10 December, 2018

Blog

A Way Out Of The Crisis To Save Sri Lanka’s Democracy 

By SWR de A Samarasinghe –

Prof. S W R de A Samarasinghe 

Sri Lanka’s democracy is at a crossroads. Its future is now primarily in the hands of the Supreme Court, President Maithripala Sirisena, Mahinda Rajapaksa and his SLPP, and Ranil Wickremesinghe and his UNP.

Verdict in favour of dissolution

The Supreme Court verdict due to be given on Saturday December 8th has to either confirm the constitutionality and legitimacy of President Sirisena’s decision to dissolve parliament or reject the decision as an illegitimate decision that violates the constitution. If the decision goes in favour of Sirisena, in effect, it will also be a decision in favour of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Such a decision is likely to have the following consequences. 

1. In confirming the constitutionality of the dissolution, the Supreme Court will contradict the viewpoint of many of the leading constituitonal scholars and lawyers who have publicly stated that President Sirisena’s action was in violation of the letter of the Constitution. Such a verdict may call into question the validity of constituitonal governance. 

2. The events in the last six weeks clearly demonstrate that such a decision will go against the spirit of democracy. The parliament has demonstrated that a majority of the MPs are for the continuation of the government that existed before October 26. The Parliament has also demonstrated on more than ne occasion that Mahinda Rajapaksa does not enjoy the support of a majority (minimum of 113 MPs) in parliament. 

3. The dissolution of parliament at this juncture is not a victory for “people’s sovereignty” or democracy as some would claim. People’s sovereignty is protected when governance accords with the rule of law. Arbitrary action, in this instance the sudden holding of elections, by the executive branch to suit its narrow political goals is not a triumph for people’s sovereignty or democracy. It is the exact opposite. Such elections are held in banana republics and tin pot dictatorships to acquire a veneer of legitimacy for undemocratic governments.  Sri Lanka’s 88-year-old democracy belongs to a more genuine tradition of democracy, and it would be a great tragedy if that tradition were to be abandoned starting with this crisis.

4. The Judiciary is the co-equal third branch of government in a democracy. One of its greatest constitutional obligations is to resolve disputes that can arise between the Legislative Branch and the Executive Brach of government. In the present crisis, so far, the Judiciary has acted with remarkable restraint, honour and integrity as the defender of the last resort of our democracy.   If the Supreme Court legitimizes the dissolution of parliament, the judiciary will lose its credibility and standing as the defender of democracy not only in the eyes of a large number of the Sri Lankan public but also in the eyes of the entire democratic world.

Verdict against dissolution

If the Supreme Court returns a verdict that the dissolution is unconstitutional, the following consequences will follow.

1. Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cabinet that took office after October 26th will become illegitimate unless it suddenly manages to produce the 113 MPs in parliament to support it. Securing the support of 113 MPs is unlikely to happen.

2. President Sirisena will have to appoint an MP who commands the confidence of the majority.  However, he has publicly declared that he will not appoint Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister even if all 225 MPs in parliament want him. 

3. President Sirisena’s antipathy towards Wickremesinghe then calls for flexibility on the part of the 122 or so MPs who want to return to the pre October 26 situation. The TNA and the JVP are not insisting on Wickremesinghe being appointed PM. Presumably some of the other smaller parties will also not mind somebody other than Wickremesinghe being appointed PM. That leaves Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP that has the largest number of MPs in the group to take a decision that gives a way out for President Sirisena while protecting the dignity and credibility of Wickremesinghe and the immediate and long term political interests of the UNP.

Options for the UNP 

UNP can opt to name Mr. Karu Jayasuriya as the candidate for PM. In the past he was seen as a mild-mannered gentleman not particularly suited to the rough and tumble of politics. His conduct in the past six weeks showed that he is also a brave man made of sterner stuff willing to face adverse conditions and stand his ground for what he believes in.

The nation’s immediate and urgent need is to stabilize the situation, both in governance and the economy. In the last few days several global Investors Service companies have downgraded Sri Lanka’s sovereign bond rating as well as the ratings of some of the country’s major financial institutions such as the Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank, Hatton National Bank and Sampath Bank. Unless quick remedial action is taken, the country will have a difficult time ahead. Mr. Jayasuriya is probably the best qualified to build a national consensus to seek solutions. 

Speaker Jayasuriya has an outstanding record of public service that few Sri Lankan politicians can match. He served his country as a commissioned officer in the Sri Lanka Army volunteer force from 1965 to 1972. He was Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Germany from 1992 to 1994. From 1997 to 1999 he was Mayor of Colombo and served as leader of the opposition of the Western Provincial Council from 1999 to 2001.  He first entered parliament on 2001 and held several cabinet positions. He has been a top business leader in the private sector for several decades. 

