25 September, 2020

Blog

Crisis Still Smouldering: UNP Oblivious To Existential Threat Posed By Sirisena To Political Stability

By Rasika Jayakody – 

Rasika Jayakody

Sri Lanka’s political crisis, which came to an apparent close with the reappointment of Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister on December 16, is still smouldering.

Sirisena has also removed the name of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, a UNP front-liner, from the list of Cabinet appointments nominated by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The UNP attributes the omission to Sirisena’s deeply personal hatred towards the former Army Chief.

It was reported that President Maithripala Sirisena directed the post-October Chairman of the state-run Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) Sarath Kongahage to stay on despite the appointment of a new Chairperson by Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera.

Moreover, Sirisena has continued to meddle with high-profile judicial appointments: new battle lines have been opened with the Constitutional Council over the appointment of judges recommended by the Council.

Sirisena has refrained from appointing Justice Gamini Amarasekara and S. Thurairajah as Supreme Court judges, despite their names being recommended by the Council that was appointed under the provisions of the 19thAmendment to the Constitution.

Instead, Sirisena has nominated two others— K. K. Wickremesinghe and Deepali Wijesundara – and is seeking the Council’s approval on their appointment. The 10-member Council overlooking high-profile appointments has however stuck to its guns, swiftly shooting down the President’s attempt.

It is abundantly clear that Sirisena has not learnt anything from the 51-day coup attempt that was unsuccessful only because of all the pro-democratic political forces in the country that united to defeat it. He remains unrepentant and continues to subvert the Constitution, especially the 19thAmendment, which strengthened democratic institutions.

President Sirisena’s behaviour should worry all of the forces that collectively defeated the ‘Constitutional Coup’ through a gruelling,  prolonged battle. His intention to derail the UNF-led government increases the possibility of recurrent tensions that may result in another political turmoil.

President Sirisena, therefore, remains an existential threat to political stability in Sri Lanka. In spite of the appointment of a new government, Sri Lanka’s democracy remains shaky and vulnerable. When Sri Lankans go to sleep at night, they do so not know if they will wake up to a new government.

The country’s way out of the current instability hinges on the UNP’s future course of action on Sirisena. At this point, it seems as if the UNP does not want to rock the boat and is working towards restoring normalcy. The real problems will come to the fore after the passage of next year’s budget.

It is naïve to believe that the President and the UNP can co-exist in a government until the next Presidential election, fixed for January 2020. If the UNP intends to run the government for the next 13 months, it has no option but to neutralise the ‘Sirisena factor’ through democratic means.

The UNP is currently looking at the insurmountable task of abolishing the Executive Presidency. Any drastic reform of that nature requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament and given the current sharp divisions in the country’s political sphere, the UNP is unlikely to secure this.

The shortage of numbers also hampers the possibility of a successful impeachment. The UNP cannot embark on an impeachment process unless a large chunk of SLFP-UPFA MPs guarantees their support. From the UNP’s standpoint, a botched impeachment attempt may embolden the errant and hostile President.

The JVP has proposed a parliamentary investigation into all coup leaders, including President Sirisena. The TNA has also expressed support for a similar process. It is still unclear as to how the UNP wants to go about doing this. The clock is ticking but the party still seems to be recovering from post-October 26thtrauma.

The citizens and activists who supported the UNP’s return to power after the Constitutional Coup do not want the party to let Sirisena off the hook. They want the largest political party in Parliament to exert pressure on Sirisena to step down from office following Wickremesinghe’s reinstatement.

It was Sirisena who stated that he would resign from office and go back to farming in Polonnaruwa in the event of Wickremesinghe’s reappointment. What loyal UNPers and other supporters demand is a persistent exertion of pressure on Sirisena to follow his own words.

It is already clear that a section of the UNF, including Sajith Premadasa, do not believe in holding Sirisena accountable. They still believe, albeit naively, that the UNP can negotiate with Sirisena and work out an action plan for the next 13 months. Their misplaced trust in Sirisena is driven by a confluence of factors, such as their desire to gain the support of controversial media moguls and dubious pro-nationalist monks.

The party backbenchers who are hell-bent on pursuing action against Sirisena are puzzled and confused. They are already coming under pressure from the grassroots-level supporters who showed strong anti-Sirisena sentiments throughout the political crisis. It is slowly dawning on them that party leaders have different motives and priorities.

