14 November, 2018

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Can Mahinda Enter The Presidential Race? 

By V. Thirunavukkarasu –

Vallipuram Thirunavukkarasu

There was much speculation in the recent past as to the prospective candidate to be fielded by the Joint Opposition (JO)/SLPP. In that scenario, former Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was identified as the likely candidate, and he demonstrated his readiness to come forward, as he was also urged recently by the Anunayake, Ven. Wenduruwe Upali Thero. Apparently, the Buddhist hierarchy has been in agreement, and Gotabaya Rajapaksa forged ahead to stabilize his position, initially via the “Viyathmaga” presentation at Hotel Shangri-La. Subsequently, he went public with the pronouncement that Economic Empowerment was his vision, even to move toward a political solution to outstanding problems. So , it was becoming apparent that Gotabaya would most probably be the candidate of the JO/SLPP, notwithstanding former US Ambassador Atul Keshap’s revelation made to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he met with the latter to bid farewell, that Gotabaya Rajapaksa wouldn’t be the likely contender.

Against this background Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Chairperson and former Minister, Prof. G.L. Peiris suddenly pulled a rabbit out of his bag to make out that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa could run for the next Presidential election under the recent 19th amendment (19A) to the Constitution; that is to say, that 19A is not retrospective but prospective. ….. In this scenario, a former Chief Justice, Sarath N. Silva stepped in to reinfofce this position. He says: “There is validity in the argument that 19A does not disqualify persons who have contested the Presidential elections twice before from contesting. The earlier 18A removed the disqualification on those who have served 2 times .” Then he goes on: “In order to provide for a Presidential term of 5 years instead of 6 years, they introduced a new provision in 19A. That is for the term of the President through a newly introduced article. Thus, the restriction remained non-existent for previous incumbents since 19A is prospective. It will only apply to the incumbent President and those thereafter, It is easy to repeal a provision but difficult to introduce a new section”.

Sarath N. Silva’s argument is that 19A will only apply to the present incumbent and thereafter, since 19A is prospective, is apparently based on the amendment to article 31 by the insertion of a para which reads as follows: “No person who has been twice elected to the office of President by the people shall be qualified thereafter to be elected to such office by the people”

Well, the context in which the amendment has been made necessarily implies that that it applies to the previous incumbents as well as it, mutatis mutandis, undoubtedly means that of 18A has automatically ceased to be in force does remain in force.

It is pertinent in this connection to pinpoint the inconsistencies in opinions hitherto expressed by Sarath N. Silva. For instance, in 2004 when the Tsunami devastated Sri Lanka as well, relief donations poured in from various foreign sources in particular. It is common knowledge that during that period , President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumratunga was out of the island, and the then Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, had reportedly siphoned a rather sizeable chunk of such relief funds to what came to be projected as the “Helping Hambantota Fund”. Then, even though it was reversed following CBK’s intervention, Mahinda’s image was impaired in the public eye. When this matter came up in the Supreme Court, it coincided with Mahinda Rajapaksa’s bid to contest the Presidential election. Sarath N. Silva then came up with his judgement absolving Mr. Rajapaksa. Nevertheless, after some time elapsed, he publicly repented his judgement. So, it was akin to closing the stable door after the stallion had bolted. That was the quality of justice that he then dispensed.

Let me touch on just one more instance. In connection with the case filed well over 10 years ago in the Supreme Court with the backing of the then JVP strongman, Wimal Weerawansa, for the demerger of the Eastern Province from the temporarily merged North – East under the Provincial Council system, subject to a referendum to be held in the East in 3 months’ time, but it was not held for 18 long years, the presiding Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva straightaway gave the order to demerge, disregarding the provision for a referendum in the 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka Accord entered into between Rajiv Gandhi and JR Jayewardene, as well as the intrinsically fundamental consideration that it was a bi-lateral political agreement between 2 countries.

And, interestingly, Sarath N Silva reportedly made a speech sometime later at a public meeting (held in Kantale, if I remember right) stating that he delivered that judgement because, in his view, the East is aligned more to the South.

Where then goes the maxim that justice should not only be done but must seen to be done?

*V. Thirunavukkarasu – Former Member, Colombo Municipal Council.

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Latest comments

  • 5
    4

    Ben Hurling

    “Can Mahinda Enter The Presidential Race? “

    Do you care one way or another?

