9 May, 2021

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2015 Presidential Election: A Shared Opposition Strategy And Common Candidate

By Palitha Elkaduwa

Palitha Elkaduwa

Palitha Elkaduwa

Implications Of Uva 

The voters of Uva sent a clear and powerful message to President Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR), Opposition and the country at large. That is that the “Emperor (MR) has no clothes!” Up until Uva MR was seen as politically/electorally invincible. That myth collapsed with Uva. The risk is that the opposition, UNP and Ranil Wickramasinghe (RW) in particular, would mishandle the situation helping MR to wear his clothes back and make a comeback! It is up to the opposition in general and the UNP in particular to prevent that from happening. The rest of this note deals with two issues. First, it analyses the implications of Uva and the rapidly evolving poltical and electoral environment for prospects of a common opposition candidate (CC). Second, it briefly evaluates the relative strengths and weaknesses of the prospective opposition presidential candidates.

Designing a winning strategy for the opposition/UNP

Pre-Uva an opposition candidacy would not have been given much of chance. However, post-Uva the dynamic and psychology of the electorate have changed for the better but more work has to be done to make it a winning proposition.

RCSSSS RanilThe number one requirement is a united opposition: The opposition will be able to effectively challenge MR inly if the UNP, TNA, JVP, CBK (represents the hardcore “old” SLFP), Muslims and Upcountry Tamils that are not with MR and public opinion that Rev. Sobhitha represents (NMSJ) can be made to work in unison with one goal in mind, the overthrow of the UPFA government, even if not all parties appear on one election platform. The different parties/interest groups will not agree on everything. But the following minimum political, economic and electoral agenda can forge unity.

Proposals for immediate action to be included in the common opposition manifesto (common candidate) 

1. Common Poltical Agenda to reestablish democracy, good governance and transparency

(a) Abolition of EP: JVP, and Rev. Sobhitha’s constituency are unlikely to even consider supporting a UNP leader such as RW as CC unless the party makes this commitment PUBLICLY and without any ambiguity whatsoever. Even CBK may not be very enthusiastic if that commitment is not made. For her the abolition of the EP would be the fulfilment of a commitment that she herself made but failed to keep.  That will be a powerful rationale for her to be on the common platform.  However, it is legitimate to ask why a man like RW who aspires to lead the country should go through rigor of a presidential election simply to abolish the position soon after being elected. The answer is simple. If RW wants to retain EP or a position similar to that by some other name such as “Executive Prime Minister” RW will NOT get the full and unreserved support of a combined opposition that includes, most notably, JVP, Rev. Sobhitha and NMSJ, and sundry other groups that are essential for RW or any other common candidate to defeat MR. In fact for RW/UNP to say that that they want to have an “Executive Prime Minister” is to declare that there is no real difference between UPFA/MR on one hand and RW/UNP on the other. The public then might as well choose the known devil! UNP/RW will have to agree to some kind of “Road Map” for the abolition of the EP to mobilize support from the full opposition.

(b) Full implementation of the 17th amendment further strengthening it. The common platform including RW/UNP who are the authors of the amendment can easily agree to this. The proposal that the Parliamentary Select Committee that DEW Gunasekera chaired can also be considered.

(c) Replacing the current system of election to parliament with a combination of the First-past-the-post system and PR (to provide for smaller parties). For cleaner and fairer elections FPP is a must. To protect the smaller parties PP is a must. Given the landslides in 1970 and 1977 even the two major parties stand to benefit from a modified system. The preference vote should be abolished. The Dinesh Gunawardane Parliamentary Select Committee Report can be used as a framework for such reform.

2. Common Economic Relief Agenda to bring immediate relief to the suffering people of Sri Lanka

It is not practical to think of a detailed economic and social policy agenda for the common candidate. However, it is possible to think of a “All-Party National Transitional Government” with a few key agenda items that would be attractive to major segments of the electorate and acceptable to the united opposition platform. The following are three examples. A few others can be added.

(a) A genuine commitment to bring some tangible relief to the lower income group (about 50% to 60% of the voters) of Sri Lanka.  To do that the new government will scrap loss making and useless state ventures, reduce commodity and indirect taxes such as VAT that will help bring some reduction in the cost of living, and increase relief payments and subsides for the poor, draught victims, students and the like. For example, Mihin Lanka is an airline that serves no purpose other than boost the ego of MR and creates opportunities for the Rajapaksas and their cronies to take commissions and bribes. In 2013 Mihin Lanka lost Rs 3,200m of taxpayer money.  In the same year the TOTAL amount that the government spent on Mahapola scholarships (Rs 801m), School bus season tickets (Rs 1,430m), Infant milk food (Rs 230m), Poshana malla (Rs 203m), and Flood & Draught Relief (Rs 148m) was only Rs 2,824m, or Rs.376m LESS than the loss in Mihin Lanka. Such waste will be stopped and the money spent for the benefit of the poor and the middle class.