Mr.  Jayasuriya is acceptable to almost every section of society: Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim; Buddhists, Hindus, people of the Islamic faith, and Christians; and urban and rural. Mr. Jayasuriya also has the support of the Sri Lankan business community. He also has wide international recognition and support that is a must to mobilize foreign investment and assistance to revive the wobbly economy. 

President Sirisena has publicly declared that he is able to work with Mr. Jayasuriya. That is a huge plus. 

Given his age, 79, Mr. Jayasuriya is not a threat to Mr. Wickremesinghe or to any other aspiring leader in his political party such as Sajith Premadasa. Mr. Wickremesinghe can remain as party leader and, if he so desires, also prepare as candidate for the next presidential election. 

Mr. Premadasa has publicly declared that he is not ready to lead the party just now. But a settlement along the lines proposed here will give him an opportunity to prepare for the next parliamentary election as UNP’s prime ministerial candidate. A period of stability in the party and in the country will give Premadasa as well as other young aspiring leaders in the UNP, SLFP, SLPP and even currently politically unaffiliated individuals who have expressed an interest in contesting the next presidential election, an opportunity to prepare to take greater responsibility. 

Ranil Wickremesinghe

Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe bears a major responsibility to help find a solution to this national crisis. Mr. Wickremesinghe may have weaknesses, but nobody is perfect. Many Sri Lankans may have forgotten the grace with which he left Temple Trees after the parliamentary election of 1994 when some of the other UNP leaders pressured him not to give up his premiership because no single party had won an absolute majority in parliament. Chandrika Kumaratunga’s People’s Alliance had 105 seats to UNP’s 94, and in principle, UNP could have assembled a coalition to remain in power. But Wickremesinghe felt that the people’s verdict was for a change of government and left office.  

He made even a greater sacrifice in 2005. Mahinda Rajapaksa won the 2005 November presidential election by 181,000 votes polling 4.89m. (50.3%) to Wickremesinghe’s 4.71m. (48.4%). It is a widely known fact that Rajapaksa bribed the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to get the latter to prevent Tamils from voting in the electorates in the north and east that the LTTE controlled. Wickremesinghe presumably could have got in to a bidding war to offer even more money to Prabhakaran to secure a normal vote in the Tamil areas. But he did not do so. The poll in the Jaffna District (registered voters 700,000) was only 8,500 (1.2%)  In the few northern and eastern electorates that polled a little more normally such as Mannar (29% of registered voters voted and Wickremesinghe polled 89%), Vavunia (40% & 79%), Kalkudah (45% & 71%) and Batticaloa (56% & 79%), Wickremesinghe won overwhelmingly polling 70% to 90% of the vote. The national poll outside the north and east was mostly around 80%. If we assume that the north and east had a 70% poll, with 30% for Rajapaksa and 70% for Wickremesinghe, the former would have polled a total of about 250,000 votes to the latter’s 500,000 in those electorates. Wickremesinghe would have won the election with an overall majority of about 100,000 votes and got elected as the 5th Executive President of Sri Lanka. 

Today Wickremesinghe is being asked to sacrifice his political ambitions a third time for the sake of the nation. It may be too much to ask from one individual. But if he sacrifices his personal ambition again for the greater good of the nation, people are likely to show their gratitude to him in the near future for rising once again from being a mere politician to that of statesman. The democratic world will salute him as a shining example of how a leader must put country before self in the hour of need to serve the people and save the nation from catastrophe. 

*This article was authored by Professor S W R de A Samarasinghe in consultation with members of the Retired Senior Government Servants Forum that consists of about 50 members, mostly retired Secretaries of Ministries and Heads of Departments. The Forum was one of the signatories to the public appeal that consisted of about 50 civil society organizations made in 2015 to Sri Lankan voters to support the Yahapalanaya candidacy of Maithripala Sirisena. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 18
    2

    A well written analysis. Good on you Professor.

    • 7
      5

      Good analysis. However, Saith Premadasa has shown in this crisis that he is no leader. He also does not even have a university degree, which should be a prerequisite for leadership, and is unfit to lead the UNP or country now or ever! He also, lied about a degee from LSE.
      Also, the Culture of Impunity and Immunity for corrupt politicians who commit Financial Crimes and Hate crimes against people of Lanka must end.
      Bondscam Ranil, who has promised to make Penthouse Ravi. K Minister of Finance must be held accountable for looting the people of Lanka, the IMF-MCC-ADB debt trap that Sri lanka is in, along with his partner in Crime, Mahinda Jarapassa, who he protected for the past 3.5 years.
      The PCOI on the Bondscam at the Central Bank Report must be released and Bondscam ranil and Jarapassa and their cronies share the same prison cell!

      • 1
        0

        Hi Dayan buddy, Is it getting too cold over there for you in the boondoggle? :))

        If Ranil falls dead tomorrow nothing will change in the country; not an iota.

