30 September, 2020

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A Victory For ‘Democratic Revolution’

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Both President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremasinghe have called the ongoing change a ‘revolution’ whatever the attendant infirmities or exaggerations. It is through the same democratic processes that those weaknesses could be rectified. The participation of the people and the civil society is of paramount importance. If January 8th was the first stage of that revolution, today, the August 17th undoubtedly is going to be the second stage.

The following is what Wikipedia gives as a definition for democratic revolution.

“A democratic revolution is a political science term denoting a revolution in which a democracy is instituted, replacing a previous non-democratic government, or in which revolutionary change is brought about through democratic means, usually without violence.” (Emphasis is not mine).

The January change was a partial but a great victory. People at that election ousted the authoritarian president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, nevertheless the Parliament remained the same. That is why a second stage of that revolution is necessary. Although the President became the President of the SLFP and the UPFA, the ‘old regime’ did not want to give up power. The ‘bring back Mahinda’ movement signified the machinations of the ‘old regime.’

Now we have passed that stage and the decision is placed before the people again to take a wise and a rational decision to move forward without rancour or violence towards a more democratic direction to ensure ‘sustainable development’ and ‘prosperity for all,’ without distinction as to religion, ethnicity or any other.

A Possible Scenario

It is unlikely that any political party or a group of parties, either the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) or the old regime’s United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) would obtain more than 113 seats in Parliament to comfortably form a majority government. That is one predicament of the present proportional representation and the current ‘balance of political forces’ since particularly the JVP and the TNA are contesting independently. That was not the case at the presidential elections on 8th January or one may call at the ‘first stage’ of the revolution.

The second stage appears to be little more complicated in terms of electoral politics.

Ranil Ravi MaithriThe most possible and most desirably scenario, under the circumstances, would be for the UNFGG to take a lead and then a National Government could easily be formed with the support of the ‘truly democratic’ sections of the SLFP loyal to President Maithripala Sirisena. Such a national government, Ranil Wickremasinghe as the Prime Minister, is not going to be a minority government like in the recent past after January, but a majority government with the UNFGG and the UNP as the leading party or the force.

I would personally urge the President not to take the ‘undesirable’ and ‘opportunist’ elements from the SLFP or the UPFA into such a Cabinet or even appoint them as Deputy Ministers. There is a paramount need to have a ‘clean’ and a ‘stable’ government.

Rajapaksa to the Dustbin

There can be a lesser possibility that the UPFA would have a lead, either obtaining 113 seats or coming closer to that mark. The possibility of the UPFA obtaining 113 is however quite remote and almost zero. Even if it is the case, the UPFA is terribly split because of Rajapaksa ambitions and there is a strong opposition within the SLFP not to have Mahinda Rajapaksa as the PM. This is apart from President Sirisena’s position. President Sirisena has discussed hypothetically or polemically his position under such a scenario as the President of the SLFP (and not as the President of the country) in his letter to Rajapaksa dated 12 August 2005. The following quotes are my translations from that letter.
First:

“At the forthcoming elections, if the UPFA manages to reach the minimum 113 mark of seats to form a government, I believe who should be appointed as the Prime Minister is a senior member of the SLFP who so far has failed to have this opportunity.”

Therefore in plain ‘Sinhalese,’ Rajapaksa is out. In President’s opinion and wish it should go to another senior member of the SLFP.
Second:

“In case, the UPFA failing to near the 113 mark and only come closer, then as the Executive President I can intervene to obtain the necessary other seats to form a government. Even in this event, who should become the Prime Minister is not you but another senior member of the party.” (My emphasis).

The second statement makes it more imperative, categorically saying, NOT YOU (oba novai).

As we have already pointed out, Sirisena has written the letter not as the President of the country, but the President of the SLFP. It is not a constitutional position that he has articulated, but a political one as the leader of the SLFP. Everyone knows however that he is ‘two in one.’ Therefore, what he says as the President of the SLFP has an underpinning as the President of the country.

In simple words, it is clear that Rajapaksa does not entertain consensus within the UPFA, particularly the SLFP, to make him the person who ‘commands the (majority) confidence of Parliament’ according to Article 43 (3). It would not be an arbitrary decision by the President but the political reality.

