24 May, 2022


In Predicting Presidential Elections?

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

In predicting the upcoming presidential elections, there are no regular opinion polls conducted in Sri Lanka, like for example in Australia. In Australia, which is a compulsory voting country, before we went to the polling booth last time, on 7 September 2013, we roughly knew through these polling predictions that the Labor would lose and the Liberals would win at the national parliamentary elections. As I have expressed in analyzing those results and predictions, it is possible that some voters must have been influenced by these predictions at least marginally. Thank God, we don’t have them in Sri Lanka. In my opinion, these opinion polls should stop at least a week before an election, or otherwise free and fair elections might be indirectly influenced, even in an advanced country like Australia.

How Can We Predict?

In the absence of such regular polls, however, how can we predict the results of an election or more precisely the upcoming presidential elections in Sri Lanka? There can be intelligent guesses by carefully observing the opinion or campaign trends. There can be wild guesses as well. I can remember from my childhood that people even used to bet money or precious items like wrist watches or gold rings on the basis of those guesses. However, when one prediction was right, the other was wrong.

Of course we have soothsayers or astrologers who predict the results by reading the horoscopes of candidates and planetary conditions. If these are accurate, then the prediction of presidential election is easy because there are only two main contenders, MR and MS. One may even argue that what is the point in having elections? We should have a Council of Astrologers to select the best candidate for the country without spending lots and lots of money and energy.

On the lighter side, I also understand that there was a TV panel discussion of four astrologers recently. After all their readings and arguments, they finally concluded that planetary conditions are almost equal for both candidates, two of them predicting MS would win and the other two favoring MR.

MaithriUnfortunately we have something called democracy, invented by the ‘Westerners,’ and we have adopted it reluctantly though and we want to give every ‘tom, dick and harry’ a say in the selection of our President. Yet, why do we need to predict the elections? Even I am not very sure, except it might give me pleasure or credit as an academic, if I predict the most obvious, like the astrologers!

Let me get little serious. Let me ask this question: what factors are important in deciding who will win the election? What are the different methods that we can use in predicting? People or analysts have expressed many views. Some have stressed the personalities of the two candidates. Others have stressed political issues confronting the country such as corruption, mismanagement (family) and unresolved minority issues. The traditional economic factors also cannot be ignored. People who would rally around these issues, however, would be different.

The two candidates are not independent candidates. There are political parties behind them, however shambolic. Those political parties do have traditional vote banks; not static but fluctuating. These are called ‘primary votes’ irrespective of the candidate/s or the issues. They may relate to broader party policies or ideologies. Then you have ethnicity, religion or even caste intervening. We always forget the gender issue. At this elections that is the most unaddressed. It is basically a male competition, naturally violence involved.

One thing about this election is that both candidates are strong Sinhala Buddhists. (I doubt that CBK was like that in 1994). Therefore those constituencies of non-Sinhala Buddhist backgrounds or their majorities would prefer the most amicable person for them. This would also depend on what the political parties of those constituencies would say. For example, TNA to the Tamil voters and SLMC to the Muslim voters. Then it overlaps with political party preferences.

Some Past-Patterns

All these factors are complicated that impinge on the final outcome. Then how could we decide what factors are more important in the election? Or how do we separate the wheat from the chaff? This is the key question for any predictor. We can go backwards and see what factors became predominant and why? I am making a quick sweep. We know that cultural/nationalist sentiments predominated the 1956 elections. On the other hand, economic factors predominated the 1977 elections. But both were parliamentary elections and not presidential ones.

It appears to me that when it comes to presidential elections, personalities and past records of incumbents’ (as relevant), and national policy issues play a major role among other factors. Because, firstly, the presidential system is highly a personalized system. Secondly, issues become predominant since public ‘good or bad’ becomes related to those personalities. There is nothing wrong in people holding the President responsible for all the ills in the country. This is the case in other countries as well.

We have had six presidential elections previously – 1982, 1988, 1994, 1999, 2005 and 2010. If I again use a quick brush, Hector Kobbekaduwa was no match for JRJ in 1982. In addition, economic performance under JRJ was impressive and fairly uncontroversial, except for the workers particularly in July 1980. Both the personality and the issue factor however favored JRJ.