        Ranil is not the problem. Never was. The problems are greater than Ranil …… but I’m not holding my breath for any “academic” to “get” it! :)))

        Unlike any other political figure in the country’s history ……… Ranil is monumentally unpopular because – for better or for worse – he is different to all the other pols people have become accustomed to.

        And every third-rate low-class crook and his dog is flogging the dead horse of Ranil’s unpopularity for their political survival ……. and avoid a honest day’s work.

        Can anyone put it any simpler that that?

      • 0
        0

        Dear Dilmah,
        .
        I agree with most of what you say, but not with some of the thinking implicit in your first paragraph.
        .
        I don’t know if we can think of anything as a prerequisite for leadership. Lying about possessing a degree is much more of a problem, but could you please substantiate. What I understand is that he had enrolled at the London School of Economics. What, in your understanding, happened after that?
        .
        What problems do you see in his reactions to this crisis situation? I think it good that he has steadily maintained support for restoration of the the status quo ante. On the question of leadership of the UNP, most of us probably agree that there is little democracy within the Party, but Sajith has not been rash in staking his claims, while always asserting his readiness to taking it on.
        .
        University degrees? I have one; but there are many who don’t have the qualifications that they allow people to think they have. In my book, Sirisena is educated, his shortcomings are elsewhere. He’s a raving lunatic right now, but we must work out what is likely to be determined as the next step which, according to the Constitution, has to follow if he is impeached.
        .
        The Sirisena whom we elected may have been all right but for the obsession of “English speakers” with the ability that some have for moving comfortably in circles where it is used. English is a foreign language. There can be no objective justification for enthroning it. You haven’t said anything explicit on the subject, so pardon me if that is not your thinking.
        .
        I have come up with refutations; we’ve got to find out more about Sajith!

    • 6
      4

      Dear Prof Samsrasinghe,

      Is Rail the problem , or is it Sirisena and Mahinda, their corruption and greed the problem? suggest that you listen to what JVP has to say. They have 6 legislators in the parliament.

      However, from whatever angle you look st this, this is a constitutional coup, and Sirisena should be impeached. Sagittarius Premafad does not posses the intellect to be the PM.

    • 1
      1

      Soam

      Well written in favor of sb/st.

      Far from truth

      Irony; unprofessional professor.

    • 0
      0

      December 9, 2018
      I am thankful to all those who contributed to the dialogue following my article. I will not attempt to respond to individual comments. But taken in its totality the discussion raises some important issues relating to governance in Sri Lanka in the context of the present crisis.

      Facts
      First, some general principles that I adhere to in analysis and comment and an admission of my own biases. I consider that facts are sacred and one is not entitled to ones own facts. However, facts pose their own problems. Facts are almost never perfect. For example, in my speciality, economics, data on growth, investment and so forth are the facts that we use for analysis. But economic data itself is imperfect. Even if good data is available, a writer may not have full access to such data or may be ignorant of them.

      Opinion
      Everybody is entitled to his or her opinion. We can agree to disagree without being disagreeable. Opinion is usually based on facts, theory, and values. If the facts are faulty the opinion may also have shortcomings. Second, often we write something without making the underlying theory explicit. For example, those who advocate that universal franchise allows “unqualified” people to enter parliament often believe in the theory that nomination for parliament must be limited to those who have, say, a minimum educational qualification. Some may also believe in the theory that voting must also be limited to people who have some minimum educational qualification. I believe in the theory that in a democracy all adults must be allowed to vote. The third major factor that determines opinion is our values and morals. Sometimes “biases” in our opinions arise from differences in our values and morals.

      Bias
      In respect of Sri Lanka’s system of governance I readily admit that I am totally biased towards the preservation of democracy based on practices such as one-person one-vote and the supremacy of rule of law. I believe that as a system of governance democracy alone allows everybody to be considered as having equal moral worth irrespective of gender, ethnicity, caste, economic status, job, level of education and so on.

      Equity
      Democracy also has important practical consequences especially for the underprivileged. As I noted in a recent essay titled “Crisis of Governance: Welfare Implications” (see http://island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=194533 ), for a relatively poor country, Sri Lanka’s atypical good achievements (equity) in education and health are closely associated with the democracy we have had for 88 years. For reasons of social equity alone, it must be protected.

      Existential threat
      I also believe that Sri Lanka’s democracy, albeit not a particularly perfect version as many commentators have rightly noted, is facing an existential threat today. As I noted in my essay it is the duty of the Supreme Court and the three key political actors, Maithripala Sirisena, Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa to find a solution. Politicians want power. Compromise does not come naturally to them. But this crisis is such that it would be good for the country if all concerned settle for half of a loaf.

