By Mohamed Faizal –
Some of the candidates who were defeated in the recent parliamentary election have been appointed as MPs on the National List. This has created a bit of an uproar, particularly in the social media. The argument is that the holy clause concerning the appointment of National List MPs have been contravened. (Rather, the spirit of the sacred provision.) I don’t think any sacrilege has been committed.
Put plainly – leaving out all the euphemism – provision for National List was made in the constitution to counteract the stupidity of the voters. It was to bring into parliament those high calibre candidates who the ignorant electorates would not send in. So, how exactly has the holy provision been violated? When the party leaders appointed the defeated candidates as MPs, they were acting with the spirit of the provision; they were bringing into parliament those, who the masses, in their absolute ignorance, had refused to elect. What the party leaders have done is just righting of a wrong. It is fully in the spirit of the holy provision. In any case, who are we to interpret the sacred provision? The understanding of the holy priests of democracy should, and it does, carry much heavier weight than the understanding of the laity, the voters.
When a candidate is defeated in an election, it doesn’t mean that he has now become unfit to become a member of parliament. Politicians and voters know this alike. If we thought a defeat in an election rendered a candidate unfit to rule, then politicians would not be allowing them to contest another election, and the voters would not be participating in an election where defeated candidates are fielded, let alone elect them. As we know too well, not only are the defeated candidates permitted to contest another election, the voters who defeated them in the previous elections have gleefully on numerous occasions elected them to parliament this time. Everyone believes that defeated candidates are not unfit to rule.
The hue and cry from the public, this time, over the appointment of defeated candidates as MPs is not in congruence with the normal belief and practice. If anything, it is yet another additional proof to how weak the intelligence of the average voters is. Entering of defeated candidates to parliament on the National List is fully consistent with electing them to parliament in subsequent elections. If the masses are willing to allow the defeated candidates to be elected on another election, then they must be willing to allow them to be appointed too.
Let me prove this with another “tangible” argument. Candidate MLAM Hizbullah from the Batticaloa district was defeated in the election by a mere 127 votes. If 64 voters who voted for his opponents had voted for him instead, he would have been elected with a majority of one vote. If a re-election were to be held today in Batticaloa, there is no doubt that a great majority of the voters would be voting with new loyalties, resulting in the victory of Hizbullah. This would, in fact, be true of all those candidates who lost with such small margins, particularly in electorates where there are candidates who lost with really big margins.
The above would also highlight another important point about the masses. They just don’t know what they really want. They are never sure of their decisions. They simply like to gamble. We all know that all of these, particularly gambling, are no virtue. These are in fact immoralities. The opinion of such immoral masses are not to be considered favourably.
If we believed that a defeated candidate is in fact unfit to rule, we would not be having the current prime minister as the prime minister. We would also be having a completely new parliament. I am not sure of the number of parliamentarians who were once defeated in elections. I am pretty sure that would be really large.
Perhaps, we should do away with this façade of election. We should instead leave the country in the hands of some enlightened kings! (Sarcasm not intended.)