It is the same complacency and total oblivion to ground realities that ousted the UNP from power on October 26 with the outbreak of the Constitutional Coup. It is the same ambiguity on policy that made the national unity government ineffective for over three-and-a-half years.  It is disheartening to see at the end of the relentless effort for justice that the UNP has made clear to all its allies that ‘clarity of purpose’ is too much to ask for.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 8
    0

    Our Constitution is full of AMBIGUITIES , perhaps introduced to make a “SHOW OFF” of the very “Drafters”. If not, there would never have been words, such as “However”; “Provided”; “As far as”; “To be read with” etc…. etc…. These words have created the “CONFUSION” and ultimately providing a “Playing Field” for the “Black Coated Mafia” to make a :Killing”. Why cant we be very DIRECT and call a Spade a Spade. Now look at the 20th Amendment of the JVP. Why that Amendment cannot be written in a few words: “This Parliament agrees to abolish the position of the President and vest all such powers mentioned anywhere in the Constitution to the Cabinet of Ministers, who shall be responsible and accountable to the Legislature”. Let that be placed before the PEOPLE to make a decision on a simple “YES” and “NO” answer. This “SIMPLE” and “EASY ” to understand mechanisms are the corner stones of a STATE and a GOVERNMENT. That is what is called :PEOPLES’ SOVEREIGNTY” and how that “Sovereignty” prevails.

    • 8
      18

      It is Ranil Wickramashing who is the Existential Threat to the people of Lanka.
      Bondscam Ranil is Washington’s puppet in the Indian Ocean and Lanka in the Cold War against China and so they worked hard to reinstate who has looted the Central Bank and put Lanka into a massive debt trap, borrowing at high interest rates on Capital markets so that Lanka’s economy is now being played by bond traders and doggy rating agencies to crash the Lankan rupee in order to asset strip the country.
      RW is the clear and present Existential Threat to the well being of the people of Lanka because he works for America First and the Global 1 percent.

      Bondscam Ranil with his Trumpland backers and MCC and IMF “advice”have tried hard to bury the Bondscam Story by “embargoing” the PCOI Report.
      Embargoing of important documents is a practice of the US deep state to hide information about its covert activities from the US people and academics and activists. Now this practice has arrived in Sri Lanka. Bondscam Ranil MUST be impeached for financial crimes, with Singapore Mahendran and Penthouse Ravi K. and destruction of the most important financial institution -CBSL- which is why there is no foreign investment (FDI) to Lanka as no investor would invest in country, where the Central Bank was looted by the Prime Minister and the Parliament is a Cesspit of Corruption with horsetrading and a Culture of Impunity and immunity for financial crime and rent-seeking.

      • 2
        3

        Right on! who let the dogs in?

        Trumpland marines are all over Lanka with their Peace Corps including Trincomalee Port logistics Hub, and running all sort of fake news stories to distract and divide Lankans on ethnic and religious lines in order to push the Trump agenda of America First in the recently invented “Indo-Pacific”!
        During the Cold War with Russia, Buddhism and Islam were weaponized against communism in Asia– same pattern is visible again in the new CIA led Cold War against China..

    • 8
      1

      Rasika Jayakody,

      RE Crisis Still Smouldering: UNP Oblivious To Existential Threat Posed By Sirisena To Political Stability

      Ranil W is oblivious to his balls rotting, and adding more rotting crooks like Ravi Penthouse. Is he following Sirisena’s example?

      • 1
        0

        The rule of politics and Democracy in Sri Lanka are get the votes from the poor masses in millions, but serve the Top 50 Billionaires who will never vote Give Billionaires in Billions and the poor in Hundreds. There is no difference in UNP and SLPP/SLFP, the Billionaires list may change,with minor adjustments.

  • 12
    1

    If UNP wants to neutralise Modasena, first they have to change their image and actions. It looks like they didn’t learn anything from the recent coup. Look at the names in the cabinet – same old faces and crooks. Malic the chief crook, penthouse Ravi and good old Johnny Amare are there to get whatever to get from the gravy train. What can Johnny contribute at this age – he should graciously leave it to a young blood. Sadly they don’t understand the commonors day to day problem. Intact Mara and Co are in the hearts and mind of the commonors – they don’t care if the Mara and Co are murderers or looters. What they see is that they Mara and Co speak their language. I dont see any UNPers can do the same.
    So I beg, for the sake of this beautiful country, Ranil please change your attitude. Please work for the poor and needy, and win their hearts and mind. Only 10months to save this country from Modasena and Mara gang.

  • 6
    1

    There is one fundamental issue of president elected in 2015. That is Sirisena is NOT an “elected” president but a “selected” president.. Selected by 3~4 people including Rev Sobitha, Ranil, CBK… Clearly this is an undemocratic process, now whole country is paying for that mistake… Only credit goes to Sirisena is that he is a very good actor with more than 40 years of experience as dirty SL politician. So for couple of months, he superbly acted like “Diyasena Kumaraya”, new savior of SL and we all got fooled by his talks and acts.. It is now paying time for our foolishness.