      Institutional reform
      Assuming that our democracy survives this crisis, the system needs a very substantial intuitional overhaul. In an essay titled “A Strategy and Program for Yaha Paalanaya 2020” that I published in early September (see http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=191155) before this crisis emerged, I outlined a few of the institutional changes that are needed to resurrect Yaha Paalanaya. For example, an independent Ministry of Justice that is answerable not to the president or the executive branch of government but only to parliament will help fight corruption and violation of rule of law by the powerful.

      Constitution
      The present crisis also demonstrates the futility of trying to write detailed Constitutions. Sri Lanka’s 1978 Constitution (English version) with 18 Amendments up to 2010 has about 30,000 words. Such details often lead to inconsistencies that nobody can foresee at the time of drafting. The present court battles illustrate the point. After 40 years the country wants a “new” constitution.

      In contrast the US Constitution that came into effect in 1789 and has lasted 229 years has been amended 27 times and runs into 4,500 words. The Declaration of Independence has another about 1,500 words.

      Societies and their needs change over time. It makes little sense to write very detailed constitutions assuming that such a framework will be suitable for all times. It is better to prepare a basic constitution that spells out a set of lasting and universally valid values (e.g. basic human rights), provides an institutional framework for governance, and let normal legislation take care of the details depending on need. An independent Judiciary can adjudicate and interpret the law in accordance with the Constitution and settle disputes between the legislative and executive braches of government.

      The constitution must not be cluttered with provisions that clearly do not belong to it. A good example is article 33 cc of the 1978 Constitution that spells out the appointment of president’s counsel (PCs). This is a recognition given to lawyers who render outstanding service in their profession. There are plenty of other professions that also have similar schemes of honor but quite rightly have no mention in the constitution. The only explanation I can think of for including this provision is that a set of lawyers who drafted it thought it was a good idea to have it to boost their profession.

      Social Cleavage
      President Sirisena, in trying to explain his antipathy towards Ranil Wickremesinghe, has made some remarks that merit more attention for the implications that they have for the future stability of the country. Sirisena in his address to the Nation in late October stated, inter alia, that “Apart from a (sic.) policy differences, I noted that there were also differences of culture between Mr. Wickremesinghe and me. —- I believe that Mr. Wickremesinghe and his group of closest friends, who belonged to a privileged class and did not understand the pulse of the people conducted themselves as if shaping the future of the country was a fun game they played.” (Colombo Telegraph https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/president-maithripala-sirisenas-address-to-the-nation-full-text/ )

      I do not wish to comment on the two individuals concerned. But Sirisena’s remarks suggest the significant social cleavage that separates the privileged upper crust of society that is largely based in Colombo and the Western Province from the rest of the country. This is not the division between the old pre-1956 privileged upper caste/upper class to which a minority of people belonged largely by accident of birth and the rest of society. What Sirisena refers is a new social cleavage between those who have access to an English education, superior higher education often in expensive foreign universities, and succeed in the professions and business. Many are beneficiaries of free education. A large number come from less privileged backgrounds but have made it to the top. This upper crust has strong global links. They are very competitive and consider themselves to have rightfully earned what they have. Sharing with the less privileged and empathy for the poor country cousins are not a priority or a social obligation for this class. The best evidence on the economic side is the poor income tax payment record of this new rich class. Sirisena’s remarks apply across party lines. MPs and ministers who got rich or super rich after entering parliament are examples.

      This cleavage is not unique to Sri Lanka. It is to be seen in almost every rapidly developing country as well as in the west. The current crisis in France where poor rural people have invaded Paris and set fire to the city is one example. US President Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 with the help of poor white American voters in the less prosperous parts of the country is another. This is not the place to discuss this issue in detail. Even if Sri Lanka’s constituitonal crisis is resolved in the coming days, our democracy is not secure unless we address the underlying malaise that has produced this situation.

      This response covers in general all the contributions that were made to this discussion up to December 09, 2018.

  • 25
    3

    Everyone and all pundits suggest that RW is somehow morally obligated to step down for the greater good of the country. No, he shouldn’t. MS should be legally removed. Need anyone say more?

    • 17
      4

      Thank you, Professor,

      A few comments on your piece as a responsible citizen deeply concerned with the disturbing state of affairs to which the country has been forced into.

      As I recall CBK ousted Ranil in 2004 and not 1994.

      In addition to MR bribing the LTTE, Rajapakses bosom pals, the JVP, engineered Grama Sevakas within their sphere of influence to ensure that ballot papers of potential UNP voters in the country – mainly the urban areas – were not delivered at the last moment. It was estimated Ranil lost close to 500,000 votes here. In the morning of the election I warned Weragoda, then the UNP Secretary, of this. He assured me everything was under control. I told him I was returning after visiting the polling both. I did not get my polling card by post. I was politely refused by officials of my vote.