When it came to the presidential race in 1988, it was difficult for Mrs. B to compete with R. Premadasa irrespective of her past popularity and also unpopularity (1971-77). Atmosphere was violent and only 55 percent could reach the polling booths. Although the running party was the same as before (UNP), Premadasa presented a new vision towards the rural constituencies.

At the presidential elections in 1994, voters wanted a change, weary of continued violence and instability. Finally, after the assassination of Gamini Dissanayake, Mrs. Dissanayake was no match for CBK. There were several political factors in operation which were quite similar to today, I might briefly revisit later. The threat of the LTTE was a key issue at the 1999 presidential election. Vote for CBK was to manage the situation against RW’s appeasement, yet with an eroded popularity from 62 percent to 51 percent. Apart from the sympathy vote, gained after the bomb attack on CBK, policy issues were again predominant.

By 2005, perhaps voters wanted a change again rationally or not. The victory margin was slender. A key factor preventing RW’s victory over MR was LTTE’s boycott. The role of accidents or irrationality in political history is amply demonstrated by that election through which the country undoubtedly benefitted immensely. Thereafter, MR’s victory over SF in 2010 was a cake walk. People paid their gratitude to the incumbent immensely. However, it is a doubtful question whether the people would repeat the same in 2015. The factors that have intervened in between 2010 and now (2015) are crucial. These are crucial even in predicting the results.

All the above are ideas or set of ideas. They may be influenced by my academic discipline (75 percent) and personal political preferences (25 percent). Both are intermingled. Let me quote an authority (“Predicting Presidential Elections” by Ray C. Fair, Stanford University Press, 2002, p. 2). I am even ‘plagiarizing’ my title from him!

“We call an idea or a set of ideas offered to explain something a theory. A theory may or may not be a good explanation….What is important is that there be some way to test whether the theory is any good.

In this article, I am confining myself mainly to the theoretical side of the prediction. I may try, if the time permits, to test this theory or hypothesis before the election. In testing my hypothesis, a survey would have been the best. However, it is practically not possible at this stage or even otherwise. Therefore, I may depend on what the others have done through surveys, I must say critically. The other available method is by analyzing the past election results, objectively. Even here, there can be various methods of doing so. There are different analyses or interpretations already done by different people.

Some Questions

On the theoretical side, we can ask some pertinent questions going back and forth. Some answers might reveal certain aspects of the electoral behavior of the voters and also the political leaders (or the rascals!). This is educational and even be useful for the future. After all, all our exercises or efforts should help to advance our knowledge on the subject of elections, electoral behavior and the operations of democracy. Our exercises should not be just about manipulation of figures.

How did MR beat RW in 2005? It was quite a skillful endeavor under an extremely disadvantageous situation. First he projected himself as a reliable and a reasonable leader even for the LTTE. Mahinda Chinthana 1 was innovative. The coup de grace came when he managed to neutralize the Northern Tamil voters through an understanding or deal with the LTTE. The majority was a mere 180,000 votes, which could have been offset, if the Tamils had voted.

Then how did MR win the 2010 elections when the TNA backed SF? The answer indicates some exceptional circumstances. It was not merely the defeat of the LTTE that gave him the edge, because SF was the celebrated Army Commander. It was the peak of MR’s popularity, after the victory of course, and there was some hope that even the longstanding ethnic conflict might be resolved under his leadership. No one should underestimate the moderate constituency that voted for MR in 2010. If his campaign was a chauvinist one, a person like me, for example, or many other academics would not have campaigned for him in 2010.

It is my hypothesis, therefore, that people vote, not only to gratify war but also to achieve peace. There are ‘war voters.’ But there are ‘peace voters’ as well. The voting behavior in 1994 presidential elections and 2001 parliamentary elections also showed this phenomenon. One should not ignore that MR’s 2005 manifesto also was primarily a peace manifesto. On the other hand, ‘triumphalism’ was not that prominent in 2010 elections. Therefore, peace constituencies also voted for him in 2010. The voters obviously preferred a civilian leader to a military leader.