    • 15
      0

      Mahinda I don’t think will enter the Presidential race but most probably will enter into an agreement with Gamarala. This is the only way Gamarala will survive in politics and make room for his son. This is the same interest MR has, he wants to be a material factor in politics until his son is ready to takeover the leadership.

      As for Gota and Basil: MR does not mind them being in politics and looting the country but he wants the leadership to be in his hands or that of his son.

      Either way Sri Lanka is screwed.

      • 1
        2

        Burt ,

        “Either way Sri Lanka is screwed.”

        Sri Lanka, the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, was screwed from the day the Paras from Bharat, India, Damba-Diva landed. The process continues.

  • 7
    5

    Then ; CKB would be far better than any one else to put the country into a right track ..
    If MR come back he will desotry the country once agians with his laxury life style .
    He will die like a king ..
    He will become a king .
    He will hand over power to Namal..
    So; political battle is between two ..
    M&S and Ranil will be sidelined ..
    Political revenge will become widespread ..

  • 4
    1

    Introduce new legislation so that any one above the age of 65 yrs on the election day should Not be allowed to contest the presidential or parliament elections.Get rid of the present lot of dinasaurs.

    • 4
      0

      Wimal:
      I don’t think age limitation is a good idea when people are living longer and healthier. This will only deny the country of a large pool of resourceful people.
      The problem is not age but ethics or lack there of. A legal system that is incompetent at best and corrupted to the core at worst. Religious interference in politics and judiciary.

  • 10
    1

    The question “Can Mahinda Enter The Presidential Race?” would have no significance at all if the Sri Lankan voters can be relied upon to make the right decision at the polls without succumbing to racist paranoia and the various conspiracy theories being spread by Derana, Sirasa and the Sangha. Then even if he manipulates the spineless judiciary to find a loophole to contest again, the people can simply rebuff him at the polls. The million dollar question is will the voters show the same kind of wisdom and foresight that they did on January 8, 2015. Highly unlikely because of the total mishandling of governance by Maithri and Ranil. That is why this question assumes great significance at this crucial juncture. If the people allow the return of the Rajapaksa Mafia, Maithri and Ranil would have no one but themselves to blame. The people are totally disillusioned with all the talk about bringing the corrupt politicians before justice and ensuring the rule of law, without any tangible action. Even now it is not too late if the government can make the police, ministry of justice and the courts do their jobs without just sitting on their butts.

    • 11
      0

      Ajay.

      What about the Kudu Channel Hiroo.
      Srilanka will be better off if 3 of the worst channels tp be taken off air. Killi Mahendran, Dilith Jayaweera and Raynor Silva.

      • 7
        0

        Yes definitely, Hiru too. These 3 channels plus some of the newspapers have no sense of media ethics, or if they do, they simply don’t care. I would say they’re more of a threat to democracy than even the corrupt politicians. People don’t seem to realise this. Media literacy education is badly needed in Sri Lanka for the general public. Sirasa and Derana are allowed to go to schools and impart ‘knowledge’ about the media. It is preposterous. What is happening is they are not teaching media literarcy: meaning, how to critically look at the content put out by the various media. Instead, like magicians, they show the impressionable children the technical aspects of production. This only creates a fawning attitude towards the TV anchors and hosts, and worst, it implants in their young minds loyalty to these channels. It is a marketing ploy. Why does the government allow this? I’m at a loss to understand why the government allows private media with their private agendas access to publicly-funded schools? Why are these rogue media given access to our children to be brainwashed by them? Even the principal participates in a sycophantic manner, thanking Sirasa and Derana profusely for coming and doing a great service to the children and the society at large. The whole thing is scandalous.

    • 2
      1

      Ajay:
      Where have you been? This is a country that voted Sirima to power when she promised to bring rice from the moon.
      LOL

  • 2
    1

    We all know about the dubious character of Sarath N Silva. But this article does not engage with the legal point that has been raised here at all, but only talks about the former CJ’s inconsistencies. There is legitimate debate within legal circles as to how the new/amended provision applies.

  • 7
    1

    The Former CJ has proved himself to be a disgrace personally , professionally and politically, none would take his advise anymore, as he is a discarded one like the nutty Prof.