(b) Tax relief:  In Rajapaksa brothers’ Sri Lanka in 2013 only 19% of government tax revue came from the rich. Mostly the poor paid 81% of the tax in the form of various commodity taxes ranging from VAT, import duties, special commodity levy, so-called Nation Building Tax and excise taxes.  In the very first budget of the new government this tax system will be overhauled to reduce commodity taxes that the poor pay so that the cost of living is reduced and the rich will be asked to pay their fair share of taxes.

(c)  Relief for state sector employees who number 1.2m and pensioners who number another 0.5 million that together with other voting members of their households account for about 20% of the national electorate of 14.0m.

3. Electoral Agenda in the first one year

A two-step electoral agenda is proposed.

Step 1: Formation of an ALL-PARTY NATIONAL TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT (NTG). The task of the NTG is to accomplish the common Poltical Agenda and the Common Economic Relief Agenda.  The NTG will function for a period that the Common Opposition will discuss and agree upon. It is likely to be a minimum of six months but not more than one year.

Step 2: A General Election shall be called under a new constitution. A new constitution will have to be drafted with the input of all poltical parties, civil society groups and other such interests. An initial framework for a viable democratic constitution can be found in, among other sources, some sections of the current constitution (e.g. 17th amendment), the DEW Gunasekera and Dinesh Gunawardena Parliamentary Select Committee Reports, and the proposals of Rev. Sobhitha’s NMSJ (nmsj.org/about/)

Opposition electoral strategy

A poltical discourse, especially in the south that has as its focus national security, terrorism and patriotism, is very favorable to MR. From 2010 he has benefitted enormously from these themes. For a variety of reasons, all of a sudden, this discourse has faltered. The poltical discourse suddenly changed in the last few months to focus on the corrupt “system” that MR/UPFA have created. The people have begun to realize that the MR-led system is destroying the nation politically, economically and socially. One major reason appears to be the growing disparity between the privileged few and the rest. A second appears be the naked abuse of power and almost total lawlessness that in turn have undermined justice and fairness that ordinary people consider important. People are beginning to associate these societal ills with the regime and in particular with the Rajapaksa clan. The strategy of the opposition is to zero in on this and reinforce this growing feeling of alienation from the MR regime. The opposition, especially the UNP and in particular RW, must do NOTHING whatsoever that would allow MR and his supporters to change the parameters of the national poltical conversation to a theme that would allow the voters, especially the Sinhalese voters, to believe that there is no real difference between the government and the opposition. For example, under no circumstances should the UNP bring up for discussion “alternatives” such as “Executive Prime Minister” to the current Executive Presidency. That would be fatal for the opposition because it gives an opening for MR/UPFA to claim that there is no REAL difference between the two parties. A discussion about the powers of the executive branch of government can and should wait until after the election. For the next election the only aim of the UNP/opposition should be to distance itself as far as possible from MR/EP that in the eyes of the ordinary voter is becoming, quite surprisingly, the source of all ills and misfortunes of Sri Lankan society.

Post-Uva electoral arithmetic

PE1The UPFA will largely rely on the Sinhalese-Buddhist vote, especially in the rural areas, to win the next presidential elections. Monaragala is a fairly good indicator of how well UPFA would fair in the next election in rural areas in the South. In September 2014 the government abused its powers and misused government resources to the maximum in the district. Even with such an effort it managed to poll only about 8 percentage points above the critical 50% mark. UPFA is usually confident of a large lead in the postal vote. Even in the 2004 PC elections it polled 68%. Last month the postal vote was also down to 56%.

In a national election there is less scope for abuse of power and misuse of state resources that took place in Monaragala. A well run UNITED opposition campaign should be able to overcome that 8-percentage point gap. Even more importantly, in Badulla, where 73% of the population is Sinhalese and the balance 27% other ethnic groups, the government polled only 47% of the total vote. Even allowing for the personal popularity of Harin Fernando who led the UNP in Badulla district, there is no doubt that for the following reasons a combined opposition with a credible common candidate is in a very strong position nationally if the presidential election is held in the next three to four moths.