In a parliamentary system, party vote constitutes the election bedrock. Prior to the introduction of the presidential system, it could reasonably be assumed the following percentages for different parties. UNP 35; SLFP 25; Minority Parties 10; Left 5; Others 5 and 20 percent being floating voters including newly registered. However this has changed considerably under the presidential system, the floating voter percentage rising to around 30 percent and the party bases dwindling.

What have become prominent are candidates and issues. Why does the JVP support MS, at least indirectly, despite the UNP dominance in the opposition? The issues. The same goes for the minority parties, TNA and the SLMC. Why did the JHU breakaway from the government? The issues. What became apparent particularly after 1994 was that the UNP voter base dwindled to around 25 percent while the UPFA party vote rising to over 35 percent.

However, the UPFA or the SLFP party base is now shaken by Maithripala Sirisena becoming the opposition candidate strongly supported by CBK with nearly 30 MPs crossing over. This is major erosion, possibly leading to a major voter swing. If the government’s ‘separatist phobia campaign’ has been successful, these cross over could not have happened or continued.

Voter Issues

If we focus more on the MR MS competition, who is addressing the voter issues and what are they? Traditionally we believe that people are concerned about their cost of living, salaries and income. That is true. This is common to the lower and middle income groups in the urban sector and for almost all sections of the rural masses except perhaps a small group of rural rich. MS has offered a Rs. 10,000 salary increase. There are always grievances in a developing country, unlike in a developed one, even if the economy is sound (GDP etc.) according to the Central Bank or others. Rising expectations are generally high among the middle classes.

In addition, rural people are more concerned about land issues and education. Land is their survival and education is their upward social mobility. ‘Divineguma program although had the potential to address the land and some of the related issues, it is a political scheme than a socio-economic program. It rotates around the UPFA’s voter base and activists of around 25 percentage of the people. The operations are corruptive. They cannot be blamed because having seen their political higher-ups lavishly using state resources they also want some spoils. In addition, there is a huge bureaucratic structure which eats into its resources.

What about the educational aspirations of the rural? It is completely a mismanaged one. The unprecedented university unrest is only the tip of the ice burg. The opposition common candidate has pledged 6 percent GDP for education in his Manifesto. This was a recent demand of the university and the educational communities. Nothing of the sort from the incumbent. Bradman Weerakoon has related his experience in an interior village of Kalutara District where he lives now in this respect which has a relevance to our point (Groundviews, 4 January 2015). This is what he has said:

“Since the date the Election was announced until the 25th of December the only canvassing in the village has been for Maithripala. The highlight of the canvassing effort was a joint UNP/SLFP 30 member large group distributing the common candidates manifesto and 100 day programme. It is noteworthy that the group was composed of the principals of the five schools in the neighbourhood and pradeshiya level political figures.”

The battered members of the educational community, university and school, are prominent in the Maithripala campaign.

The present is an election, however, where political issues predominate. It may be true that the majority of the rural people are oblivious about the issue of the abolition of the executive presidential system. But they know that MR is contesting for an unprecedented Third Term. Along with it, is the family rule, corruption and violence by the government goons. People are aware that the governance and issues of justice might be different under the opposition.

There is a clear roadmap in the opposition candidate’s Diary for the first 100 days. The Rajapaksa manifesto in contrast is a repetition of the old slogans and promises. On the issues of sovereignty, territorial integrity or unity of the country, the people in the South would consider the credentials of Rajapaksa and Sirisena to be almost equal. They would not see an imminent danger of separatism. One may say that the voters are not that rational. But they are not that irrational either.


It is true that MR had a high approval rating according to a leadership Gallup Poll in Asia in 2011. There was no competitor at that time. He was not unpopular at that time, or rather popular. Hun Sen’s (Cambodia) and Saignason’s (Laos) approval ratings were even higher. Even today, MR might not be that unpopular as a person. But his family and entourage have eroded his political or public popularity. Moreover, the issues have overtaken him and as a result his political stature has strongly dipped.

The 18th Amendment and the impeachment of the Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, the ever women CJ, have been major black marks in MR’s political face. The most despicable has been the violence unleashed against the opponents and even against the ordinary protestors (Rathupaswela). The same continued during the election campaign under his authority. I am not sure whether it has stopped after the end of the campaigns.

