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The might of the franchise triumphed over the might of politicians

19 May 2014 07:33 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The United National Party congratulates the newly elected government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We wish the new Government all success in its endeavours to chart India’s future and assure our fullest support.

The people of India have spoken and spoken unambiguously. They have asked for change and new leadership to take the largest democracy in the world forward. Those of us in India’s neighbourhood are not only mere witnesses of this historic transition but people inspired by the glory of democracy truly in action.

Elections in India are indeed an example to all of us in the region of how a democracy should work. The democratic mechanisms to ensure the justness of the result, from the independent elections commission, to the police force, the judiciary and the media - all contributed to making this Parliamentary Election in India a cause for genuine celebration of the awesome power of democracy, when it works and works well.

There are deep lessons in India’s recently concluded election, in the humility of its victors, the grace of the defeated, and most of all for all those in the region and across the world who seek to thwart democracy and electoral fairplay, systematically undermine democratic institutions in their countries, abuse Government resources and oppress the free press. There is no greater tragedy in a democratic nation than the erosion of long-standing traditions to protect the people’s sovereignty and right of franchise.

The voice of India at this election is not a mere expression of franchise and their right to elect their leaders it is a loud and clear announcement to the region and the world that democracy is the best form of governance mankind has ever known. That democracy can work in even some of the most socially, ethnically and religiously diverse places on Earth. It belies the claim that authoritarianism is good for development or for stronger states.

Despite nationalist rabble rousing by the Sri Lankan Government that has strained relations between our two countries, as a people we remain, forever linked by civilisation, history and a common destiny. Sri Lankans look upon India as the land of the Buddha, Emperor Ashoka, Arahat Mahinda and Mahatma Gandhi. Each one of them has inspired our people through millennia and shaped the civilisation of our country.

This election too is a moment worth reflection of the lessons that can be learned from across the Palk Straits. The lessons are clear for those who wish to see. They are lessons particularly pertinent to Sri Lanka today. The might of the franchise will triumph over the might of politicians, pluralism will triumph over racism, and sooner or later Democracy must always triumph over dictatorship.
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