      What right has Sirisena to insist he will not tolerate Ranil as PM even
      if all MPs want him. This audacious attitude is totally unacceptable.
      Ranil, despite many shortcomings you mention, should be restored as PM and Sirisena dealt with suitably.

      Kettikaran

    • 12
      10

      Ranil should have stepped down long time ago as soon as the bond scam was unraveled because he took the responsibility of appointing Mahendran and also took the Central Bank under him when it had been always under the Finance Ministry!

      • 10
        5

        @RuwanL blind on one side! Did the people who appointed Udayanga Weeratunga, Cabraal, Asantha De Mel, Srilanka Chairman, Mihinlanka chairman, etc. step-down when it was under their command?

  • 3
    4

    I have never seen a donkey statement like (1). This gentleman has not understood why we went to the blind folded lady holding scales.

    Soma

    • 2
      2

      somass

      “I have never seen a donkey statement like (1).”

      What about it?

    • 3
      1

      Soma “….why we went to the blind folded lady holding scales…”

      Somas you are one of those who has been blind folded by the The Rajapakse clan and taken down the garden path,….

    • 2
      1

      somass

      Please listen to Sharmini Serasinghe if you have the intellectual capacity to understand the content:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNbQEM4fRoU&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR36kLFIA3Cgi3y
      _cVr8RA8TfR_HDVXHjJ9zy9FnlNOGdSyS56nC-JYBhFc
      If not there are ways to improve your intellectual capacity.
      Try the following:
      Drinking plenty of water
      Meditating
      Expanding your horizons
      Using positive words
      Be imaginative
      Pleasure reading
      Train your brain
      Consistently learn
      Physical activity
      Get enough sleep
      How you dress
      Developing hobbies
      Being selfless
      Unplugging from social media

  • 3
    11

    Maithripala not firing Ranil and instead of Appointing another PM is not democratic. I think, Ranil should have been arrested as soon as the Bond scam was revealed.

    • 11
      1

      @JD. What is the loss of Ranil’s “Bond Scam” and what is the loss of Srilankan, Mihinlanka, Mig Deal, Hedging deal, Greek bonds, etc. Then we can make a decision who should be arrested.

  • 4
    4

    I always knew that Sirisena was a bad choice for Presidency as the UNP and SLFP policies were polls a part! Sirisena had been a strong advocate of the SLFP policies as he was one of the leaders of the party!

    It should be noted that the constitution should not be tinkered without giving thought to the checks and balances incorporated in it. If the president appoints the PM then he should be able to remove him as the president is the head of the cabinet. If he finds it difficult to work with him he should be able to select a person who is able to work with him as there are candidates in the UNP that have similar view points to the president!

    It should also be noted that the unpopularity of the UNP was apparent with the elections held in February 2018 and the president did request a change in the policy of the then government. This was totally ignored by Ranil though he wowed to change direction but happily continued with the same policies.

    The government should never postpone elections as this is an indication of whether the people are happy with their administration or not!

  • 4
    2

    i cannot see any other solution than ranil stepping down as he has been leader long enough
    i am sure all the unp,s allies would want it this way
    otherwise the country will become ungovernable if the sc declares it unconstituitional

  • 4
    3

    Dear Writer,

    Your professorial designation you identify yourself to deceive the general public.
    Your article is a biased article. The Supreme Court will decide whether the President’s action are in conformity with the constitution and other past practices of similar situations. The Judges and courts will also consider the pragmatism about the President’s actions and decisions. There are many factors that will be considered by the courts. I hope that the court will deliver a judgment that would be fair to the general public of Sri Lanka. In the past there are situations, the courts will not merely go by the documents. For example, there is something called substance versus theoretical notions and removing the corporate curtains. This constitutional crisis is a good opportunity to get the correct interpretations of the constitution and its subsequent amendments on Presidential Powers.
    Therefore, there is no validity of writing these biased opinions. I am waiting for the Supreme Court decision.

    • 1
      3

      Exactly.Sunil Dahanayake. According to the writer the SC is only right if the verdict satisfies his biases. The SC will give a judgement that validates the belief of the common citizen that the best brains of the country are represented in that bench. It is the final arbiter of Constitutional matters not silly elderly gentlemen who write articles about a sub judice issue, prescribing to the highest court in the land how they should decide. What kind of democracy is he advocating? Give me the verdict I want or else you will be sinning against the letter and spirit of democracy!. The writer needs to take his alzheimer medication.

