10 December, 2019

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@GotabayaR Prevails Against All Odds

By Rajeewa Jayaweera

In the 2015 Presidential Elections in January 2015, Maithripala Sirisena defeated President Mahinda Rajapaksa by a majority of just under a half a million votes. It was in no small measure due to ethnic Tamil and Muslim communities voting for him in large numbers. 

Statistics in Chart 1 says it all.

Chart 1 2015 2019
Region MS % MR %   SP % GR %
North 394,991 74% 108,831 20%   487,461 83% 49,366 8%
East 583,120 71% 214,787 26%   665,163 70% 227,653 24%
Total 978,111 72% 323,618 24%   1,152,624 75% 277,019 18%
MS-Maithripala Sirisena / MR-Mahinda Rajapaksa  SP-Sajith Premadasa/GR-Gotabaya Rajapaksa

2019 was worse than in 2015. Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) received only 8% of the Northern vote, 24% of the Eastern ballot, and 18% of the total N&E vote. Mahinda Rajapaksa, in 2015, received 20% of the Northern vote, 26% of the Eastern ballot, and 24% from the N&E vote. 

SP, with 75% of the N&E vote fared marginally better than Maithripala Sirisena, who received 72%.

Some believe; President Sirisena won the 2015 Presidential election due to a majority of the minority and a minority of the majority voting for him. It gave way to the theory no candidate will henceforth be able to win a Presidential election without the support of minorities.

Nevertheless, GR’s decisive victory less than five years later in November 2019 has effectively put that theory to bed. 

Minority political parties based on ethnic and religious lines may have overplayed their importance and role in national elections. It galvanized the Sinhala voters to rally round GR who campaigned on the need for enhanced security.

What makes this victory for GR more decisive is the fact, all the odds were stacked against him. In the run-up to 2015 Presidential elections, Mahinda Rajapaksa being the President and his party in control of the government, had unfettered access to state resources. 

GR had no such advantage. It was his opponent’s party governing the country, albeit with a President who decided to remain neutral after all efforts to gain nomination from either side failed.

GR also had to deal with the vexed question of his nationality. The judiciary eventually gave him carte blanche. Nevertheless, such an issue and the ensuing legal battle was a hinderance and unwanted distraction for any political campaigner. There were also other allegations and several court cases, namely funding for the Rajapaksa Memorial, murder of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge and rugger player Thajudeen, and the infamous MIG fighter aircraft deal being some of them.  

The elite Colombo society, despite their discontent with the Yahapalana government, especially with former President Sirisena and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, were all out to defeat GR. They had also begun to take a closer look at candidate SP, a silent bystander for too long. The hitherto relatively unknown Deputy Leader of the UNP spoke a brand of English not heard among Presidential candidates in a long time. He displayed an ability to reach out to the hearts of his audiences, in both English and Sinhala languages in cities and rural areas. 

On the other hand, GR, a proven administrator, portrayed a less impressive image with his calm and moderate tone, dependence on a teleprompter, and regular prodding by the elder sibling. He refrained from publicly criticizing his opponent, indeed a commendable gesture.

The final result proved without ambiguity, the disconnect between the small group of elitist city dwellers and the rural masses. On November 16, GR defeated his opponent Sajith Premadasa with an impressive majority of 1.3 million votes, as illustrated in chart 2. 

Chart 2 Total Votes Postal Votes 2019
Valid Votes 13,252,499 100% 641,642 100%
GR 6,924,255 52.2% 375,963 59%
SP 5,564,239 42.0% 218,332 34%
Majority 1,360,016   157,631

The Yahapalana government bent over backward to appease state sector employees. They received the promised pre-election monthly salary increase of Rs 10,000. Nevertheless, the postal voter figures tell another damning story, as seen in chart 2. No further explanation is necessary. Postal voters consist of state employees to enable them to vote early and perform election duties.