  • 7
    1

    Another well-articulatated piece by Rasika – thank you. Sirisena is getting away with ‘murder’ because he knows Ranil is too timid and has no balls. I cannot imagine Sirisena playing such games with someone like Mahinda in primeministership.

    It’s also awkward to see Sajith still using generous adjectives such as ‘athigaru’ and ‘Srimath’ to address a man, who has committed a grave offence by violating the Constitution and has totally lost respect and credibility because of his erratic and idiotic behavior unbecoming of a statesman.

    Ranil has proven himself again a lazy man, who tends to chose to do the minimum and takes the easiest path as opposed to making hard decisions in the best interest of the country.

    Given the seriousness of Sirisena’s misbehavior as President, Ranil as the leader of the Legislature has a duty and moral responsibility to expose Sirisena and mobilize the Parliament to impeach and hold him to account for his actions, not pretend and act as if nothing has happened.

  • 1
    0

    It is very difficult to comprehend as to why, the UNP relented.
    Sirisena had backtracked and appointed Ranil as PM. That was an about turn from what transpired during the infamous 50+ days. He had even put his feet (not one foot but both feet) in his mouth by foolishly stating that even if the 225 MPs in Parliament gave affidavits to him that he won’t appoint Ranil as PM.
    That was the ultimate insult he delivered to Ranil, to the UNP supporters and also all right thinking Sri Lankans. Here was a President who had either gone off his rocker or trying to throw the constitution into the garbage and not govern but REIGN over Democratic Sr Lanka.
    Anyway with pressure he did what he had to do and did an about turn. If he was a self respecting person he could have saved face and resigned as he had threatened after appointing the PM. The people of his country would have kept the little respect that they had for him. But he has not done that. Which aptly shows what he is really.
    So here we have a President who is just NOT FIT to be OUR President. The qualities that he possesses and the way he is conducting himself being Head of State, is conduct unbecoming of the President of our Nation.
    To add insult to injury he has turned down the PM’s list for members of the cabinet. Notably he has refused to appoint some as ministers, notably FM Sarath Fonseka and others.

  • 5
    3

    “Sirisena has refrained from appointing Justice Gamini Amarasekara and S. Thurairajah as Supreme Court judges, despite their names being recommended by the Council that was appointed under the provisions of the 19thAmendment to the Constitution.”
    President says his nominations are based on seniority. Does that imply the names proposed by CC are based on ‘we like your face”. How can we believe that members of CC are not biased? Ranil is known for appointing his henchmen for this kind of places.

  • 6
    0

    The mental immaturity and the inferiority of the current UNP is shown by their servility to Ranil. For them this lawyer guy appears like all knowing man with great leadership.

    The rest of the country sees him as a joke.

    Wait for the next election guys.

  • 5
    8

    Ranil is the most dangerous and most detrimental to the country as he has involved in,

    1) Masterminding the daylight robbery of Central Bank – Bond Scam.
    2) Entered in to most unfavourable Trade agreements.
    3) Produced a draft constitution to give North and East as Orumiththanadu and making Sri Lanka almost in to eight countries as Provinces.
    4) Taking off the pivotal place to Buddhism in the draft constitution.
    5) Trying to contain or control the majority community against minorities in the draft constitution.
    6) Selling nationally and strategically important properties/resources to foreigners and foreign governments.
    6) Gay or samanala activities as legal to be included in the draft constitution.
    7) Scant respect to traditions, culture, customs of Sri Lanka.
    8) Ever increasing taxation with a huge burden to ordinary masses.
    9) Paragathi mentality.
    10) Worshiping western embassies.

    Therefore, he is aptly named as Don Juan Dharmapala.

    Masses of Sri Lanka are waiting for the next election to give him a lesson of his life in politics.

    • 1
      4

      Nimal Tissass Wijethunga

      “1) Masterminding the daylight robbery of Central Bank – Bond Scam.”

      How this daylight robbery took place, and the exact amount the bank has lost with your computation.

      “2) Entered in to most unfavourable Trade agreements.”

      With whom and why those Trade agreements are unfavourable?
      Let us have copies of the trade agreements please.

      “3) Produced a draft constitution to give North and East as Orumiththanadu and making Sri Lanka almost in to eight countries as Provinces.”