Ethnicity:

  1. Monaragala: With zero minority support, UPFA/MR requires no less than 71.4% of the Sinhelase-Buddhist vote to win over 50% of the national vote. In Monaragala UPFA secured only 58% last month, way below target.
  2. Badulla: In Badulla district where 27% are minority voters, it secured only 47% of the total vote. If the opposition presents a combined front under a common candidate the UPFA will find it very hard going when the minority vote is clearly going against the government.
  3. Sinhalese Majority Districts: It is a fact that before Uva, in the recent series of PC polls, UPFA polled around 58% to 66% of the vote in PC elections in the southern districts except for Colombo.  Given the fact that UPFA is not able to poll more than about 15% to 20% of the minority vote an opposition common candidate with the backing of an undivided opposition should be able to win the next presidential election, even if UPFA performs at the 60% level among the Sinhalese Buddhist voters in the southern districts.
  4. EP & NP: In the 2013 Northern Province PC elections UPFA polled only 18% and in the 2012 Eastern Provincial Council elections it polled 32%. It is clear that the minority vote in these areas was not with the UPFA and there is no reason to believe that the situation has changed in the past 18 to 24 months.

Rural & Urban:

  1. As the numbers in Table 2 show, in the more urban districts the situation is bound to be even more adverse to the UPFA. In the 2014 March PC elections in the in Colombo District the UPFA share was 45% and in the Western Province the share was only 53%. The latter gap of 3 percentage points can be closed with a common candidate and a strong opposition campaign. What is also very noteworthy is that in Monaragala that is 100% rural, 95% Sinhalese and election abuse in favor of the UPFA was rampant, the UPFA share was only 58%. This is proof sufficient of current electoral weakness of the UPFA/MR.

AAA

PC to Presidential Election Swing

Table 3 illustrates another notable characteristics of Sri Lankan elections in the recent past. Typically the governing party does better in PC elections than in presidential elections. The reasons are many that need not be analyzed here. In 2010 this happened notwithstanding the fact that MR’s popularity was at its peak as war hero. There is no reason to believe that this pattern would not be repeated in the next presidential election compared to the 2014 PC elections, making the task of the UPFA/MR even more difficult.

AAAA

Word of Caution

The above analysis makes three crucial assumptions. First, that the common candidate under a united opposition will capture about 80% to 85% of the minority vote. Second, that the minority voters will turn out in the same strength as the majority community voters. Third, that the common candidate will be able to secure a minimum of around 40% of the Sinhalese Buddhist vote.

Common opposition candidate 

Two Assumptions

Assumption one is that that without the 100% backing of the UNP no opposition candidate can win.

Assumption two is that without the full backing of the opposition parties and groups it is very unlikely that a UNP candidate, RW included, would be able to defeat MR.

Main Opposition Parties & Groups (Excluding UNP)

NMSJ

NMSJ is not a major poltical party with a mass following. However, it has a voice that that gets a hearing, especially among the educated middle class in the south. One limitation of NMSJ is that for all practical purposes it is a single-issue movement that is dedicated to the abolition of the EP and restoration of democracy and good governance. These are of the utmost importance to the nation’s future but do not necessarily win the mass vote. Instead of publicly insisting on a rigid timeframe for the implementation of its agenda, NMSJ can achieve its goal of getting rid of the EP by doing the following:

(a)   Use informal channels to pressure RW/UNP to make a firm public commitment to the abolition of EP. But do not embarrass Sri Lanka’s main opposition poltical party with an arbitrary timetable.

(b)  Get Rev. Sobhitha to fully back the common candidate who is likely to be RW.

(c)   Persuade the JVP to support a likely RW candidacy.

(d)  Convince CBK to back the common candidate (if she herself is not the common candidate!)

JVP

A JVP candidate has no prospect of polling more than 3% to 4% of an all-island poll. They may get a little above that average in the south but below that average in the minority areas. JVP has to choose between a corrupt and feudal authoritarian regime that MR represents and a UNP led opposition that is reasonably progressive though not ideal from the JVP’s perspective. JVP can reasonably demand some concessions from the UNP/RW in return for its support. In particular JVP should ask for an assurance that the EP will be abolished and that it won’t be included in a new constitution under some other name such as Executive Prime Minister. The JVP has every right to ask and the UNP should favorably consider some economic and social policies that would directly address the needs of the JVP constituency. Example: education reform, a larger budget for education and enhanced student loans and bursaries.