Chart 3 Voting patterns by Province
Province  Reg Voters Total Polled Valid Votes GR SP
Central 2,082,384 1,770,387 1,750,960 835,146 829,559
Eastern 1,183,197 955,449 946,201 227,653 665,163
Northern 847,103 600,236 585,691 49,366 487,461
North-Central 1,008,893 865,749 858,270 489,563 314,821
North-Western 1,930,747 1,593,538 1,580,588 883,038 616,317
Sabaragamuwa 1,541,419 1,334,507 1,323,502 768,528 492,535
Southern 1,997,152 1,716,439 1,703,564 1,119,424 475,333
Uva 1,024,290 889,927 879,949 485,025 344,245
Western 4,376,911 3,661,719 3,623,774 2,066,512 1,338,805
Grand Total 15,992,096 13,387,951 13,252,499 6,924,255 5,564,239
% 52.25% 41.99%

Figures in chart 3 is a glimpse of voting patterns based on Provinces. It reflects a deepening of the North and South divide. Both candidates are Sinhala Buddhists. Minorities, especially the Tamil community, have never been comfortable with the Rajapaksas, especially former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the newly minted President GR who is also the former Defense Secretary, both key players in defeating LTTE terrorism. One of the chief complaints of the Tamil community is the disappearance of former LTTE carders after they surrendered in 2009. The Sri Lankan armed forces led by MR, GR, and retired Army Commander Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka rescued nearly 290,000 Tamil human shields held hostage by LTTE, a fact nobody speaks of today. Judging from the figures, most of them did not vote for GR either.

As illustrated in chart 4, almost one million voters became eligible to vote since the 2015 Presidential election.  Both polled votes and valid votes have increased by over one million, respectively.  GR has increased his number of votes by 1.1 million or 20% over the number of votes received by Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2015, despite receiving a below-average minority vote. Meanwhile, SP received over 652,000 or 12% lesser number of votes than did President Sirisena in 2015 despite the overwhelming minority votes in his favor.

Chart 4 Comparison of key data – 2015 and 2019 Presidential Polls 
Year Reg Voters Total Polled Valid Votes GR / MR SP / MS
2015 15,044,490 12,264,377 12,123,452 5,768,090 6,217,162
2019 15,992,096 13,387,951 13,252,499 6,924,255 5,564,239
Increase/Decrease  947,606 1,123,574 1,129,047 1,156,165 (652,923)
Variance % 6% 9% 9% 20% (12)

It would be pertinent to examine the reasons for such a development. The million or so new voters would be between 18 and 23 years. It is not conceivable, this entire group of young persons voted for GR who at 70 represents the age group of their grandfathers rather than 52-year-old SP closer to the age group of their fathers.

Perhaps closer to home is a sizable shift of the traditional UNP vote block. It is an indication, Yahapalana development programs such as Suraksha, Gam Peraliya, Enterprise Sri Lanka, and langame paasela, hondema paasela (the nearest school the best school) had no bearing.

The newly elected President’s detractors accuse him, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and the SLPP for spreading a fear psychosis in the country to arouse the Sinhala community, especially the extremist elements. The increased involvement of Buddhist clergy in the political arena and frequent use of Buddhist temples for political gatherings further exacerbated matters. Two death fasts by Buddhist Priests during the last six months on political issues is a case in point.    

The fear factor undoubtedly played a crucial role in voting patterns, with economic factors and corruption being contributory factors. It affected all communities on different issues. 

For the Sinhalese, their concerns began when the Yahapalana government unreservedly cosponsored the UNHRC Resolution 30/1 in September 2015. The arbitrary manner it was carried out according to the whim and fancy of former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera is viewed by many Sinhalese as over appeasing the Tamil community. The subsequent claim by President Sirisena of not being consulted did not help. The Sinhalese consider the TNA demand for recognition of a Tamil nation within an undivided Sri Lanka in a federal arrangement as disguised separatism as with the demand for the merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces.  The government’s failure to discipline one of its Tamil junior ministers making a public announcement of a wish for the revival of the LTTE to maintain law and order in the North is an example of political expediency. The UNHRC Resolution also paved the way for regular visits by UNHRC sanctioned Human Rights interlocutors considered by many as unnecessary interference. The Easter Sunday bombings resulting in 250 plus deaths and over 500 injured in April heightened security concerns. The wishy-washy manner adopted by the government in the subsequent investigations with several politicians, despite their suspicious conduct, was capitalized by the Rajapaksa group and SLPP to heighten security concerns further. Then came the 13 demands from the TNA, which also included some of the issues mentioned earlier shortly before the election date. While GR and the third front runner rejected the demands outright, SP’s less than convincing refusal may have also caused damage to him in the South. 