  • 11
    1

    First and foremost, the UNP and the 122 MPs standing for Democracy should not back down and get anybody else to be the PM. It should be Ranil and no-one else. Ranil may have his faults but the events of October 26, was not his doing. MY3 just showed what a dimwit he was by sacking Ranil, appointing MR and then trying to make that magical 113.
    Surely he cannot be such a stupid, and he being our President shames me. His 40+ years in politics has not polished his image because he never had one and has always been in the shadow of someone else. After all he was just a lowly Grama Sevaka, who was pushed to become the President of our country. Just like that lowly doorman, in Sri Lankan folklore who happened to look like the King.
    This brings a very valid argument to my mind, which would be MY3 polled 6.2 million votes out of a total 12+ million or so and was elected by just over 51%, of the people whereas the parliament of 225 were elected by all 12+ million Sri Lankan voters. Hence the Parliament should have a stronger say in running our country and we should ensure that the Executive Presidency is abolished because we cannot experience a situation like this again in our history.
    MY3 is a stupid, dimwit with a village background and has no class in him BUT just imagine if we are to contend with a smart, intelligent, urban character from a good social background then Sri Lanka would be kaput.
    For our luck the military has not got involved in the fracas but just imagine if that smart guy has the backing of the forces and they come out. Then SL wou;ld have hell to pay.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Prof Samarasinghe, in order to comprehend the danger in appointing another person from the UNP instead of Ranil Wickramasinghe please listen to what Dr Jayampathy Wickramaratne says in the last 5 minutes of his talk given below.
    https://www.facebook.com/HarinFernandoMediaUnit/videos/290290595025574/

  • 0
    0

    Prof SWR de A Samarasinghe is looking for “A Way Out Of The Crisis To Save …….”.
    A ‘crisis’ usually starts small and at times grow because of ‘one-thing-leading-to-another’.
    The ‘crisis’ we have has been engineered but the last step did not eventuate. Lankans did NOT take sides and then………….?
    We must not treat this lightly. It is ominous. We may have repeats. The only way to make sure we do not have repeats is to get to the bottom of this ‘crisis’.

  • 0
    0

    MS, RW & MR are putting their personal egos before the Country leading the country on a downward slope. The damage they have caused the country in economic terms and reputation wise is immeasurable. The country sure is heading for a giant Tsunami. If they are real patriots and truly love the country they should retreat and let some independent minds not cluttered by selfish motives tackle the evasive issues.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Professor:
    Verdict in favour of dissolution:
    1. The Supreme Court will contradict many : that is not surprising
    2. The NCM against PM Mahinda Rajapakse came after the gazette notification to dissolve parliament so there is no bearing here.
    3. “Arbitrary action, in this instance the sudden holding of elections, by the executive branch to suit its narrow political goals is not a triumph for people’s sovereignty or democracy. It is the exact opposite”
    This may be true, but has been the tradition in Sri Lanka of dissolving parliament to call elections. All but one parliament served to full term.
    4. “If the Supreme Court legitimizes the dissolution of parliament, the judiciary will lose its credibility and standing as the defender of democracy”
    Here again is a pristine example of political bias. To say that the SC will lose its credibility if it decides one way and not the other borders on insulting the Supreme Court.
    I would simply say that the Supreme Court, whatever the verdict, is doing its job. However in writing the opinion it should be able to convince the people that the decision was with valid reason, there it could lose some credibilty, but not otherwise.
    Verdict Against:
    1. The goverment will continue, its legitimacy is a separate issue and the relevant court case is being heard next.
    Of course there is a way out, but each side wants to be in power when elections are held, you can’t blame them for trying.
    “It is a widely known fact that Rajapaksa bribed the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to get the latter to prevent Tamils from voting in the electorates in the north and east that the LTTE controlled. Wickremesinghe presumably could have got in to a bidding war to offer even more money to Prabhakaran to secure a normal vote in the Tamil areas.”

  • 0
    0

    I hope the Judiciary will act according to the rule of law and proect its image of the nation.
    First, the country should come back to the position that existed before 26th Oct 2018.
    Secondly, The parliament should impeach Sirisena and Rajapakse for the political coup and the damage caused to the country. Remove the civil rights of both.
    Thirdly, the current PM Ranil Wickremasinghe should hand over the PM to a suitable MP who will take forward the country for the rest of the current period.
    During this period, a referundom should he held to get people opinion about removing executive presidency powers.
    Then go for elections as scheduled.

    • 3
      0

      First things first. Let the democracy prevailed. Let Ranil be appointed even for a day. then he could resign and the whole parliament meet and elect the next person who commands the majority support. otherwise we are creating a bad precedent and it violates our Constitution

      • 3
        0

        Thanks, Mugalan.
        .
        ,Point made with great economy of words.
        .
        Ranil will be 70 years old in about 3 months. This argument is obviously not meant for us to persist with Ranil.
        .
        Yes, I mean that. We, the people, collectively, should be calling the shots.

