaksa. 

Future leaders like Premadasa have to negotiate with the fact that the Sinhala race has an inbuilt warrior mentality. We have had a history of kings setting foot on the battle field and the crown changing hands due to bloody family feuds. History reminds us of instances where sons killed their fathers. There is also the South vs the North battle mentality. These are ideal ingredients to keep this island as a burning battle field. Right now, even after the war, we hear of news where a group called ‘Ava’ has been harassing people and initiating violence in the north. Even after the war the north is experiencing the burning fires of hatred. 

The focus just after the war concluded was to solve the national question. But all such efforts were swept under the carpet with the emergence of demands by Bodu Bala Sena and the series of bombings carried out by Muslim extremists. 

Who ever who receives nominations to be a party representative at the presidential elections will have his hands full. The outside world is ware of a minority issue concerning the Tamils which must be addressed by the next president of the country. But within the island a handful of distraught Buddhist monks wants the rulers to give into their aggressive ways at the expense of the hard earned peace the country boasts of. This is the time to vote for a president who can douse these two fires raging in the north and the south. 

The Central Bank bond scam, selling of national assets to foreign countries and the no-confidence motion brought against the UNP Leader, who is also the prime minister of this government, have had their toll on the this present regime

Just for the record that renowned yoga master from Kohuwala, who makes the Rajapaksas hang from their legs during training, once underscored the ideal qualities of a leader which he said were embedded in Mahinda, a former President of the country. In an interview with a leading Sinhala weekend publication he had said that a true leader should be ferocious as a lion, have the eyes of a hawk, be cunning as a fox and also be as a innocent as a deer. Let’s hope that we see these qualities in our next president!

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