The Tamil and Muslim communities have their fears. How both the previous Rajapaksa and Yahapalana governments handled anti-Muslim riots in 2014, 2016, and 2019 is sufficient justification for such concerns. No investigations have been forthcoming, nor has a single person been prosecuted for rioting and vandalism. The Tamil community experienced anti-Tamil riots over half a dozen times since Independence. They justifiably see a repetition of government inaction in the handling of recent anti-Muslim riots. They are also yet to forgive the Sinhalese for militarily defeating the LTTE. 

The country had gone through a political quagmire in the last five years due to the failed unity government. Cohabitation has proved an utter failure, and the need of the hour is a stable government. Towards this end, the best possible solution would be the dissolution of Parliament followed by snap parliamentary elections, which will hopefully bring about a government with a working majority but certainly not a two-third majority. The two occasions on which political parties won a two-thirds majority in 1970 and 1977 turned out to be unmitigated disasters. One can only hope this time around; crossovers will not be forthcoming.

The inevitable SLPP government in the next Parliamentary election calls for a strong opposition to keep the new government in check. At the time of going to Press, Ranil Wickremasinghe has been appointed Leader of Opposition by the Speaker during the period of the interim caretaker government. It has caused a rift with SP and 40 UNP MPs demanding SP’s appointment to the post.

It would be sensible for Ranil Wickremesinghe to give way for a younger leader. If not, it would be best for SP to break away and form his party with a group of younger followers. A breakaway group formed the SLPP from the SLFP after the electoral defeat suffered in 2015. Within a short period of fewer than five years, they captured the Presidency and presently on course for victory in the next parliamentary election. It is in no small measure due to the organizational capabilities of Basil Rajapaksa, younger brother of GR. SP, too, should seek a seasoned organizer and political campaigner with similar skills with an eye on 2025 Presidential elections.

To conclude, congratulations and best wishes to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. 

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Latest comments

  • 2
    4

    Sajith or his party complained that Sirikotha did not have money (that should be true. they finished bond scam money within a short period, I heard). But Mangala got $ 750,000 of MCC money for signing the MOU for MCC-COMPACT. That money was partly for the future Lands, Ports and Transprot, the balance was for politics. I heard, Mangala had said that there is money but not much. On the other hand, Sajith. The minister for CULTURE had removed Rs 1.5 billion from the Central cultural fund. that happened just before the nominations or just after handing over nominations for the presidential election. I think UNP or Ranil leaked that story. Sajith said, that money was not wasted. Anyway, what did you Jayaweera knows about it, the present situation ?

    • 6
      3

      Dear Rajeewa, as a priority, Gota must understand the following ;
      1. Sovereignty of Sri Lanka is dependent on the security concerns of India. Hiding behind China or playing the China card is not going to take him far.
      2. Rights of Tamils to share land and power must be addressed. He cannot take India for a ride with Modi, who has clearly mentioned it in his letter.
      3. Territorial integrity of Sri Lanka is dependent on the political decisions of India. India can easily destabilize the country if he antagonizes them.

      • 2
        1

        Well you have got everything wrong. This is not 1980s but 2019 so India’s influence does not matter as you stated. Sri Lanka should have one law to all people and people in the north must accept that. Abolition of TNA is a must to achieve peace in the country as they enslave civilians in the north also they are puppet of LTTE diapora. Also Tamils and Muslims should understand that Sihalese are the majority and they have not match

        • 1
          1

          When Gota has understood the geo-political reality and the might of India, by keeping quiet for what was told by Modi and accepting the invitation (? summons) to attend Delhi high command, how could you say what was said by me is wrong. For that matter India is more powerful under BJP at present than in 1980s under Congress. They have made bold decisions on Kashmir despite shouts from others. They will make bold decisions on Sri Lanka despite Chinese presence. In 1980s it was a conflict between India supported by USSR against USA/West with China as observer, and now it is a conflict between India supported by USA/West against China with Russia as observer. In 1980s India won, but the victory was spoiled by the stupidity of Prabaharan. This time India will win comprehensively as there is no Prabaharan to spoil the party. Gota will be read the riot act by Modi and he will have to comply with it or face ignominy worse than that was handed over in 1980s. Will Gota be a Dutugemunu or end up as Goothemunu.