  • 1
    0

    The constitutional crisis is being framed as a challenge to democracy and the actions of the judiciary’s seemingly independent stand is being taken to mean that Sri Lanka is a thriving democracy, which it is not. It does possess features of a democracy(parliamentary assemblies, periodic elections and an independent judiciary) but these attributes are confined to the majority people.
    For a detailed view see
    :http://www.atimes.com/an-evaluation-of-sri-lankas-democratic-credentials//

  • 1
    0

    First things first. Let the democracy prevailed. Let Ranil be appointed even for a day. then he could resign and the whole parliament meet and elect the next person who commands the majority support. otherwise we are creating a bad precedent and it violates our Constitution

    Alternatively Ranil could not contest for the position of PM. He who fights and runaway. Lives to fight another day

  • 1
    0

    The latest is that MS is angry with Ranil for not intervening to stop the arrest of his Secretary who got caught in a bribery act in a parking lot, and now in remand custody. MS thinks Ranil did nothing to come to his aid, to try and shape it up, and may have even been behind that operation to catch his Private Secretary in the act accepting a bribe (was it two million is it?). he was so infuriated and livid about it, that he is insisted his Secretary be removed from office and face the consequences of the law. That was supposedly the trigger point for all his animosity against RW. These are matters which cannot be discussed in the open as it is criminal offense, and the only way he knows how, is to hit-back hard by removing him from his PM post, and appoint his former boss to that post, seemingly to make amends for his party disloyalty and challenging stance at the last (2015) Presidential election. .

  • 0
    0

    If the dissolutions case is won, what UNP is going to decide may have to be connected to the statement released by New King to public after he removed Ranil. It was a long list of crimes committed by Ranil. As Ranil refused to contest any one of these on the court, these stand as they are.

    On the other side Anura Kamara’s and Sumanthiran’s Nov, 14th NCM was made to withdraw as it may incriminate EP is future cases. Though New King can any time prorogue the parliament and appoint anybody as PM what he did at that time was for illegal purposes. This was easily explained in Parliament than in Court. So he played an easy trick on the 122 idiots to replace that NCM. Further, he stopped the PRECIFAC report but published only PCoI report.

    This unequal, unbalanced action has to interpret as some kind of stealthy behavior. Even if Ranil thinks he is safe from any one of those, the future politically opportunistic investigation into those can endanger many UNPyers’ social and political standings. One Example is Ponny emerging as a murder plot criminal in that. We don’t know what else new to come out in the book he said to be released. But the book, unless come out with hardcore evidences, will not be as effective as the statement, for legal action.
    So, UNPyers changing their PM candidate to restore the pre October status quo can amount UNP accepting the accusations found in the statement of EP. But for new election, reorganizing their party is a different issue.

  • 0
    6

    I think Professor Samarasinghe has made a superb suggestion, which I wish to endorse heartily!

    “Mr. Wickremesinghe can remain as party leader and, if he so desires, also prepare as candidate for the next presidential election.”

    Bravo!
    Three cheers!
    Hurrah!
    Right On!
    Way to go!

    • 3
      0

      Listen to Dr Jayampathy Wickramaratne’s talk please. You will realize what an idiot you are.
      https://www.facebook.com/HarinFernandoMediaUnit/videos/290290595025574/

    • 2
      0

      Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      With or without your endorsement Prof. S W R de A Samarasinghe ‘s article stands out on its own merit.

      Your endorsement has only cast doubts in the minds of the readers.

    • 4
      0

      Hi buddy, Is it getting too cold over there for you in the boondoggle? :))

      If Ranil falls dead tomorrow nothing will change in the country; not an iota.

      Ranil is not the problem. Never was. The problems are greater than Ranil …… but I’m not holding my breath for any “academic” to “get” it! :)))

      Unlike any other political figure in the country’s history ……… Ranil is monumentally unpopular because – for better or for worse – he is different to all the other pols people have become accustomed to.

      And every third-rate low-class crook and his dog is flogging the dead horse of Ranil’s unpopularity for their political survival ……. and avoid a honest day’s work.

      Can anyone put it any simpler that that?

    • 4
      0

      Dr Dayan Jayatilleka:
      You had to add your judgemental comment to this discussion didn’t you? After all there is nothing precluding self-seeking stooges whose political allegiances go all the way from holding participating in Tamil separatist entities to Mahinda Rajapaksa to ….. goodness knows where!
      You deliberately fail recognise the major contribution that Karu Jayasuriya made to political hangers-on like you when he took 18 UNPers across the floor to join Mahinda Rajapaksa who proceeded to legislate a veritable dictatorship in this country with their votes. Do I have to name the beneficiaries of the path that was trod?
      He did return to the anti-Mahinda ranks but ALONE, and not before he had help feather the nests of a plethora of other political stooges.
      Enough of this distortion of recorded history.
      Karu Jayasuriya was a major contributor to the single largest problem that Sri Lanka faces today: an attempt to turn away from dictatorship. You and that son-in-law of his can sing his praises till the cows come home, but historical facts are there in the plain light of day.