Even in the case of the UPFA winning a clear majority, the person “most likely to command the confidence of Parliament” would be Ranil Wickremasinghe and not Rajapaksa. This may appear contradictory to some, but that is not the case in reality. The declared policy of Maithripala Sirisena at the January election, and thereafter, and the policy of the UNFGG is to form a ‘national government.’ This is what is necessary for the second stage of the ‘democratic revolution.’

Taking Over the SLFP

More importantly, President Maithripala Sirisena has moved decisively to take control of the SLFP and also the UPFA. In addition to his letter to Mahinda Rajapaksa, denouncing the latter’s destructive politics of communalism or racism (vargawadaya), Sirisena has also suspended Anura Priyadarshana Yapa as the SLFP General Secretary, and Susil Premajayanth as the UPFA General Secretary. These decisions are endorsed by the District Court of Colombo based on the SLFP constitution.

One may think that these decisions are late, and if these decisions were taken earlier, even Rajapaksa could have been prevented from contesting from the SLFP or the UPFA. Even I felt the same when the President failed to prevent Mahinda Rajapaksa contesting. But better late than never.

On the other hand, if these sackings were done closer to the nomination time or before, then they could have led to unnecessary legal battles and even violent conflicts. The smooth control of the SLFP would not be the result. The rationale of these moves at this stage is not that the UPFA is winning, but losing. It is particularly to preserve the SLFP and to reorganize it as a ‘Social Democratic Party,’ representing all communities that this decision has been taken in addition to preserve the ‘democratic revolution’ that was unleashed in January. This is very clear from the letter that President has written to Rajapaksa. Undoubtedly, Rajapaksa and his acolytes, particularly Yapa and Premajayanth, are to be blamed for the impending defeat.

The appointment of Professor Wiswa Warnapala as the (acting) General Secretary of the UPFA has a special meaning. He has necessary connections with the two main (old) leftist parties (CP and the LSSP) and others to possibly win over them from Rajapaksa’s communalist scheme without dragging the country into another ’83 July. Under the immediate circumstances, it would not be Susil Premjayanth who would be handling the selections under the UPFA national list, but Wiswa Warnapala on the advice of the President. Warnapala, a former Minister and a long standing SLFP member, perhaps is the only academic in politics who has not tainted his career through opportunistic politics like GL Peiris or Rajiva Wijesinha.

Danger of Communalism

There is a more profound reason to take over the SLFP and the UPFA at the brink of the elections. There are great possibilities that certain sections of the UPFA would be planning communal violence, at post-elections, after their impending defeat. President Sirisena has named them as ‘gangs and groups’ (kalli saha kandayam), in his letter to Rajapaksa.

The President would be undoubtedly taking firm security measures to thwart any efforts at communal violence aftermath of the elections whoever wins. It is to preserve the good name of the SLFP and the UPFA, under such circumstances, that the President has taken over the control of those political organizations. After all he is the leader of the SLFP and the UPFA, however they have been hijacked by the unscrupulous ‘gangs and groups.’

President in his letter has accused Rajapaksa that “during the last nine years that you were leading, the SLFP has become a party that has disregarded (pitu pe) the plural realty of the country.” He has also asked the question from Rajapaksa that “haven’t you realized that this [communal] extremism that you inflame has worked against you for your defeat on the 8th of January?” It is the word ‘vargawadaya’ (meaning racism) that he has used in disgust against Rajapaksa.

The letter to Rajapaksa and the takeover of the SLFP have a close connection with a firm determination to reorganize the party. The five paged letter is like a blueprint for that reorganization, the full contents of which could be discussed at a later occasion. The two important principles that the President has declared firmly in order to re-build the SLFP are ‘Social Democracy’ and ‘Pluralism.’

There cannot be any doubt that Sri Lanka is at the brink of the second stage of the ‘democratic revolution.’

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Latest comments

  • 11
    4

    Dr. Laksiri Fernando

    RE: A Victory For ‘Democratic Revolution’

    Hope you are doing well.