  • 6
    1

    Idiot screams again!!!

  • 4
    3

    Rajeewa Jayaweera ,

    Thanks for your analysis.

    The extent of disgust with Ranil W and Sirisena, combined wit the Sinhala Buddhist Racism and Sinhala Buddhism, gave a distinct advantage to Gotabaya Rajapaksa, along with the Wahhabi-Salafi Terrorism on Easter Sunday, and issues related to security.

    Gotabaya is perceived as more racist than Mahinda. If you look at the 2010 numbers, it will be clear.. During 2010, perhaps half the Muslims voted for Mahinda, and a substantial fraction of Tamils as well, for “Liberating” them from LTTE.

    Despite, all the Sinhala Buddhist Racism ingrained in Gotabaya, if he has learned anguishing from America , the way they govern and do business, perhaps he can make an improvement compared to Yahapalanaya of Ranil W and Sinrisena. Decreasing the number of ministers is a good thing,. Why do you need 4 imbecile minsters to do the job of one? In any case he will he expected to prostrate to saffron clad imbecile monks, like the other imbeciles.

    Expect quite a few bodies to disappear and unaccounted for. How many?

    Nobody will get to Nirvana or Nibbana, despite all the brainwashings. Threw is no data in support of getting to Nirvana or Nibbana, despite throwing words ;like soul, no-soul or like condition etc.

  • 5
    3

    Rajeewa Jayaweera .

    RE: Congratulations & Best Wishes To President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

    Why was Gotabaya Rajapksa elected by 52% of the voters?

    “Why? Because on April 21, Islamist suicide bombers with links to ISIS walked into three hotels and three Catholic churches and detonated devices, killing 259 people and injuring another 500.”

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-7715923/Sri-Lanka-business-plenty-deals-youll-practically-yourself.html

    Now wah did the ” Islamist”, Wahhabi-Salafi Bombers bomb?
    Because the Sinhalaa Buddhists wanted to maintain their hegemony at the expense of the Muslims, ignore Law and Order, and even the constitution, destroy the Muslim businesses and the Yahapalanaya did nothing, and drove small minority to take law and order into their own hands.

    So, the SYMPTOM was the terrorism. The CAUSE was the Sinhala Buddhist RACISM and HEGEMONY.

    Gotyabaya Rajapaksa exploited that. Just look at the electoral map.

    ISBN-13: 978-0226789507
    ISBN-10: 0226789500

    Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (July 15, 1992)

    Want to know more ? Read Read Buddhism Betrayed, by Dr. Stanley Thambiah, with introduction by Lal Jayawardena printed 1992 by the Chicago University Press.

    This volume seeks to answer the question of how the Buddhist monks in today’s Sri Lanka—given Buddhism’s traditionally nonviolent philosophy—are able to participate in the fierce political violence of the Sinhalese against the Tamils, and now against the Muslims as well.

    • 4
      7

      Amarasiri aiya
      Kindly tell me what level of IQ above 79 should I posses to understand the following logic.
      /
      SYMPTOM was the terrorism.
      The CAUSE was the Sinhala Buddhist RACISM and HEGEMONY.
      THEREFORE they bombed CATHOLICS and TOURISTS.
      /
      Is this a new variant of Aristotalian Logic discovered by ‘Amarasiri’ which folks below IQ 79 should not attempt to understand?

      Soma

      • 1
        2

        soma Malli,

        Read Buddhism Betrayed by Dr. Stanley Thambiah, with a forward by Lal Jayawardena, Chicago University Press, 1992.

