21 June, 2024


How Serious Are You About The 20A, Mr President?

By Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

President Maithripala Sirisena is not an in-your-face leader. That’s a relief. But if his wallflower ways have raised doubts about his ability to deliver on promises made then his deft moves in the past few days should lay them all to rest.

A week ago the 20th Amendment seemed doomed. For all the talk about electoral reform when it came to doing the needful everyone seemed disinterested. The UNP, primarily through Lakshman Kiriella and Kabir Hashim, couldn’t stop talking about dissolution. They even sounded as though dissolving parliament was Ranil Wickremesinghe’s prerogative. Wijedasa Rajapakshe,the self-appointed Grandmaster of Democracy and All Things Constitution ought to have tutored them about what was possible and what was not.

Then there’s the JVP. They seemed to have trashed all the reform files from their drives, hard and soft, and focused their energies on playing their new found role as UNP’s Echo to perfection. Sure, they do insult the Prime Minister off and on but it appears to be tokenism that fools no one and a habit-thing at worst.

The Mahinda-faction played their part. After much huffing and puffing they came up with a no-confidence motion against Ranil Wickremesinghe. The key spokespersons of that group also demanded a snap poll. The TNA and SLMC also made some election-noises. They didn’t show any enthusiasm whatsoever for electoral reform.

Maithripala FB 24 04 2014Indeed it seemed that the UNP, JVP and the Mahinda-Faction were working together; separated by objective but united by the convergence of immediate political necessity. In fact the President’s lukewarm comments on the 20th Amendment gave the impression that all politicians had united to play a monumental joke on the electors. The twitterati belonging to these groups was busy vilifying one another even as they sang the elections anthem in unison. Dissolution seemed inevitable and imminent.

Then came a rally. For the 20th. For the 20th before elections. An SLFP rally. They were all there. Anura Priyadharshana Yapa and Susil Premajayantha, ‘widely’ expected to be axed from their Secretary posts in the SLFP and UPFA respectively, were there. Also seen were those who by endorsing the no-confidence motion against Wickremesinghe were said to have in that very act expressed support for Mahinda Rajapaksa (against Wickremesinghe AND Sirisena?).

Most importantly, Maithripala Sirisena was there. He, unlike his party stalwarts, did not attack the UNP. He talked of everyone getting together to see the amendment through. But he was there. He backed the 20th. First the 20th, then elections. That was the position he backed.

Then came an unanimous Cabinet Decision to go ahead with the 20th Amendment.

All of a sudden there’s no talk of elections. All of a sudden there’s less talk of the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister. All of a sudden there’s a lot of talk about the 20th. It’s appearing less and less like lip service. Soon, perhaps, we’ll having the same people who seemed so ready to ditch the 20th and go for elections falling over each other to claim ownership to electoral reform. It would be funny but that’s ok, considering these worthies have taken the people for a joke for quite a long time.

How did this happen? Sirisena Magic? No. It’s called The Power of the Executive Presidency. All he had to do was make a small move and it precipitated giant strides in the matter of amending the constitution. And this is exactly why a cautionary note of the ‘don’t celebrate yet’ kind just cannot be fathomed. The President is reported to have told Cabinet that the next election would be held under the present system.

What kind of logic is that? You amend something because you think that the ‘something’ is flawed. Once amended you don’t affirm and give credence to the flaw by employing it. It is as simple as that.

All credit to the President to get electoral reform back from the wilderness of political bickering. Three hearty cheers and all that kind of thing. What he has proven is that he can get things done against what clearly appeared to be monumental odds. He stood alone, apparently, against the UNP, the SLFP, the JVP, the TNA and the SLMC. He prevailed. Having stood tall he cannot stoop low without hurting his back.

Mr President, we applaud you for showing far more integrity with respect to pledges made than all your backers put together. Mr Present, we are holding back the accolades on the 20th though. We hope you understand.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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Latest comments

  • 14

    Malinda Senevirathe was a die-hard Mahinda Supporter. Now, Mahinda’s luck is dwindling day by day, Malinda is cheering to Maitripala sirisena.

    • 11

      But, much as I have despised Malinda’s pathetic support toward the Rajapakses, I have to say I agree with his main premise here… why change the constitution before the election, and then not hold the election under the amended version?

      Good question Malinda, now be a good boy and be objective in your future commentary; it is the only thing we expect from you.