      I haven’t seen a copy of the draft. Could you let me have one. Please tell us why it is called draft constitution? What does Orumiththanadu means? Why do you panic?

      “4) Taking off the pivotal place to Buddhism in the draft constitution.”

      I know what you mean. Why do you need to put religion on constitution where crooks would have control over it, use it to their advantage, and don’t forget Buddhism should be protected by lay people and not by the crooked, corrupt state and its murderous armed forces directed by the political crooks and racist Mahanayakes.

      7) Scant respect to traditions, culture, customs of Sri Lanka.

      Could you define and clarify what you consider as traditions, culture, customs of Sri Lanka, giving brief details of the origin of each tradition, culture, custom of Sri Lanka with dates of origin.

      By the way your homophobic remarks show that though you have access to modern tools, machines, conveniences, creature comforts you have refused to catch up with modern thoughts and thought processes, it is regrettable you have refused to grow up with your age.

      If you haven’t got any idea about the above please ignore my comment.

    • 3
      1

      mister Wijethunga: You come across as a fiction writer. Must be a failed one at that, since I cannot remember seeing one of your books.

      • 0
        0

        Janaka from Matara,

        You seems to be not in this world or probably under toxication if you cannot remember the points I have mentioned happened or not or real.

        [edited out]

  • 3
    0

    the fun and games will start after the budget followed by geneva and ranil will have to bite the dust..good riddance

  • 3
    4

    Native Veddah/Angoda Veddah/Kala Veddah,

    If you want to come to a forum like this and participate in the discussion, you need to learn and understand those in the first place. If you do not have any understanding of those, it is better to stay away rather making idiotic questions.

    Since you are more suitable to be called as Angoda Veddah or Kala Veddah and therefore suitable to be in Angoda as resident patient or in the jungle as a Kala Veddah, you have no clue about those I have mentioned.

    You have the idiotic habit of commenting on matters which you have no understanding and you admitted it as er your comments above.

  • 0
    3

    Parliament was restored by Tamil Lawyers, not by politicians. Karu, half heatedly protected the UNPyers from the rowdiness of the Slap Partyers. So practically, no political change took place. Ranil is not a revolutionist, in any case. Nothing special will come out of him. He tried to bring back the same cabinet to make sure split would not defeat the government again. Nevertheless those said above, he still wants to leave the PM seat, on the issue of ensured full protection to Old and New King. It is only for them do something proper and take over the government. Then it will be their headache their protection.
    Beyond that Ranil prefer New King remains in power until election. This will keep his dream of coming true too. He knows how much the New King can negotiate with Old Royals, but there is no way they would give up the ambitious “Royal Family Manufacturing and Trading Corp”, the Slap Party. If he gets confirmation of New King standing again and as Slap Party will put only a family member, which will restrict the scope of the voter base to pure Addicted Sinhala Buddhists, so his dream of “At Last Here Comes the Ranil the President of Lankawe” will be realized. As long as he think of he is only PM, he is connecting with him the thought of Kings’ (both) protection. But he is unable to connect their protection when he sees him as the EP, so he is just by passing that thought. He just managed to bring back all who were in their seats in cabinet. This has brought Tilak as FAM. Considering Tilak’s Avant Garde success, The Three are contended about their success in UNHRC.

  • 0
    3

    Many Modaya talk show guests find stamina is shouting MCC, IMF, WB…….. For their disappointment soon they will shout back the opposite. Whether the Old Royals place the any one of the Brother Princes in the EP election or not, they have to have their citizenship issue sorted out with US. They cannot leave it as a sword of Damocles. Old Brother Prince made a blunder of flying to China right after he returned from his deals confirmed in US. He knows to fix that. So Old Royals are soon going to start to shout “America First”. That time these acolytes too have to do the same thing.

  • 0
    0

    We have been lulled into complacency that the 26 October RW-sack and what followed with terms like ‘removal, ‘crisis’, ‘constitutional crisis’, ‘constitutional coup’ etc.
    .
    Rasika uses the term ’51 days of coup that was unsuccessful….”. We agree and are worried when the next attempt will be. Rasika calls it “the existential threat”.
    RW is trying to get some political mileage.
    Personal likes/dislikes must not be used to steer the destiny of the country.

  • 0
    0

    It is now been established that the Constitutional Council (CC) may decide to decline the name/s proposed by the President of the time, to fill Supreme Court vacancies.
    Rasika: Please tell us. Does CC have the power to nominate?