    None of the Sri Lankan writers would come up with the Common Sense Pamphlet for Sri Lankans.

    the President Mr. Maitripala Sirisena, became the Common (Sense) Candidate and defeated Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa on January 8, 2015 with the help of the people with Common Sense. So, the President, Maitripala Sirisena, in Apparent disgust with Mahinda Rajapaksa, his cronies and slaves, produced the long letter, mini-Common Sense Phamplet, because, Still there was no Common Sense Phamplet from the Writers.

    So, the President, in apparent disgust with Mahinda Rajapaksa, his cronies and the salves, “Wahhalu”, who follow Mahinda Rajapaks blindly, came up with his Mini Common Sense Phamplet, on August 14th, as a direct letter to Mahinda Rajapaksa, MaRa Maa Chatu MaRa Amana MaRa HoRa MaRa Dhushana MaRa.

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/maithri-reconfirms-his-stance-mahinda-rajapakasa-wont-be-pm/

    Maithri Reconfirms His Stance: Mahinda Rajapakasa Won’t Be PM

    All the writers need to do now is translate to English and Tamil, and summarize it so that it will be easy to read for all Sri Lankans, with and without Common Sense.

    • 1
      2

      Dr. Laksiri Fernando

      RE: A Victory For ‘Democratic Revolution’

      Given below is an Audio Summary of President Maitripala Sirisenas’s Mini-Common Sense Phamplet.

      [Edited out]

    • 0
      0

      Last year this time, we were in chaos. See people s power is above everything. Recalling my visit paid to lanka last November. There I was compelled to vomit whereever I moved in cmbo. It is all because of the placard displays that sometimes go to sky high. Who were behind them – some advertised agencies that worked for the agendas of PSEUDO royal Rajapakshes.
      Where had these funds originally been coming from – TAX PAYERS MONEY – Rajapakshe let alone today should respond to the questions raised by people.

  • 12
    3

    well said sir,

    ‘…Warnapala, a former Minister and a long standing SLFP member, perhaps is the only academic in politics who has not tainted his career through opportunistic politics like GL Peiris or Rajiva Wijesinha.

    These 2 scumbugs who was kissing the backside of the Medamulana rogues are a shame for the intellectuals of this country.

    • 6
      3

      Matilda Ellepola

      “These 2 scumbugs who was kissing the backside of the Medamulana rogues are a shame for the intellectuals of this country.”

      At Last count there were 200 of them at Peradeniya.

    • 1
      0

      I dont think that Rajeeva really kissed MR`s backside. He was like ASAI BAYAI. criticised MR regime, but not wholeheartedly. Dr. Fernando and few other writers did their job to the core informing folks. I wish you Dr. Fernando all the best with your health. We are always with you. You fought by bringing all the facts about MR regime. God is always with fair people – is evident to me.

  • 11
    4

    The political revolution which took place on the 8th Jan is quite remarkable, Sri Lankans have managed to discharge megalomaniac without resorting any kind of violence or blood barth. It is said this political masterstroke which made MS the presidential candidate is discussed in many political science studies (I read this somewhere)

    It is indeed a masterstroke, I like many though we are stuck with MARA for foreseeable future but it was not to be.

    We have proved we are smart through our history, present times by becoming only country in the world to defeat terrorism militarily.

    Even with that there were some anxious moments before the presidential election results were confirmed.

    Now again the same anxiety is back we have to wait for few more hours before we can see the outcome of the election.

    The results for good or bad will be a new chapter in Sri Lanka post independence, post defeat of LTTE and end of terrorism in Sri Lanka.

    I am hopeful common sense will prevail at the end. It’s hard to believe that majority of Sri Lankans will be so blind to vote MARA factions back to power.

    The race will be tough but victory should be achieved even by a simple majority. We Sri Lankans deserve that much !

  • 4
    2

    Excellent analysis.. How so many people including me haven’t noticed that letter was sent by the political party president MS, but not by country president…It is very important.. That party portfolio give rights to MS not to nominate MR as PM and write a long letter like that..President MS writing those opinions are controversial. All TV News and papers said President MS sent that letter (or I heard it like that?)

