Mon, 27 May 2024 Today's Paper

Election merry-go-round

14 May 2024 12:00 am - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Election fever is in the air. Yet elections have not been announced. It’s ‘Fun-O-Rama’ time for politicians who are having a ball. Past President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his time was a past master at splitting political parties that 
opposed him.
This time around, the ex-president’s party-the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP)- is one of the political outfits that is faced with several splits. The former chairman of the SLPP with 13 SLPP MPs defected and formed the ‘Freedom People’s Congress’. They now sit with the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJP) in Opposition 
to the Government.


SLPP strongman Basil Rajapaksa has demanded a General Election first. But added a rider as reported in the Daily Mirror on 8 May, that he would not leave room for a rift with the President. Former President Mahinda called for a rethink of the sale of state- owned enterprises, but in a very subdued tone. 
The Leader of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya is at war with his Party chairman.
The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is tearing itself apart. A faction of the party led by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga instigated court proceedings which led to the stripping of Maithripala Sirisena from the post of Chairman of that party.
In the aftermath of the courts having stripped Sirisena of that position, the Vice President of the Party Nimal Siripala de Silva was appointed Acting Chairman. The battle continues with the Sirisena faction of the SLFP now announcing present Minister of Justice Wijedasa who is also a member of the SLPP had been elected Chairman of the SLFP!
The SLFP itself began life after breaking away from the United National Party (UNP), which is now but a shadow of its former political presence in Parliament. Reduced to a single National List member in the House. 
However, despite its negligible presence in Parliament, its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is President of the country and rules with a strange and almost unbelievable bed-fellow the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna its erstwhile political enemy.
To his credit however, President Wickremesinghe since his election as president came to power not by back-stabbing. He answered a call of stricken past President Gotabaya who was on the lookout for a man bold enough to take up the position of Prime Minister, after the then premier was forced to resign.
While lesser politicians did not dare accept the portfolio at the time, Wickremesinghe did; and helped guide the country out of a situation of near anarchy.
So now, it is election time, the Constitution of our country says so. Sometime between 17 September and 16 October 2024, the presidential election has to be held. And the major political parties are in disarray. 


Only the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna-led National People’s Power (NPP) appears to have been able to withstand the electoral pressures which have struck the main national political parties. The NPP’s seeming stability while other parties are tearing themselves apart has brought a form of unity among these weakened political outfits.
President Wickremesinghe whose economic policies were earlier the butt of criticism of the SJB, the SLFP and sections of the SLPP are all uniting in criticism of the NPP/JVP combine.
A day does not pass without ghosts of past JVP insurgencies in 1971 and 1989 being raised. Horror stories of JVP killings are trumpeted. The warning notes they (JVP) issued ordering hospital closures are brought up times without number, as are some of their brutal killings.
What these parties are not saying is the anti-insurgency measures they took which probably killed more non-combatants. 
However, ‘comrade’ Lalkanth’s statements on what the NPP will do if comes to power, will probably scare more voters away from the new-look JVP/NPP. 
Unfortunately, today’s political party infighting revolves not around policies to save Lanka. Rather it revolves around the persons fighting for power and position. None have told us what they will do differently from what President Wickremesinghe has done.
The masses are hungry, their income is insufficient to meet the cost of living. They cannot afford to send their children to school. These are the solutions people seek.


  Comments - 2

  • melville perera Tuesday, 14 May 2024 02:19 PM

    All partiy members are LIVING ON THEIR WITS or a GUESSING GAME not sure who this mysterious wining link would be who definitely knows the support he is shown are from a pack of pious political frauds who would end up hurdlers when their last hopes are shattered

    Suren Sarathkumara Wednesday, 15 May 2024 12:14 AM

    The foray this time around is between the elite and the ordinary. Although it is the ordinary that propped the elite to power, they are starting to realize that what was thrown at them so far was just the breadcrumbs and, in return, they had to pawn the future of their children to the very elite they hailed for seven decades. The day sees a massive drive of ordinary people for a common vote and this unprecedented wave has sent shivers down the spines of the aristocratic and business elite alike. If transferred, such a transition of power would happen without the help of black money -and the holders would have no obligation to protect anyone for a favor in return. The polity or the community has never been in such a corridor - and the consequences are going to be grave for those who abused their privileges to plunder the ordinary. This political landscape is highly volatile - and the convergence of powers to these two major camps happens via the rifts we observe in the main parties.


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