Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s caretaker Government—the United National Front for Good Governance—yesterday got a clear mandate from the people to continue the silent rainbow revolution of January 8. President Maithripala Sirisena, the new national unity Government, the other parties and the people need to commit themselves to the mission of climbing every mountain, searching every sea and following every rainbow until we find our dream.
After a hard-fought and vigorous one-month campaign, it was officially announced last evening that the UNFGG had won 106 seats, seven short of a working majority in the 225-member Parliament. But with the main Opposition United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) split down the middle after President Sirisena took some dramatic action last week to wrest control of the party and there is speculation that a new SLFP would join to set up a national Government. This would give the Government headed by the President and the Prime Minister a comfortable working majority to move effectively towards their promise and mission of building a new Sri Lanka.
The UPFA whose campaign was led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, won eight of the 22 districts but its majority in these and other districts was slashed by more than 20 percent, giving the UNFGG a comfortable majority. Mr. Rajapaksa, whose decision to make a comeback has created one of the biggest crises in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), had decided to move from his home base of Hambantota to the Kurugnegala district, with one of the main reasons being that it had as many as 15 seats, next only to the giants like the Colombo and Gampaha districts. But the UPFA’s majority in the Kurunegala district was slashed by more than 20 percent when compared to the 2010 General Election and the number of seats it won was reduced to 8 while the UNFGG won seven.
One of the lessons that history has clearly shown is that we need to be humble and magnanimous in victory while being courageous in defeat. Unfortunately this was a virtue that Mr. Rajapaksa did not or could not practise after winning the war in May 2009. Instead what we saw was largely a crisis of reckless arrogance specially after the notorious 18th Amendment which opened the hellhole for absolute power to corrupt absolutely—the body, the mind and the country.
Thankfully Premier Wickremesinghe in the afterglow of the victory yesterday said, we should not divide ourselves into winners and losers but work on a win-win basis. Mr. Wickremesinghe during the past eight months of the yahapalanaya Government has often stressed—and he did so again yesterday—that we should work towards consensus politics with all in Parliament being in the Government through select committees and advisory committees.
Priority in the coming weeks and months needs to be given to the 20th Amendment for electoral reforms, the long-delayed implementation of the Right to Information Bill, making appointments to activate the Constitutional Council and the Independent Commissions and the appointment of the National Audit Commission. The Independent Commissions and the Audit Commission could play a key role in the battle against corruption, fraud, bribery and other vices which were rampant during the previous regime with the breakdown in the rule of law leading to a crisis where the former Parliament was virtually turned into a den of robbers. The criminal plunder of public resources has plunged the country into an international debt trap and the new government needs to act immediately and effectively to implement a sustainable rural economic development plan to make Sri Lanka self-sufficient in most areas and bring about a more equitable distribution of the country’s wealth and resources. At an international level our diplomatic service needs to be revived and professionalised after political diplo-muts dragged the country into a foreign policy muddle.
As the talking ends, as the hard and honest work begins, we join the nation in thanking Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya specially, his staff, the Police and other public officers for giving Sri Lanka the honour and privilege of conducting an election that was peaceful, and free and fair. Mr. Deshapriya, Kipling indeed would look at you and say, “this was a Man”. We hope that the once- degraded public service will produce statesmen like you. Jayawewa
Comments - 2
Piumi Wednesday, 19 August 2015 01:58 PM
Thanks for every one who were back of the peaceful election.
Piumi Wednesday, 19 August 2015 02:12 PM
Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.