        CAUSE: Para-Sinhala Para-Buddhism, and the hatred they show to fellow man, which is different from what Buddha taught. Para-Sinhala Para-Buddhism is a distortion of Buddhism and is an ins ult to the Buddha.

        You may have some common sense and intelligence left to understand this.

        Did the Kings Vijaya, Padives Dev, Pandukabaya, Mutu Siva prostrate to the imbecile saffron clad monks? No , they were not there.

        It was downhill, from there because, Devanam Piya Tissa embraced Para-Sinhala Para-Buddhism and let the monks to teach the populace it is important to prostrate to the monks, and to protect Para-Sinhala Para-Buddhism, so that the monks can maintain their hegemony. So, Gotabaya foes to Ruwanvali Saya for the oath , and prostates to the imbecile monks, which the Kings Vijaya, Padives Dev, Pandukabaya, Mutu Siva did not do.

        It was the Para-Sinhala Para-Buddhist monks who taught Sinhala Buddhist Racism to the masses.

        It is all about hegemony of the monks.

        • 1
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          And therefore the Wahabis bombed the CATHOLICS and TOURISTS.

          Soma

          • 1
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            soma .

            “And therefore the Wahabis bombed the CATHOLICS and TOURISTS.”

            The Wahhabi-Salafis are freaking idiots. Even the Hadith of Najd says that they are the followers of the Devil, Satan, current version ISIS.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadith_of_Najd

            “O Allaah bestow your blessings on our Shaam. O Allaah bestow your blessings on our Yemen.” The people said, “O Messenger of Allaah, and our Najd.” I think the third time the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said, “There (in Najd) will occur earthquakes, trials and tribulations, and from there appears the Horn of Satan.”

            Those idiots believe that they will get 72 virgins or raisins when they die. In fact, they are consumed by microorganisms, or if burned oxidized. It is hard to reason with idiots and imbeciles, whether Islamic Wahhabi Fundamentalists or Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhist” Fundamentalists. They were all brainwashed at an early age and their neuron connections hard wired.

            Why do you think that the Samaneras Child monks are recruited when they are 7 years of age? To satisfy the cravings of the Senior monks?

  • 6
    10

    It was ‘Para’ British colonial parasites that created the anomaly of minority of minority Malabar Wellala Demalu controlling the majority Native Sinhalayo in Sinhale.
    During British rule, under their infamous ‘Divide and Rule’ policy a large number of Malabara Wellala Demalu brought to this country by Portuguese and Dutch from Malabar entered the Government service and helped the colonial parasites to oppress Native Sinhalayo who fought against British rule and exploit this country. The problem with these Wellala Demalu is they still think they can dictate terms to Native Sinhalayo because of the superior status they enjoyed during British rule. ‘Para’ British also still use Demalu to destabilize this country.

    • 10
      3

      Still blaming the British for all the problems in Sri Lanka after 71 years of Independence?
      *
      That’s beyond absurd!
      *
      The current state of Sri Lanka is 100% the responsibility of its citizens. They’re the ones who keep electing the Corrupt Politicians and don’t hold them accountable for their actions.
      *
      People need to take a look in the mirror and see where the real problem lies!
      *
      79 IQ Sri Lankans have the Government they deserve! Enjoy!

      • 6
        2

        UKCitizen
        Still blaming the British for all the problems in Sri Lanka after 71 years of Independence?
        ————
        Sinhalese have many parallels with african nations.
        Ruining their nations after the white man left
        Communal violence and racism taking centre stage
        Crippling levels of corruption on all levels
        Blaming the white man to this day
        Inviting the Chinese now to colonize them so they can see some productivity again
        Low iq

        • 1
          2

          Jegan,

          Sinhalese have all those common items you mentioned , and in addition they have Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhism”, so that they can prostrate to saffron clad imbecile monks, which makes them extra stupid imbeciles.