  • 5
    1

    Any eligible Sri Lankan citizen can enter the Presidential race. At the end of the day the choice of whom to elect is with the Voter.

    • 4
      1

      ‘At the end of the day the choice of whom to elect is with the Voter.’

      Is it? Not when the race is conducted with bribery and corruption and every other crime from murder downward.

      • 4
        2

        Taraki

        Long time no see.
        Did you have a good holiday?
        Did you have good sex?
        You sound relaxed.
        Peaceniks’ slogan “F*** for peace”. Make Love Not War.
        Keep it up.

        • 3
          1

          NV
          Taraki is still suffering from ED. The brain too is dis-functional from the comment above. The holiday has not done any good.

          • 2
            1

            NV, Steve, bigoted racists like you two maintain the humor in this forum.

            • 1
              0

              Taraki

              I am only trying to cheer you up to beat post-holiday blues.
              Whats the matter with you?

              Perhaps you have returned to your normal self.

  • 0
    0

    No argument here. Although before the 19th amendment MR qualified to contest under the 18th amendment people did not accept as MR came to power with a promise to abolish the presidential system.Quite rightly the anti democratic 18th amendment brought into perpetuate MR dynasty people rejected at 2015 presidential elections and said loudly two terms and no more machang.

  • 1
    0

    The author as well as some commentators are arguing the credibility of Sarath Silva and lampooning MR. The subject matter here is a legal one which neither Sarath Silva nor GL Pieris can decide although they have their opinions. Only the Supreme Court can decide if an application is made to it, and if its upheld, then both MR and CBK would be able to contest if they so wish, along with other contenders and the voters can decide who they chose to have as the next President.

    • 3
      0

      Outsider.

      Yes Yes Illang Kewa 4th time. Let him contest.
      Game on!

  • 0
    0

    No point speculating, “Will MR?”. Useful to ask and honestly answer, “Why?”

    MR always wanted the President-for-life ‘papaDoc-babyDoc’ hat. He was sure of the win-win when he called the election two years early. Did not succeed! Much to his chagrin, uncleDoc-hats are on sale!
    Much worse: Skeletons are walking out of SriLankan Airlines from the overcrowded cupboards. Right now the people are more interested in marches in N&E. His errand boy Wimal GL Peiris is keeping the language/religion-divide fire going through SLPP.
    .
    The short answer to V. Thirunavukkarasu’s question “Can Mahinda Enter The Presidential Race?” is
    “Yes he will”. How? Watch this space.

  • 0
    0

    Let MR contest for presidency after fulfilling the below mentioned ( & make our democratic tradition more realistic).

    1. Prosecute him for alleged crimes/misappropriations

    2. De-elevate the president to become an equal citizen to others, before law. ( place president under law & let anybody contest as much as they want for presidency)

    3. Make 19th amendment void & re-amend the constitution as required to facilitate above.

    It must be mentioned that it’s people; not the constitution that elect presidents.

  • 0
    0

    Mahinda is grooming Namal baby

    • 2
      0

      Muslim
      .
      To hell with that idea. That good for nothing senseless imbecile? No no no. We can’t afford to have such an unscrupulous person leading us.
      .
      This country is not their private property for them to think they can impose that moron on the people of Sri Lanka.
      .
      He is vanity, immorality, corruption and stupidity all rolled into one heap of human excrement. I didn’t know they could stack shit that high until i saw him!
      .
      The worst thing is that he thinks he is smarter than the rest of Sri Lanka inspite of his pea brain. What a dope.
      .
      A person who couldn’t pass his exams without political influence you can imagine his level of intellect.
      .
      Don’t we have level headed, ethical, decent, intelligent and intellectual people who can think positively and put countrymens interest first? People who can make Namal look like a Paraya dog in contrast?
      .
      Now its a good time to come out and present themselves. Or for us to put good people we know in the spot light. The country needs a good set of leaders. Lets clean up our counrty.
      .
      Enough is enough, no more sewer rats crawling through our political system, lets send them back to where they belong…
      .
      Lasith

      • 0
        0

        Lasith good reply but , the fact is some are mesmerized by the Rajapaksa s and are not bothered about the frauds murders and cheating of the country’s assets by the Rajapaksa family.
        Educating the people about the atrocities done by the Rajapaksa s and his cabal the weerawanse s gota s Johnston and the likes is a waste of time.

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