Maithripala Sirisena is a formidable competitor. He comes from a more rural background if that is appealing to the voters. He has the ability to erode the SLFP’s or even UPFA’s voter base as the SLFP’s General Secretary for 13 years, along with the former President, CBK. He is more photogenic and six years younger to the incumbent. He was educated at Royal College, not Colombo but Polonnaruwa. His Manifesto is more promising than the incumbent’s one. A novelty of a 100 Days Diary is issued with the Manifesto. There is nothing much new in the incumbent’s Manifesto, except the repeated ones.

The incumbent’s campaign mainly rotates around scaremongering about a (non-existent) danger of separation of the country since the TNA is supporting MS. It contradicts all the positive claims built around the defeat of the LTTE in May 2009. It is almost a non-issue except among the hardcore SLFP/MR voters around 35 to 40 percent. Therefore, in this author’s opinion this bizarre single issue campaign will not succeed.

Basis of Projection

Let us begin some initial projections from the most unfavorable figures of the 2010 presidential elections for the opposition candidate. The total registered voters at that election were 14,088,500 and out of which 10,495,451 or 74.49 percent voted. However, 101,838 or 0.97 percent were rejected as spoiled.

Mahinda Rajapaksa apparently polled 6,015,934 or 57.88 percent of the votes. I used the term ‘apparently’ because there was a possibility of around 2 percent being fraudulently casted or counted. However, I would not estimate that for the projection. The opposition candidate, Sarath Fonseka, polled 4,173,185 or 40.15 percent of the votes. All others polled 204,494 or nearly 2 percent. That included Shivagilingam (9,662) and more importantly, Mohomad Ismail (39,226).

The gap between the two candidates or majority of Mahinda Rajapaksa was 1,842,749 or 18 percent. If we assume that the same voters vote at this election, then the required ‘swing of votes’ from MR to MS should be 921,375+1 or 9 percent. However, even if the same voters vote at this time, there is a possibility that those who voted for SF last time might vote for MR this time. However, that swing cannot be more than 1 percent in my view and that can easily be offset by additional 1 percent from MR to MS.

This means by and large 10 percent swing is sufficient for MS to win this election. All others could be bonuses.

Even the ruling party sponsored estimates have admitted that there is a swing and even if MR wins, the majority or the overall percentage would be reduced. In assessing the final swing for the opposition, questions could be asked on two counts. (1) How many voters would have possibly moved away from MR to the opposition since 2010 before the beginning of the election campaign? (2) Howe many voters possibly have or would move away from MR to MS as a result of the election campaign? These two questions anticipate two shifts or swings, one before the campaign and one after.

Both questions could have been ‘scientifically’ answered through independent opinion polls or election surveys. However, in the absence of them, there are several ways of estimating the ‘swing factor’ in general. One is to estimate it through the provincial council election results in 2104 that in fact prompted the President to call for the presidential elections two years earlier. The Western, Southern and Uva results show the swing to be quite higher than 10 percent on average in all three provinces. Abu Ayman, an independent electoral analyst, has estimated that MR’s ‘popularity decline’ must have been in the range of 2.5 to 3 percent since 2010, annually. I cannot disagree. His report is published on 2 January 2015, titled “Presidential Election 2015: Perspectives and Outcomes.”

What are the other bonuses? There are 15,044,490 voters this time. This is an entry of 955,990 new (young) voters. Although there is no firm guarantee, majority of them would tend to vote with the opposition. There are no remarkable minority candidates, Tamil or Muslim, at this election. However, the strength of the campaign or the issues overriding party or candidates might be the decisive. There are possibilities of projecting the possible results based on, for example 2010 results, on the basis of the ‘swing factor,’ both before (10%) and after the campaign started (10+5%) on district basis. I might attempt this at the next opportunity.

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Latest comments

  • 18

    a good piece Laksiria and appreciate your time on this.
    the so called ‘political scientist’ our friend DJ is trying to play a very dirty tricks by coming over on Rajapaksa Rupavahini and predict that RW and CBK will handover MaRa to a UN war crimes tribunal.

    If MaRa is to claim that it was a humanitarian exercise and as GoRa argues in a BBC hard talk show that not a single civilian was killed, then what is the big issue?

    Isnt it the RW govt that did not go with the UN charter to sign on the war crime tribunals as the govt in power at that time?