TNA

Given the bitter experience of the TNA in the Northern Provincial Council and the hostile attitude of the UPFA to devolution, TNA has little choice but to support a Common Opposition Candidate.

Upcountry Tamils

Upcountry Tamils have generally been with the party that comes to office in Colombo. If the Common Opposition Candidate is strong and likely to win, it is very likely that the bulk of the 4% Upcountry Tamil vote will go in that direction.

Muslims

Given the anti-Muslim stance that some of the most influential and vocal groups such as BBS that support MR has taken, Muslims have no choice but to support the Common Opposition Candidate.

Possible Common Candidates 

Rev. Sobhitha:

Strengths:

Not interested in power beyond 180 days.

Weaknesses: Single-issue candidate who will find it very difficult to mobilize support in our patronage-based multi-issue system. Some non-Buddhists may also have reservations. Most importantly, NMSJ is not a poltical party with an established network. There is absolutely no institutional network for Rev. Sobhitha to mobilize the country for a campaign.

KJ:

Strengths:

A good man who is broadly liked by all.

Weaknesses: He is not a person who can face the MR machine onslaught. The Mahanayakas may say that he could be given cover but that is easier said than done. KJ too will be seen as a single-issue candidate who will find it very difficult to mobilize support in our patronage-based system. Politics need not only rational thought but also passion. MR has an abundance of that. KJ does not (In fact this is a shortcoming of all prospective UNP candidates)

CBK:

Strengths: Definitely stronger than Rev Sobhitha and KJ especially on account of her ability to get the support of some of the SLFP old guard. If RW can reach a public agreement with CBK, she could be a formidable CC because she will bring strong minority support as well as significant “old” SLFP support undermining the UPFA government.  For such a pact between CBK and the opposition some version of the NMSJ timeframe to abolish the EP will be helpful. CBK also has the passion factor that is vital in politics that other possible opposition candidates lack.

Weaknesses: Not all UNP supporters will trust her. RW will have to work hard to persuade the skeptics.

RW:

Weaknesses: None of the first three (Sobhitha, KJ & CBK) can be described as ideal. The same applies to RW. For example, “Ranilta baa” is a perception that has grown in the minds of some voters, although just now it is moving in the direction where currently it is something like “Ranilta samaharavita puluwan wai.” He is also seen as detached from the people. Lack of passion is a distinct disadvantage.

Strengths. First, he is best capable of mobilizing UNP support. Second, if he agrees to be the Common Candidate under a “neutral” symbol (not the elephant) and makes a commitment to abolish the EP, the JVP may be persuaded to support him. It would be foolish for the JVP to reject RW because the alternative is MR/EP for a further term and may be beyond. Third, the minorities have no alternative but to back RW. Fourth, RW, to his credit, has not made commitments to the public in the past that he has failed to keep. Thus if he can be made to make a PUBLIC commitment to abolish the presidency all who want to see the EP gone, including NMSJ should be able to back him as CC. Fifth, compared to a few weeks ago, the public now has the perception that the UNP is more united with RW, Sajith and others showing a greater willingness to work together. This is a work in progress that has to be further strengthened.  Sixth, and perhaps most importantly, RW’s integrity and competency are not in question. He is widely considered the best available to lead the country if only he could get there!

Campaign Challenges for the Opposition

Incumbency

MR starts with the advantage of incumbency. The UPFA will mobilize and misuse state power and resources to the maximum possible extent. The state media and the private media that is generally sympathetic to MR will also be at the disposal of the MR campaign.

MR’s possible winning combination

The electoral arithmetic that MR faces is as follows. About 70% of the SL electorate is Sinhalese-Buddhist (SB). Rajapaksa needs 71.4% of this vote to win an election (50% plus one vote in a nationwide election) with zero ethnic or religious minority support. In both Monaragala and Badulla Districts last month the UPFA polled close to 60% of the SB vote, 11 percentage points short of the minimum target. But that does not mean that Rajapaksa cannot achieve 71.4% in a presidential election where personality, charm, passion, money/bribes, and even vote rigging play a role. BBS and other Sangha groups that support MR can also work to whip up SB emotions. Also note that Rajapaksa can afford to drop about 5 percentage points of the SB vote (going down from 71.4% to 66.4%) and make it up with 5 percentage points from the minorities (one sixth of the total minority vote).