          • 1
            0

            There are several stupid people in the world. some are civilized while others are not. Among the people I find our race is also very primitive and no better than some in Africa. They respect that barbarian people are better than the ziwilized people. All these people went to school. Some of them have a university education. Nevertheless, they think how they must forever belong to some. This mentality was born in them. No facts can help you. All arguments do not do anything for such people. They do not think about the future of the nation. They also do not love their own blood. Only tiny percentage people do the right thing. They continue to tell so they can be taught uneducated. Which I only see on the Platform CT.
            They do not even look who they vote for, but they do it as if they are brainwashing for me.
            I think that we are running back from evolution. Korea or Ethiopia today think differently than our people (average) would think. They work more .. and do not expect much from the state as our people do.
            Recently, a Japanese professor asked me how much our state can do us. There are few countries offering as much as in Srilanka. Free education alone is a big thing. But that is not respected by the people.

  • 6
    2

    Rajeeva,
    Yes, Gotabaya won this election. There is no question on that point. Gotabaya may be a good administrator but Gotabaya has to prove as a good democratic leader. Will he leave an independent judiciary? Already he transferred the CID head who was investigating Lasantha murder because he doesn’t want to find out the truth. I know you don’t like to talk about the past but when there is a need or threat to his power or authority he will not hesitate to do the same he did to Lasantha and many others. Srilanka is not a closed country to cover up everything and the challenges and problems remain the same. It is just few days of his new role as a president and it is too early to predict the future.

  • 1
    1

    Amarasiri aiya
    Kindly tell me what level of IQ above 79 should I posses to understand the following logic.
    /
    SYMPTOM was the terrorism.
    The CAUSE was the Sinhala Buddhist RACISM and HEGEMONY.
    THEREFORE they bombed CATHOLICS and TOURISTS.
    /
    Is this a new variant of Aristotalian Logic discovered by ‘Amarasiri’ which folks below IQ 79 should not attempt to understand?

    Soma

  • 5
    3

    Soma the slum ASS,
    Your IQ cannot be measured from pee brained asses.

  • 5
    2

    Mr. Jayaweera,

    ‘Congratulations and best wishes’ to the chief of White Van brigade?

    And your argument exaggerates the ‘odds stacked against’ him. It was known there was a pro-SLPP wave.

    Having made the Tamils a defeated people, a large number of Sinhalese were already itching to ‘teach’ another minority, the Muslims, a lesson during the previous regime of the Rajapaksas, and in their mind, there was ‘unfinished business.’ But the failures of MS-RW to produce any serious results or to eliminate corruption, and the Easter Sunday attacks brought more people into that wave. Even though the majority of the victims of the bombings were Tamil Catholics, the attacks were used to boost what was already brewing among the Sinhalese. GR’s election was hardly a surprise.

  • 3
    0

    what happened here was clear. SP sided with the LTTE and ISIS Terrorists . The South figured it out

    THE END

  • 4
    0

    Gotabaya R Prevails Against All Odds:

    I dont think the writer knows anything about how the Bookies operate. Gotha didnt win Against All Odds ( he won as predicted) and that gives Gotha credit for getting the 52% Hardcore Racists to vote for him . But in my view what was against all Odds was that 42% voted for Sajith giving some hope that Gothas 5 year rule ( he certainly wont last the full term either through sudden death or circumstances ) in ISOLATION would force even a sizable proportion to ditch him faced with Economic Hardship, Erosion of Civil Liberties , Encroachment by India if Gotha follows a Foreign Policy hostile to India and above all I hope a realization faced with difficulties that it is tough at the top.
    Isolation is evident from the fact that the Civilised World refused to engage with him by failing to pick up the phone to wish. It must have sent a SHOCK Wave in the upper echelons of the ruling Dynasty. Gotha don’t worry there is more to come. “Poha Poha Therium” . November 29th will be the turning point in your short lived Presidency.

  • 3
    1

    You Gotha Lover:

    He was 1/20 Favourite.

  • 2
    1

    It looks like Jeyashankars old ” Laddu ” has worked . Gotha is learning fast and he has said he will not do anything to harm India and that means Cheenavedi stays out. So this year Pongal will be without Cheenavedi. Thanks to Modi

  • 1
    0

    ‘The Sri Lankan armed forces led by MR, GR, and retired Army Commander Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka rescued nearly 290,000 Tamil human shields held hostage by LTTE, a fact nobody speaks of today.’

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