      • 0

        Malinda [Edited out]
        Fact is that Sisisena is also playing games.
        Malinda didn’t you know that: Maithripala Sirisena has appointed four Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) parliamentarians as Deputy Ministers on Wednesday evening. This is after promising to reduce the number of Cabinet Ministers, he has appointed one of the most corrupt clowns – Thilanga Sumathipala. Some Yahapalayanya – a Joke played on Sinhala [Edited out] !
        Malinda, fact is that Doing the Right thing in Sri Lanka is a thankless task. You can survive the system there only if you are CORRUPT, compromised, turn a blind eye and avoid taking any PRINCIPLED positions. The universities are filled with pseudo academics who do not know the meaning of the word ETHICS, as are most governance institutions. This is due to the CORRUPT POLITICAL CULTURE that has been built up by the Political Representatives and leaders of the Sinhala[Edited out] who have distracted the Sinhala [Edited out] from their corruption by attacking the minority communities – since independence in 1948. Today I read
        ‘MPs Sanath Jayasuriya, Wijaya Dahanayake, Eric Weerawardena and Thilanga Sumathipala took oaths as Deputy Ministers at an event held at the Presidential Secretariat, the President’s Media Unit said. recently. Wake up moda Malinda and stop being a vasi pathata hoyiya!
        Long live Sinhala [Edited out] Yahapalayanaya and Yahapalakayo!

        • 2

          Why increase the number of MPs in the Diyawenna Parliament of corrupt clowns before delimiting electorates as part of electoral reform. Seems that Sirisena and all the corrupt politicians are only concerned about their political survival and continuing to loot the people of Lanka!

      • 4

        Have to agree with you, Ben – and hopefully Malinda will continue to be more objective than when he was (?) an unabashed MR apologist.

        But let’s not hold our breath!

    • 7

      Jim Softy

      Other Mahinda Supporters. They have now got Common Sense. Their IQs went from 65 to 93.

      [Edited out]

    • 2

      This man Malinda is said to be a graduate of Harward, I really dont know why the bugger seems to be on backlicking mode of the idiots, as if he has nothing better to do.

      We perfectly, know they Prez Sirisena is genuine about any kind of people s favourable amendments but the ground situation is similar to being caught by devil. His experience over the decades in Lanken politics will help him finding a better soltuion to all these is what I feel being out of the country.

    • 1

      Comparing an idiot like Mahinda Rajapakshe to Prez Sirisena is a joke actually. That can only be done by idiotic supporters of MR. By now, his lead has brought much to the naton, than had been the psychosis era of Mahinda Rajapakshe highly corrupted era.

    • 1

      Hey guys, dont take them serioius when it comes from Malinda – who was one another journalist – who has no backbone to stand against high corruption and abuses of former corrupted leader Mahinda Rajapakse( these men lived on the perks offered tothem.. so they have to be like that )

      [Edited out]

  • 7

    Malinda Seneviratne , Shill and White washer of Mahimda Rajapaksa asks:

    How Serious Are You About The 20A, Mr President? Maitripala Sirisena.

    I suppose, he is serious, and it may not look that way fir the Shills and Cronies of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

    Malinda, the MaRa Shill, do you know why Mahinda Rajapakda goes to Temples these Days? Is he looking for young boys?

    People are protesting because he wants to turn the Temple into a Political Stage and Divide the Worshipers, just the same way he divided the country and the communities.

    MaRa MaRa Chatu MaRa, MaRa Amana MaRa….Expose Mara Amana Mara

    So, he should neutralize the Mara, MaRa. People are Protesting MaRa presence.


    • 1

      You know Amarasiri – europeans question me most of the time as to why we the highly literate folks seem to face this much of difficulties when getting any kind of people favourable constituational amendements passed?

      Now you know – how difficult it is to move 1 inch towards the progress ? This country is no better to Somalia though they are proudly repeating that people of the country are highly literate. Either literacy should be defined differently or someting totally wrong with Sinhaalya … may be they have been bearing the BURUWA gene to behave this way.

      Last night having listend to Lokugamamge – I understood how diehard they work to bring the MAHADANAMUTTA of all high profile courrptions getting back them to continue corrupted politics.
      How can a man in senior level behave this way. Lokugamage is no better to politicial teenager Gomanpilla. When looking at all these being out of the country, I feel, we are not even seeing the light at the end of the tunnel when it goes for a better future. Lanken stituation will remain so stagnated, until the messies will stand on the way sabotaging any good move towards the humanity of the country.

      If I were in lanken politics, I would have found all the evidences to put those men in jail for the rest of their life.
      Once we have the evidences to prove Rajapakshes deserve long term jail sessions together with his ground men – People among the 5.8 mios would get it nicely, that they have to support the ones that diehard work to bring good systems. Else, we have to move simialr to Golubella.. snail walk… just wasting times.