Conclusion

Abolition of the EP is not an end in itself but a means to an end. That end is democratic, fair, transparent and efficient governance. The goal of Rev Sobhitha and NMSJ, JVP, TNA and every other opposition groups is the same. The opposition parties and groups individually and collectively have to decide on the most practical and feasible way to achieve that goal or something close to it. Until very recently MR was Sri Lanka’s “Teflon” president. Everybody knew that corruption, abuse of power and the near total breakdown of law and order were a cancer destroying the country. But MR was exempt from blame for all those ills. All of a sudden the country had made the connection between MR and EP on the one hand and the breakdown of society on the other. Uva PC polls reflected that new reality. As noted at the beginning of this analysis, the people have now realized that the Emperor indeed is without clothes.

It will be lunacy and a national disservice to throw away this opportunity. MR has unwittingly allowed the focus of the poltical discourse to move away from his triumph over LTTE terrorism and his patriotism. It is of the utmost importance for RW/opposition NOT to say or do anything that will give an opportunity to MR/UPFA to get back on the “great and only defender of the nation” track/discourse. Any discussion on the part of RW/Opposition about the merits and demerits of a modified executive presidency and/or “Executive Prime Minister” is sure to offer MR the opening that he is waiting for to argue that he is better than anybody else to hold that position.  For the first time since 1978, people are truly growing tired of the executive presidency and have begun to come round to the view that it indeed is a curse on the nation. The task of RW and the combined opposition is to reinforce that notion while not forgetting to remind the people that their economic and other woes are intimately tied up with that curse. The only solution, people have to be told, is to get rid of both the office and the office holder!

In sum RW MUST show that he stands for something POLITICALY VERY different from what MR stands for. In other words do not allow the emperor to wear his clothes again that the Uva voters removed!

*The writer a retired  SLAS officer and former Secretary to the Cabinet Ministry of  Regional Development  2001/2004
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Latest comments

  • 4
    6

    Ranil is in the payroll of MR.The spineless Ranil cannot articulate even a simple fact against the MR regime. He has no policy. He has no stand on important issues like UN Investigation,Withdrawal of army from North, 13th amendment. What has he done about the investigations of Aluthgama incident,murders and kidnapping of media personnel,or for that matter on any human right issue?what does he say about the aggression by BBS?.It is sad there is no opposition in SriLanka except TNA. And TNA has no chance in a national election.

    • 0
      0

      All these analysis and statistics are fine and very encouraging , if (only if)Ranil were to win by default , he must follow the following rules

      1)Ranil Must support Sarath N silva and JVP ‘s notion of “Mahindata thun warak baa” , why i say this , If Ranil backs this very legitimate argument ,it ‘ll be an excellent opportunity to expose Mahinda’s true intentions/character among the RURAL masses as to why he seek a third term prematurely when he already has two long years left from his 2 nd term ? he must exploit this very crucial issue , WHO IS ASKING AN EARLY ELECTION , WHY DO WE NEED A FAST FORWARD ELECTION , who is going to get the benefit ? this boycott must be preceded by a court case (as Sarath N silva already stated), so that possibly delaying/avoiding MR’s astrologer’s dooms day , opposition must not push for an early election , rather it must be other way round , possible legal case might drag for a few months , which means MR’s artificial price reduction on essential commodities and other 101 election promises would have a severe impact on countries real economy .

      2)in all probability MR would win the court battle ( no two words about it though )Ranil’s attacking strategy must change , he must create a coalition spearheaded by Ven MS and CBK along with every possible political party , as the writer says there must be a common platform for every body to initiate the battle.

      3)the coalition must demand the implementation of the 17 th amendment before the election , the new smiling clown Election commissioner must invite election monitors to monitor the entire process ( not the final few days)

      every body seems to have hallucinated over the UVA victory , please remember MR is here to stay , he knows how to get the job done by hook or crook.one must ask , is Ranil up to the challenge , is he genuine ?

  • 1
    6

    “*The writer a retired SLAS officer and former Secretary to the Cabinet Ministry of Regional Development 2001/2004”

    I guess you are an UNP supporter.
    BTW, Don’t you have a recent picture of you? You look so young for a retired officer.

    Anyway, as soon as TNA goes with the their 13++ attitude to support common candidate, MR will be in a advantage position to draw more Sinhalese voters.

    Another point is, If you believe in you statistics (MR need 71.4% of sinhala votes), why do we need a common candidate?

  • 2
    1

    It is official..

