By Rusiripala Tennakoon –
The accusations levelled against the political leadership of the country in the face of alleged gross inefficiencies of an unethical and immoral administration of the government, falsification of electoral promises, and parasitic thieving of public property as witnessed now, has climaxed into demonstrations by the people taking to streets and demanding its resignation. Government is trying to bring it under control by tear gas, water cannons and imposing curfews. Will this bring an end to this or is the situation exacerbating?
This resorting to demonstrative actions by the masses is justified due to the claim that the burdens and hardships imposed on them are becoming extremely unbearable with no feasible solution for the problems anywhere in sight. The actions appear to be voluntary eruptions and not instigated by party politics. To that extent their actions appear to be genuine public reactions in hope and despair for a failed delivery of their expectations.
But what next? Public claim is to demand in anguish the government to go. They little think of what can happen next. Can a govt. go out of office like that? Is someone or some unseen force or group waiting to step in, in the most unlikely event, if the govt. withdraws.? Unless things are left to manifest into an anarchial state instead of a constructive resurrection the whole episode deserves to be examined more carefully and decided on a practical and a doable way out of the impasse.
Let us examine the mindset of the people. Except those die hard elements devoted and blindly bound to follow a party line of a political party to which they are aligned truly, the large majority are expressing a desire to get rid of all those who have been in the legislature any time before as they think that all of them be it in the govt. or in the opposition have failed in their mission, responsibility and public duty during their tenures. So, any solution to the current state of affairs will have to emerge outside the influence of the present parliament.
The country has a constitution that we should abide by unless otherwise under a revolutionary uprise. We cannot see the culmination of such a situation due to many reasons. The main reason is even the political parties that prompt people to show their anger will think twice if the demonstrators want a totally new regime. We have seen the behaviours of all in the parliament during this crisis. They only harangue continuously against the previous wrong doings of their predecessors and highlight the public hardships with highly emotional provocative stimulations. No constructive effort is seen or displayed in trying to bring about a resolution in a definite way. They are all making an attempt to Fish in Troubled Waters. Their press interviews sound hilarious in the eyes of those looking at their answers and attitudes analytically and logically. Hence the opposition parties in the fore-front today will not advocate any movement which will pave the way for a totally new leadership.
So, a solution will have to come as far as possible remote and detached to this parliament. People like Colvin and Felix chose alternate but highly legal ways of doing away with the country’s constitution within legal provisions! Although we lack brains like that today still, we can get some ideas from some knowledgeable.
Let us see how the present parliament could give vent to the growing public cries. But all these become possible only if actions are considered in the National Interest and selflessly for the betterment of the people of the country.
Article 37(1) of the Constitution, provides.
If the President is of the opinion that by reasons…………….or any other cause he will be unable to exercise perform and discharge the powers duties and functions of his office he may appoint the PM to exercise perform and discharge powers duties and functions of the office of the President during such period and may also appoint one of the Ministers of the Cabinet to act in the office of the PM during such period.
Article 38(1) (b) If he resigns his office by a writing under his hand addressed to the speaker.
Article 40(1)(a) If the office of the President shall become vacant prior to the expiration of his term of office the parliament shall elect as president one of its members who is qualified to be elected to the office of the President.
The Significance of this reference to the constitution is only to help the Government to choose the best option that will be acceptable to the people. Under what-ever the circumstances it is best that the country proceeds further as a democratic country upholding a people mandated constitution. Although the constitution has been manipulated many times to suit the whims of the ruling parties still it is in force until suitably amended soon.
Yesterday I went to bed as a highly disappointed person currently away from my motherland (Australia), after seeing in TV channels showing what was happening in and around Mirihana area.
The circumstances compel to suggest options that may become useful to diffuse this situation and bring the country back to normal.as fast as possible.
The President should stand down considering the difficulties for him to carry on during this period (temporary)
He should first prorogue the parliament for 1 month before he pulls out.
PM will automatically assume office as President and he should appoint a most senior (non-Rajapakse) Cabinet Minister as the PM.
The Cabinet Should be dissolved and a care taker interim cabinet should be appointed with a small number of ministries.
Independent non-Political body of advisers (number not exceeding 7) should be appointed under a Presidential Decree to advise the Cabinet. A senior person with a thorough knowledge of Central Banking should be in this Body.
The parliament should meet in 28 days to consider a new appropriation bill for supplying the essentials to the Public.
The new President and the PM should make a public declaration stating our neutrality in the foreign Policy to all countries. International groupings including those set up for regional corporations should be treated in a neutral manner opposing none. It is advisable to initiate a dialogue with the QUAD too on an urgent basis just to establish our neutrality.
Discussions should be initiated with IMF, WB , ADB, Chinese Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank Etc on multilateral and bilateral financing arrangements.
As a temporary measure suspend the operations of all Foreign Exchange Dealers and limit the business to the commercial banks as a temporary measure.
Continue the restrictions imposed on all non-essential imports.
Allowed 25% of the proceeds of all exports to be utilised for any imports, essential or non-essential without any restrictions.
When the living conditions become more palatable summon parliament to decide on reversal of the constitution to the 19th and the dissolution of the parliament to go for a general election.