    • 1

      Oh, matilda, you are at it again!

      You didn’t respond to my earlier invitation for a sniff. Please.

      • 2

        never thought that Kendara Sumane have a alias name here.

    • 14

      We live in a country where the Election Commissioner was kidnapped. On the night of last Presidential election. He was unable to tackle the sheer pressure mentally. And has left Sri Lanka since.

      This is an election held in the ultimate Banana Republic. Besides North Korea, of course.

      In such a country, attempts to predict the result, crunching of numbers, scientific or not and all the rest becomes irrelevant.

      Result will depend on unforeseen factors. Manipulated by the corrupt King and his cronies.


      • 4

        Ben hurling

        “This is an election held in the ultimate Banana Republic. Besides North Korea, of course.”

        We know a song about Banana Republic, don’t we?

        Banana Republic Lyrics

        “Banana Republic” was written by Briquette Pete; Geldof Robert.

        Banana Republic, Septic Isle
        Screamin’ in the sufferin’ sea, sounds like cryin’
        Everywhere I go, yeah everywhere I see
        The black and blue uniforms, Police and Priests

        And I wonder do you wonder while you’re sleeping with your whore?
        Sharing beds with history is like a-licking runnin’ sores
        Forty shades of green yeah, sixty shades of red
        Heroes going cheap these days, price a bullet in the head

        Banana Republic, Septic Isle
        Sufferin’ in the screamin’ sea, sounds like dyin’
        Everywhere I go, yeah everywhere I see
        The black and blue uniforms, Police and Priests

        Take your hand and lead you up a garden path
        Let me stand aside here and watch you pass
        Strikin’ up a soldier’s song, I know that tune
        It begs too many questions and answers too

        Banana Republic, Septic Isle
        Sufferin’ in the screamin’ sea, sounds like dyin’
        Everywhere I go, yeah everywhere I see
        The black and blue uniforms, Police and Priests

        The purple and the pinstripe they mutely shake their heads
        A silence shriekin’ volumes violence worse than they condemn
        Stab you in the back yeah laughin’ in your face
        Glad to see the place again, it’s a pity nothing’s changed

        Banana Republic, Septic Isle
        Sufferin’ in the screamin’ sea, sounds like dyin’
        Everywhere I go, yeah everywhere I see
        The black and blue uniforms, Police and Priests

        Banana Republic, Septic Isle
        Sufferin’ in the screamin’ sea, sounds like dyin’
        Everywhere I go, yeah everywhere I see
        The black and blue uniforms, Police and Priests

        Banana Republic, Septic Isle
        Sufferin’ in the screamin’ sea, sounds like cryin’
        Everywhere I go, yeah everywhere I see

        –The Boomtown Rats’ album Mondo Bongo–


    • 2

      Dear Laksiria, Unlike most people who have praised you here, nodoubt seem to have a memory span shorter than 2 weeks.. But not long ago (Ancient History to some) the year 2010 was it not you in a similar stayle article and methods used by you predict with 100% THAT GENERAL SF WAS GOING TO WIN A HUGE LAND SLIDE in that election???. hMM I SEE THE mthods are the same wonder what the results this time will be???

      • 2

        In 2010 , prof. Laksiri supported MR , you silly Billy !

        • 2

          so leass than 4 years ago this self proclaimed pundit told us how good a MR regime would be and Campaigned by writing articles supporting MR?? And Today he has Got the Entire predictions WRONG.. TOTALLY WRONG.. so now he has again Choosen to support another person. no doubt if that person wins and in 100 days we will see this same self proclaimed pundit, say how bad the new Guys is??? Yes the Rock that never changes.. This person who got it wrong Less than 4 years ago, should bow out of this game.

        • 1

          To that time. JHU and many others in the lanken society were not in view that MR would ever loot the nation in this way..

          Remember, once a criminal is a no criminal for entire life. So people change. What matters is – we have to sit on the lesser evil side.

    • 9

      Dr. Laksiri Fernando.

      Thanks, and thanks for the info. on the report is published on 2 January 2015, titled “Presidential Election 2015: Perspectives and Outcomes.”

      Projection Of Probable Results Thanks for your models. In any model, the predictions of the model as good as the assumptions of the model.