  • 7
    3

    Refreshing and invigorating to read your articles. Please continue writing as we enjoy very much the clarity of thinking and logic and common sense that permeates each line and paragraph. You are a true professor unlike the bootlicking scumbags like DJ and GLP and RW who have allowed the term professor to degenerate to the lowest levels of intellect and political expediency. We will be lucky that after this election and Ranil takes over this scum will be wiped out of the political field and end up sharing manioc with the king who has lost his throne.

  • 2
    2

    Well Written Laksiri. You were one of the Sri Lankan academic extended un conditional support to MR in his 2005 and 2010 presidential elections and particularly, endorsing his racist propaganda.

    It seems to me that you have learnt a lesson and realised your past error. Welcome to the democratic activism in Sri Lanka to create a true multi ethnic, multi religious and multi party democracy with transparent and accountable good governance with rule of law, of which we will have to go long way.

    • 2
      0

      One need not be an academic to figure out which side of bread to butter. Crossover Sport of politics in Sri Lanka is not limited to politicians only but open to all, including Academics.

  • 2
    3

    Dr. Laksiri:
    You have missed the name of Dayan Jayatilaka among tainted opportunistic politico-academics. In a way he is worse than G.L. and Rajiva.

  • 2
    2

    Common sense is very uncommon with the majority,we tasted the Mara rule that did not benefit the majority masses nor the country.lets pray for a brighter future. Tomorrow is the day of reckoning paradise or don’t cry for me sri-Lanka.

  • 4
    5

    Sirisena’s Democracy is to muzzle the Sinhala Buddhist majority, and let the Elite,, Anglicans and the Vellalas rule them.

    Photo says it all .. Doesn’t it.

    Budusarai to Sirisena for castrating the Sinhala Buddhist nation..

  • 5
    8

    “Srilnaka heading for troubled waters” says, Asia Times quoting mainly Reuters..

    After Sirisena back stabbed Mahinda, Sinhala Elite Faction is deeply divided.says AT.

    In fact it is more than that.

    The division has totally separated the the Sinhala Buddhist Elite from the Christian and English speaking Elite .

    And eliminated what ever clout the former had in the Government.

    And Ranil who represents only the latter, will make sure the former loses the lot.

    Ranil will restore the 60s rule back, with all Armed Forces in the hands of Non Buddhists .

    ART says Unemployment will increase, Debts will rise, Social unrest will increase which are all statements of the obvious.

    And these nasties will be all among the great majority who voted against The President.

    To control unrest Ranil needs the Forces under him.

    Sinhala Buddhist Elite should read this article, before they set off to cross Ranil’s box to day..

  • 4
    3

    KASmaalam

    My humble request to you.

    I know Sinhalese and Tamils are prone to self destruction. It doesn’t mean you have to empty half a bottle of malt in ten minutes and type this stupid gobbledygook.

    I really worry about your present state of mind and physical condition. You are worried. How are you going to handle the election results on early Tuesday morning. Can you manage.

    You know MR’s election defeat would be much harder for you. However you handled yourself well after the presidential election defeat why worry now?

    • 1
      1

      Dear Native,

      I don’t agree, Pirahaparan killed a few Vellalas, But he also created the wealthiest immigrant group in the West next to Jews.

      And guaranteed free access for Tamils who are still in Srilanka to join their mates anytime they wish.

      I totally agree with your assessment of the Sinhala Buddhists.

      Singapore Dollars and Alms from the Elite induced some of our heavies in robes like Sobithas and Mahanayakas in to selective memory mutation to forget all about Pirahaparan and his supporters.

      They even forgot , Aranthalawa, Sri Maha Bidhiya , and even the Temple of the Holy Tooth in Kandy.

      Caretakers of the last are now the number one supporters of the PM, who gave Mr Pirahaparan self rule although Pira didn’t accept it for some unknown reason.

      Now Ranil is ready to adorn the ISGA with extra bells and whistles and even a Federal Flag and hand it to the Vellalas.this time.

      And the Malwatta and Asgiriya will chant Pirith and tie Pirith Nule when PM Ranil swear in as the legit PM this time.