    • 3
      0

      Dayan.
      Did you read this:
      He made even a greater sacrifice in 2005. Mahinda Rajapaksa won the 2005 November presidential election by 181,000 votes polling 4.89m. (50.3%) to Wickremesinghe’s 4.71m. (48.4%). It is a widely known fact that Rajapaksa bribed the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to get the latter to prevent Tamils from voting in the electorates in the north and east that the LTTE controlled.
      Hurrah Mahinda Rajapakse!
      Bribe Master!

  • 0
    0

    Prof. Samarasinghe: Just one question to you. You suggest Ranil W to step down and pave the way for Karu J to be appointed as PM as that would be the “BEST” solution. You say that, I believe, because the President said: ” I cannot work with Ranil W”. Do you think a President must be allowed to say a thing like that and “Pick and Choose” who ever “HE” likes to be appointed as PM? Then is there any use to have a “Constitution” or to have one a provision “Who ever, in the opinion of the President has a majority in the Parliament”. That “OPINION” cannot be the “PREROGATIVE RIGHT” or “PERSONAL” of any President; but has to stand the TEST of challenge in the Parliament. Isn’t that the present situation? That “OPINION” of the President has been challenged and “PROVED” wrong. So no President must be allowed to operate on that “OPINION” as a “PRIVATE” or a “PREROGATIVE RIGHT” in assigning positions in any Government chosen by the PEOPLE. Appreciate your opinion on this single matter, I have raised here. Thank you.

  • 1
    0

    Democracy has gradually failed miserably in Sri Lanka during the last 70 years.

    What we have today are the remnants of democracy. Soon it may be laid to rest by the demagogues at work digging the hole now.

  • 1
    0

    Well balanced article. Yet, the request to step down RW for someone stupidity sounds weird. Oct 26 coup was made up on pure selfishness of two individuals.

    On the one hand, MS, sensing MR’s positive showing in the Local election, thought that his future would be much prosperous if he inclines toward MR at this juncture, if all goes well second time presidency aligned with SLFP. Never know, he was the beneficiary last election which he won not because of his popularity but because of MR notoriety among other things.

    On the other hand, MR, thought it would be ideal platform for him to advance his next election agenda, skipping potential imprisonment of him and his sons, siblings and gang of thugs. Given this risk exposure, if not able to buy MPs, MR would try judges.

    MR would have assured MS that he could prove passing the floor test assuming he can with pumping the corrupted money buy the MPs. Strangely enough this didn’t materialized for his dismay. MS also would have thought he could push TNA to accept MR, didn’t happened either. All of their scheming didn’t workout the way they anticipated. Had they foreseen this current stand off was the outcome, both could not have done. The current situation and its prolongation is damaging for both MR and MS, help demonstrate their behavior openly; for example, leading the charge of chilli powder in the parliament; even if 225MPs say yes, I will not nominate RW as the PM.

    RW for his credit, he stood up this assault, holding his ground and not quitting the Temple Tree. His popularity must be on the rise after this unfair dismissal by this modaya, who had hit the jackpot in 2015, and yet now eying once again to the next term. RW should remain in the position to teach a simple lesion to MS suggesting him to read the SL constitution.

  • 0
    0

    Sri Lanka never had a democracy for it to be on crossroads or by roads or on any road. It was always dictatorship of the majority over minorities. Congratulations to Sinhala politicians who are killing each other for power and they will blame minorities.hope the Sinhalese will learn their lessons no peace without 9 federal states, or a new Jvp Rohana wijeyawera will emerge. When you teach a dog to bite it will turn on the master in the end. TNA should not help to resolve the problem Tamils should have a ringside seat. Sinhalese will give in writing but tear the paper like SWRD.President of Eelom Tamil association of America.TEL#781-729-0968,Email:sripathe19@gmail.com.

  • 0
    0

    Other issue is what happens if MS resigns without appointing a PM??

    I believe that RW knows the only option is him if this happens because many believe that sacking of PM is illegal including the international public.

    In my opinion this is going to be the final result and what was the plan from the beginning. Everything else is drama.

    We blame the systems while not following it, when it suits us. We blame the politicians when it is us who casted the vote.

    A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

    Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.

    We can hope as citizens that we will be diligent in the future and be humble to listen.

    We should not think like tribal societies, where you don’t care what happens to who, when it is not ours. Ours might depend on race, colour, religion, education, social background, community, money, power etc.

  • 0
    0

    Professor Samarasinghe
    1. Considering your involvement with Senior Government Servants, did you consult them before
    second-guessing the Supreme Court verdict? Have you heard of the term sub judice?
    2. Despite your admiration of Ranil W’s democratic credentials, did you think even for one minute
    of his anti-democratic handling of the UNP? How does a believer in British parliamentary tradition
    justify holding on to party leadership despite losing so many elections?

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.

leave a comment