    LTTE Gunaratnam AKA Aussie Mudali is the CC of the Left.

    Our ageing leftists must have done a marvellous job..

    With the JVP score of nearly 6.0 % in UVA , this CC has a good chance of forcing our President to go for a second round…

    With the total Vellala vote plus Mano’s lot and now Mudalige’s added to the 46 % from UVA, will be a landslide for the UNP Christian Faction Leader in the second round.

    No wonder UNP CF leader is in London having serious discussions with the World Tamil Movers and Shakers, the GTF, lead by Rev Emmanuel and the British Govt of Mr Cameron…

    Even our own Village Hero Wijeweera couldn’t give so much clout to our Dalits..

  • 1
    2

    I wonder if MR bribed JVP to boycott this presidential election. JVP is a dogmatic party not a realistic: it is logical if JVP avoid to vote it means that MR could win but if only there is no a common candidate
    Support JVP boycott the common candidate as well. Still a common candidate have a chance and margin of win be narrow: for JVP it would be wise to go with the common candidate: PRABA helped MR to win and same way JVP May repeats the same mistake and yet it is not a big problem for a common candidate.
    This time Downfall of family rule would be a good this for the country: why?
    All economic disasters with come with the third term of this family rule?
    All drugs will come up again
    All injustice will come up?
    All carruotion will come up again?
    It would be a disaster. In Pakstan ruling elites empty banks before election in expectiion that if they lost the election, they could run away with money:
    Same logics would be apply to MR family as we’ll:
    They already deposited their money and gold in some countries
    Now. What they do is they try to fool the public
    They reduce electrify
    They reduce some gas price
    They give empeolemtn in thousands for teachers
    They pay all loans and salaries and payment for government officials:
    They build roads and bridges
    They do all projects not in the interest of nation nor in kindness for poor
    Rather to save their seat of power
    They have done all damage to this nations
    We may need volumes to write
    One Sinahsle friend told,me that only 500,000 people from inner circles of MR families, friends and cohorts benefit from this governments: it is a habit of MR to buy people who support him and to kill any one oppose him

  • 5
    0

    Mr. Elkaduwa. Good analysis.However there are shortcomings.Whatever govt that comes into power other than the present,how will they solve the following?
    1.Can they re-do the agreements with the private energy producers and cause a reduction in the unit cost of electricity to the consumer.
    2.Will they inquire into the allegations that the state owned energy resources are being run down and operated at low out put deliberately.
    3.Ensure that agriculture is encouraged. The activity of the govts since 1977 had created the impression in the farmer that pursuit in agriculture is a dead investment.Many paddy farmers say that it is cheaper to buy their rice from the market than cultivating.
    4. What is to done with Mihin Lanka the Hambantota harbour the Mattala air port and the other wasted expenses at Hambantota.
    5.Will they guarantee that they will remove all the politically motivated appointment and promotions in the Judicial service.
    5. Will they guarantee to establish special courts to INVESTIGATE and PUNISH those that have deliberately mis handled the economy (public servants) who has wealth which cannot be accounted for( politicians, public servants and the business sector personnel).
    6. Subject all appointments to higher echelons in the public sector and on and behalf of the state investments are subject to scrutiny by the parliament -before and after the appointment.
    7. Ensure that the voter is provided with the facility to recall those elected
    if they are found wanting or corrupt.
    8.Restrict the facilities available to the parliamentarians to those that were available prior to the 1977 constitution.
    9.Follow the practise in the US with constituting the cabinet with one or more representative from the major opposition party.

    • 1
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      Dear Palitha Elkaduwa ,

      Thanks. The Math and trend shoe that the joint opposition can defeat the Mahinda Rajapaksa, their Clones, their shill and dynastic followers, provided they have their house in order.

      Every little effort counts.

      So, let us see how Thomas Paine helped in the American Revolution in 1776? He wrote Common sense as an anonymous Author, and it was widely distributed.

      Palitha Elkaduwa Malli, can you be that anonymous Author for Sri Lanka 2014 to beat the Raja-Paka Dynasty?

      Whatever opposition candidate comes forward, there need to be exposure of MaRa corruption and nepotism. Compare to JayaLaitha of Tamil Nadu. There is a dire need for a Common Sense Pamphlet, like what Thomas Paine did in 1776 for the American revolution, exposing King George III.

      What can writers and other do? Expose.. Expose and Expose the Mara regime.

      The current perception is that Rajapaksa Hegemony has taken over the UPFA/SLFP and people do not want dynasties.