  • 0
    4

    I totally agree with the second para of Rasika Jayakody’s article.
    President’s double standards in appointing Ministers is disgusting. He didn’t show any objection to appointing LTTE supporter Vijayakala, who is facing a court case for calling LTTE’s revival, as the State Minister of Education. Moreover, she has once refused to hoist the National flag and was questioned for supporting a serial rapist to flee.
    President has shown favourtism by rewarding Vijayakala with a State Ministerial post while point blank denying a Ministerial portfolio to former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, who almost lost his life in giving leadership to the military to eliminate LTTE terrorists.
    For President, all Tamils, preferably LTTE supporters and terrorists are special. He would not deny anything for them.
    The President, who pardoned an LTTE terrorist who found guilty of trying to take his life, whining about a fabricated narration of an assassination plot against him by some “selected Sinhalese” is hilarious.
    As obvious, the feeble attempt to attach Sarath Fonseka’s name to the narrated assassination plot is vindictive and personalized.
    Without party or colour, I condemn President’s refusal to appoint Sarath Fonseka as a Minister.
    I raise my voice in opposition to President’s partiality to a LTTE supporter and discrimination against a Sinhalese.

    • 2
      0

      Champa …………the

      “For President, all Tamils, preferably LTTE supporters and terrorists are special. He would not deny anything for them.”

      Well how many LTTE terrorists did he release from long term detention, compensate for wrongful detention and miscarriage of justice?

      Did he charge any of the war criminals and punish them for war crimes and crime against humanity?

      On the other hand he promised to protect all war criminals and crooks.

      You have been living in your own parallel universe. Just for a change why don’t you visit Sri Lanka too?

    • 0
      0

      Champawati,
      New King has called Scotland Yard to investigate the plot. He knows if they come, they will support Ranil. Though he says it was Ranil’s gang started, but he suspects Old Royal’s gang. So when the investigation over, foreign police would turn the finger on Old Royal’s gang, instead of Ranil’s gang. He probably looking for a cut off date for SLFP time Old Royal’s crimes stretching to him too. So this could be it. He doesn’t like to become Hero or sit on the UN Electric Chair. So if a cut off date is created, then Old Royals would be alone on their journey to Hague or the Hell.

  • 2
    0

    Rasika. You are spot on. This president is unique. He didn’t win the election. UNF and several independent organizations have won it for him. He was a puppet then. He is now a Hitler adopted self. he has forgotten all pledges given. He acts in contravention of all norms of parliamentary procedure, privileges. Has violated most sacred constitution willy nilly. Recent 7 bench S.C judgement was very clear on his abuses. He refused to appoint RW as premier even if all 225 MP’s vote and if that happens he would not wait one hour but leave the job and go back to Pulastipura. He appointed RW again but didn’t leave the office. He is constitutionally obliged to appoint Ministers, State & Deputy Ministers whom PM nominates. He has reneged on his duty. He is duty bound to appoint Judges to Supreme Court whomever CC nominates. He has back pedalled on this for over some weeks. He is becoming a thorn in the flesh. He is neglecting his duties by the hour & day. Country is suffering consequently. What more options left to be used before he shown the exit door? All MPs please act fast since current parliament has only 20 months more to implement pending court cases on fraudsters, development strategy, increase exports, encourage more local entrepreneurship, rural development activities which will have tangible benefits to people from West, East, South & North irrespective of ethnicity. Finally establish rule of law which has been lacking sadly and independence of judiciary. Bring back Srilanka that was in the glorious past of Senanayaka era!

  • 2
    0

    Keep bashing the president mate. Mangala is back on the saddle (or are others riding his saddle?) and there are lots of vacancies at Bere Gedara. You never know. Keep at it. Be more creative, you selfish punk.

  • 0
    0

    What is that Lankans are expecting????? MIRACLES. Go watch some Christmas special movies which are made for “feel good factor”. You have the house which is full of so called politicians elected by the public, whom you do not trust enough to allow or stay with you even for a day. But had been allowed to decide not only yours but your children future. In case of some criminals , I doubt even their family members have any trust on them. MS is known for double talk. MR is born criminal. RW is lazy and to an extent Royal arrogant. Mahindananda is also Royal but his class mates remember him as the one frequently started “class fights” (that too sinhala/tamil at age five?????) RW keeps talking in a language , which common man has no clue of. His favorite term was “Covenant House” which he uses to explain anything and every thing in politics. He himself was clueless how MS could have brought MR into the “Covenant House”??? The rest are of Wimal, Udaya kind, who are not worth to discuss.The educated Rajitha and Sudarshini are as equal or worse than the other criminals. So Go Figure.

  • 0
    0

    A President AND a Prime Minister in the Same Country does not make for a Good Marriage! Get rid of the Executive Presidency!

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.