      That will be Okay, because the great majority of the inhabitant population who are going to get shafted, have no interest in the North except their life long dream to worship Lord Buddha’s Foot Print in Nagadeepa.

      Only hassle for them would be a Federal tax which will hurt them when added on top of Ranil’s bitter Economic medicine, which he and his Expert Yahapalana Ministers will dispense.

      They have already planned to cull the Public and Semi Government employees, increase taxes on food items, cut funding to village schools , privatize Health care , Hospitals, TB, CWE ,Universities and even put a Tax on our drinking water.

      And putting the blame on Rajapaksas to hood wink the masses again.

      Native you too should read that article in Asia Times, which is sourced from Reuters not Chinese…

  • 2
    5

    How sad you have forgotten about Ranil’s proved brutalities by Batalanda Commission. Hopefully this will remind you.
    [Edited out]

  • 3
    3

    Dr. Laksiri,
    It seems to be you forgot political history of Sri Lanka,

    Can you remember JRJ of Dharmishta Samajaya?,

    try to block SLFP by removing Mrs. Srima Bandaranayaka’s civil rights (may be because, her government killed 10000 youths in 1971 April, corruptions and bla bla), This same MR too arrested, CBK’s husband Viyaja arrested calling him as a Naxelite to warn CBK.

    Why all those actions? to keep his UNP in government…! but after JRJ’s Dharmishta era gone and 100,000 youths from south as well as north killed.

    But history and voters act differently, all these SLFP leaders, Mrs. Bandaranakaya, CBK and MR become top and governed Sri Lanka……!

    Then CBK try corner Mr. Clean(after CB Bond issue, you may write some article about him, after few more years) with Batalanda but he is PM now….!

    So we have to be politically careful when we predict of political animals my friend.

    Today CBK and MY3 try to save SLFP but both of them people who runaway with others to take power, even MY3 will regret his marriage with Mr. Clean.

    Both Sirima (Mrs. Bandaranayaka) and Mara accused of same corruptions and killings…..!

  • 10
    3

    When you sit back and analyse what has happened, you have to admit that president Sirisena is a very smart operator; how he uses the limited and poisoned options available to him. His actions look smart, well reasoned, well timed and statement-like and in comparison Rajapakeses’ mechanisations looks crude, brutish, easy-to-see-through and juvenile.

    Known or unbeknown to president Sirisena – either by design or coincidence – Rajapakse has to have this second defeat (if it happens) at the hands of the people to put his political ambitions to rest. If he was defeated by Sirisena at the nominations-stage (by not giving him nominations)there would be many lingering questions left unanswered.

    • 2
      1

      Lanken election results always depend on the stupid fraction that voted for.
      We perfectly know that those folks across the country are not informed to vote for. Their brains had been fed with cow dung produced by Rajapakshe et al for the last 10 years. Be a high crime or not, Rajapakshe neglected them not addresseing the issue going through prevailing law system.
      Anyways, If analysts believe that the country is filled with the mentioned, we have to aceept, them to have voted for the most unacceptable person. In developed world, Democracies have a greater meaning while that can ruin in the developing world. See, if MR would be relecated for narrow agendas – what will be the consequences towards the future. Like or not people s mandate will have to be accepted. There, even Prez of the nation will be pushed on to deeper. Rajapakshe should be brought before the court by every means- is the view of many as I spoke to them two weeks ago during my short visit

  • 3
    1

    Here is my prediction.

    UNP 125 UNPF 48 JVP 23 TNA 22 SF 3 OTHERS 4 TOTAL 225

    LANDSLIDE FOR UNP and also for young people who really want change and not backward village rule.

    Still curious about how some members of the Sirisena family became rich. How did his son go to School in UK? how does a Grama Sevaka’s son do that? how did his daughter and son in law get a big hotel in Polonnaruwa? through savings? Why cant the liberals who defend him at least raise those questions.

  • 0
    0

    The revolution after they’ve told you what you think it is you want to hear-
    all those one off cases except the bond issue.
    .

    Dictators free themselves, but they enslave the people. Charlie Chaplin

    getting hungry.

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