      What can the writers do? Expose. what can the people do? Vote against MaRa and the criminal gang.

      Palitha, thanks for a very good analysis. Can you be the Anonymous Author and Produce a Sri Lankan version of Common Sense in Sinhala, Tamil and English? You will do as much service to Lanka, the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, just like Thomas Paine did for America and France.You can expand this write up, and get there.

      Say, Because I have Common Sense, I will not vote for Mr. Rajapaksa and their criminal cronies for a continuation of a Family Dynasty, and say that Sri Lanka is a Republic.

      Rajapaksa had the opportunity. The power corrupted them. The People are sick of them. They even used Buddhism towards their ends. Even Sinhala Buddhists are fed up them, and they are showing their true colors.

      An Anonymous Author like Thomas Paine is needed with a Common Sense Pamphlet to expose the King, King George, the Rajapaksa Clan. Read, the Common Sense Pamphlet , by Thomas Paine, that inspired the American Revolution along with the other events. Common Sense (pamphlet)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Sense_(pamphlet)

      Produce a Commons sense Pamphlet for Sri Lanka and say why it is in the best interest of the people of Sri Lanka to remove the King, aka Rajapaksa Dynasty from power and let the Republic be a Republic and Not a dynasty. This Pamphlet, in Sinhala, Tamil and English, need to be sent to each and every Sri Lankan Citizen, just like Thomas Paine’s Common Sense pamphlet.

  • 6
    0

    Mr. Elkaduwa

    A perceptive analysis that comes our way but rarely. Written after due meditation and much thought, it is as edifying as it is interesting. Inferences and conclusions are derived from a study of facts and some research into statistics. Claim to credibility is thereby reinforced. Written with eyes and ears close to the ground and to reality, the suggested prescriptions should find favour with those of political consequence.

    Readers may wish to see more like the above.

  • 4
    0

    It is very easy to re-do any agreement that was signed by the Rajapakses because one is safe assuming there was a bribe paid. Therefore you call on the parties involved and say…show up with the money, alter the agreement to market rates or face confiscation of assets.

    Governments around the world do this. India just did this to aunty Jaya. If there is a will to implement the full force of the law, WITHOUT FAVOURATIONS, then the public will whole-heartedly support the cause. If as in the past, the implementation is selective and arbitrary, then we will be swinging on the Murunga atta again!

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    UPFA has itself imposed a barrier to minority votes by encouraging BBS. Even if they give perks and other SANTHOSAM to Muslim MP’s their community would not come terms with them any more the way they went on anatogonizing them. All that can happen would be elimination such Muslim leaders at the elections. This well proved in UVA and would be better displayed at Presidential election. Even President try to commence his election campaign from North, it would disastrous to expect any support from North for his reelection. Eastern would be no better with both Muslims and Tamils working against. The only minority that is with MR is estate Tamils. MR wants to ensure total backing of estate vote. It on this thinking he goes on throwing Ministries to all Tamil MP’s in the estate areas. We hope opposition make a note of this. What MR, GR et al now try to do would be use address Sinhala Buddist through BBS to enhance its support of this group. This again can misfire because their aggressive campaign could led to losing UPFA support from estate sector as well as that of Christians. Popes visit would not be an answer to such a situation already Christians know what happened to their places of worship in the past. So for both UPFA and the opposition balancing their act is very vital in this anticipated closely contested fight.

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    Opposition has a good chance of winning the Presidential election because of the total support from both minorities, Muslims & Tamils,
    whose feeling were hurt by ruling party in recent times, but RW
    is not the right choice as he is not seen by people as a serious candidate to beat the incumbent President. Ranil has the PR but he has not expressed his stand on important issues affecting the country,
    all these years. He has no foreign policy. He will opt for the West & USA but neighbourly big brothers , like India & China may not stand by him on this issue. People will think twice to vote this time as they
    will certainly look for the suitability of the opposing candidate. If they are voting for opposition, they are voting for a regime change
    that will ensure right man/woman gets the vote.

    It is going to be very difficult for the opposition to select a common
    candidate and it may be too late, unless they rope in CBK, if rank and file of UNP agrees sincerely to support her with an written agreement.
    JVP may play a hide and seek game and only CBK can get them around and she could get the hard core SLFPers into her fold.