  • 1

    Malinda who types his stories on Mahinda’s laptop: Am I mistaken to think you are lapping Maithri’s top?

  • 8

    Malinda is making hay while the sunshines because there is no white van under this regime, There are lapses in this government but it is still preferred to the crass, racist and filthy rule of MR. You can cry till the cows come home Malinda, we will not let your MR return. So continue to write rubbish for all we care……

  • 2

    Bodhi Sira can only bully his SLFP MPs
    And turn a blind eye to Ranil’s F… CID which is harassing Rajapaksas and anyone and everyone who have had any association with them.

    Look at what the Christian Faction Leader who became the unelected PM is doing to the country..

    Expressways to Beliatta, Kataragama , Hambantota are all stopped.

    No jobs for the Dalits for nearly 6 months.

    Even Samurdhi money is going to Elite or Bathgottasa..

    UEPM’s FM has done a deal with the LTTE heavies on their own Turf to give access to Srilanka without any restrictions.

    Apology for Killing Prababa and causing distress is off the record.

    But the promise to hand over our brave soldiers is sort of mentioned on the side lines, like the promise to accept input from the UN and Solheim for war crime trials.. .

    UEPM’s Finance Minister has handed over a lion’s share of our Tax revenue to Mahendran’s Son in Law Alloysious, paying 3 percentage more than the going rate for the next thirty years.

    UEPM’s F… CID is now after our Upasaka Manios and Sil Ammes to find out who gave them white closes to wear to the Temple

    And who gave them the money to buy this attire..

    All Bodhi Sira has done so far is to tweak UEPM’s 19 A and 20 A and pretend that he has done a marvellous job and everything is good…

    No body including our own Milinda has never explained or asked how our great majority who live in the rural sector are going to benefit from these UNP Wijedadasas’ handy work.

    One must be on Kerala Herb to think UNP Wijedasas care more about our poor Rural Sinhala Buddhist people than the Poodle Society of Colombo.

    BTW,Wonder where the UNP Buddhist Faction leaders are nowadays…?????

    Hope they will wake up after hearing Colombo Poodles pissed on Premadasa’s Carpet.

  • 6


    Before Asking From Mr Sirisena,
    “How Serious Are You About The 20A, Mr President?”.

    Why Don’t you ask from Your Former Laptop Boss Mahendran Percyvel Jarapassa,
    How Serious Are You About The Premiership.
    then Chief Ministership,
    Then Provincial Membership,
    Then Retire To Mooda moolana??

  • 2

    Dear Malinda keep up your good work
    strengthen your integrity to serve for a good cause.
    President on a monumental task to sail his ship
    He has few pirates on board and surrounded by many.
    There are many visible tips of icebergs
    People like you can help him to sail through.
    Every effort worth the cause for civility to prevail.
    Your contribution will help enormously
    Hope you understand,
    You can do it. Your pen have the strength.
    Let it come from your heart with honesty and humility
    Promise to protect people with your pen and paper.
    Help President to stay in course for a cause
    Power can corrupt anyone, constant commitment from people like you can prevent it.
    Mistakes can be made, but they have to be acknowledged to avoid them again.
    don’t let down people on board
    Wish you well.

  • 2

    Far more serious than MR was in diluting the executive powers

  • 2

    Malinda malinda cry as much as you want and write as much as you want to have MR back but sonna boy its not going to happen so go tell your wifey and cry like child saying I want Mahinda back I want Mahinda back and im sure she will sing a lullaby to make you sleep my boy!

  • 2

    President Maithiri,
    The people of Srilanka gave a clear message what they are serious about the future of the country. They are very serious about law and order and justice; they are serious about corruption, they are serious about cleaning the politics and politicians; they are serious about misuse of power; they are serious about democracy; they are seriously worried about authoritarian rule; they are serious about peace, love, honesty. People risked their life to make a change towards these serious matters, not about 20 or 20A. Only politicians are interested on this, not the people.
    I am sure Maithiri is moving in right direction steadily and slowly. Most of the politicians who are currently in our parliaments are opportunistists, criminals, drug dealers, racists, and fundamentalists. Unless you replace these lot with new bloods who love the country, who love the human values, who respect the law and order it is going to be tough. First Maithiri should now focus on those who corrupted the nation, who try to create violence using fundamentalist and racist motives should be brought under justice.

  • 0

    Malinda just as serious – when you were bum licking when you got free laptops from the previous regime. Shame on you; please cease your sarcastic columns.

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