    Governing party may like to play the communal card,by rewinding and playing the Ltte song and will still insist that TNA wants division of the country but doubt whether the Sinhala Buddhists will buy that story this time as it is history, already. It will be a misconception if the ruling party hopes to win on communal lines as people are fed up with that story and more concerned about high cost of living & they are more politically educated now. UPFA,UNP,TNA,JVP & Muslim congress hold the vote banks and some of the smaller parties and their leaders are already written off and its the juggle in the above parties that will pave the way for a new President.

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    Excellent analysis Mr. Elkaduwa. All leading politicians and their consultants should read your articles at least twice to see your arguments and analysis clearly.
    Your analysis give some hope that there is a possibility SL may put a step forward after going backward for a long time….. Thank you……

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    That the TNA will have no choice but to support a common opposition candidate is a very Big assumption. The question is why should they? Especially if there is hardly any difference between the two devils? At best they may render lukewarm support to the common opposition candidate which may be of little help!

    Surely, the TNA will never assume that the national question is a minor problem!

    Sengodan. M

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    I think the thinking in this article is primitive with respect to what is happening in the present world.

    On purpose, I don’t want to explain what I wrote.

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    A very plausible analysis based on numbers and trends.

    The majority of the people of all communities are disgusted with this government and the members of parliament who are with the government today. This disgust is no longer whispered, but openly expressed. The moral and ethical nerve of the people has been painfully touched. The pains of the cost of living amidst the ostentatious living and profligacy of those associated with the government has touched a raw nerve. Ours is yet one of the most beautiful countries in the world. No beautification project will change that fact. A clean-up , upgrading and modern amentities were of course required. These were what the government had to do. they were not a manna from heaven for the people. The pithy remark one hears frequently, ” Sir, api paara kanda puluvande”, clearly portrays the felings of the common man.

    The worm has not only turned, but it is beginning to run! It was not a worm we assumed it to be. It was rabbit that had been mesmerized by the war victory. It has come out of its prolonged sleep-like state now. No trick of the government can turn the tide or stop the run or the run out in cricketing parlance). If the opposition loses in the prevailing circumstances, it will have to take the blame. It would be losing easily winnable elections.

    I once again ask, as in many times before, what is so important about abolishing the ‘Executive Presidency’? Why cannot it be circumscribed in its scope and re-defined in a new constitution? The position has been abused, because it has been designed to be abused. It is the design and fit that are wrong, not the cloth.

    I remember an incident under the Soulbury constitution, where T.B.Ilangaratne influnced the decision of the supposed to be an independent institution, with a single phone call. The Chairman of the PSC at that time was Seneviratne (Sita Molamure’s husband). The politically influencing ruined the the career of an able senior officer and adversely affected the lives of his family.

    The sad stories of the Senate and the Privy Council need no mention. Of course substantial damage to the unity and peace in this country was inflicted during the Soulbury constitution. This was the prelude to what unfolded subsequently.

    Further, all constitutions in Sri Lanka have been abused, including the Soulbury constitution, which was the best designed, both in letter and spirit, by the governments in power. What is wrong are not the constitutions to a large extent, but the quality of persons we elect to govern us. This is the elephant in the room and unless it is recognised, our system of governance cannot be qualitatively improved. We will be only electing lamer horses each time we go to the polls!

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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    In presidential election peoples choice is in between Mahinda VS Ranil. These provincial election statistics will not apply on this situation. Ranil who is unable to obtain singhala Buddhist votes has no chance of winning this race. JVP will never back Ranil. If jvp contest Mahinda will have to go for second round count. Jvp can grow under this regime. If any case jvp directly or indirectly support for Ranil to win, that is the end of JVP. So JVP indirectly support Mahinda to win.Sajith knows Ranil could not win. After election once again revolts will be in UNPto remove Ranil. In SLFP Mahind will remove most Chandrika loyalist after election. They will not get nomination to contest or allow them to defeat in election. Because of this some SLFP Chandrika loyalist will cross over to UNP before presidential polls.

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    Saman,I agree with you.RW has a difficult proposition.There is one factor that had not been taken into consideration by all who analysed the political future. The employed especially the govt servants.There is a horde and they have voted with the UPFA.They are an effective bank for propaganda work.The other problem is the butcher’s son. If the UNP has principles it should send the butcher’s son home.Moneragala did not vote because of the butcher.The Tamils will not with the butcher’s son as he had been castigating the Tamil every time he open his mouth in the parliament.

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    A good analysis of corrupt MARA regime whose family ruined our nation. He wins or not curse will follow you to destroy you and your family soon

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