      Model Assumptions: No Fraud and Jilmarts.

      I think it is better to make the assumptions of the model as follows, based on how the different communities are likely to vote, based on Mahinda Rajapaksa governance over the past 5 years. Best Case (2010), Average (likely) case and worst Case For Mahinda Rajapaksa

      Sinhala Buddhists (70.19%): 60%, 50% and 40% For Mahinda Rajapaksa

      Lanka Tamils:(11.21%): 50%%, 35%% and 20% For Mahinda Rajapaksa

      Estate Tamils:(4.16%): 50%, 40% and 30% For Mahinda Rajapaksa

      Muslims &Malays :(9.71%) 30%, 20% and 10% For Mahinda Rajapaksa

      Sinhala Christians:(4.69%): 60%, 40% and 20% For Mahinda Rajapaksa

      Total: 100%, 75% Vote Mahinda Rajapaksa

      Mahinda Rajapaksa Election Outcomes
      Best Case Average Case Worst Case
      2010 2015 2015

      56% 45% 33% Rajapaksa

      42% 53% 65% Sirisena

      2% 2% 2% Others

      59% Average for Sirisena.

      So, It is possible for Mr. Maitipala Sirisena to get between 53% and 65% of the Vote, and the average may be closer to 59%.

    • 2

      Dr. Laksiri Fernando

      A write up by a MaRaShill and Whitewasher D P DISSANAYAKE on Lanka web under

      Posted on January 4th, 2015


      These forecasts have been prepared using statistical standard deviation and with an standard error of 3% plus or minus. In summary our forecast is summarised as follows:

      Worst case scenario to President Mahinda Rajapakse:62.28%

      Worst case scenario to Mr Maithreepala Sirisena :34.61%

      Best case scenario to President Mahinda Rajapakse: 65.39%

      So, Amarasiri Put up a comment that said that, this is the case with Fraud by MaRa and his shills.

      ans said that

      Worst case scenariofor Maitriplala Sirisena was 62.28%

      Worst case scenario for President Rajapaksa :34.61%

      Best case scenario for Maitriplan Sirisena : 65.39%

      Best case scenario to President Rajapaksa 37.72%

      They DID NOT Post Amarasiri’s Comments. Indigestion, Constipation and Vomitting.

      But, they did put others comments such as

      3 Responses to “2015 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION FORECAST”
      L Perera Says:
      January 4th, 2015 at 10:08 pm
      Your forecast is very encouraging and we do hope you will be right on Jan 8. Also, I think that even if MR wins with a reduced majority it could be a blessing in disguise. With a reduced number of representatives the UPFA could reduce the number of Ministerial positions to the lowest possible and selecting the best candidates.

      Sarath W Says:
      January 5th, 2015 at 4:28 am
      Reduce majority for the president is not a bad outcome for the country as long as he has a decisive victory. It will be a message for him not to take the voters for granted like the late presidents Mubarak and Gaddafi did and led the western bullies to mislead their people. In his next term the president must do more for the rural Sinhala masses, not the ungrateful terrorist supporters.

      Sri Lankan voters, especially the rural Sinhala Buddhists who fought the LTTE terrorist will never let the western led traitors to destroy our country again. I hope the others will learn a lesson from them and unite to protect our mother land from those evil forces.

      Ananda-USA Says:
      January 6th, 2015 at 7:31 am
      This author’s PREDICTION is very close to mine based on personally acquired data which I made 1 MONTH ago: 62.5% for MR, 37.5% for MS!

      The gloom and doom Pundits in Colombo of course predict a close election. But, they were WRONG in 2010 and they are wrong NOW in 2015! The Common Patritic People of Sri Lanka will RE-ELECT Prresident Mahinda Rajapaksa by a near LANDSLIDE!

      BTW, where is our fast talking list-making pro-MS blogger Lorenzo and his alter-ego Independent? Have they defected from LankaWeb to Facebook and Twitter where they can fool all the uncritical people all the time?

      Leave a Reply
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    • 1

      Dr. Laksiri Fernando

      Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa says: “I will win by huge margin: Mahinda”


      Mahinda gets 65% amd Maithri gets 65%, a small math problem here.

      What does Mahinda know, others do not know? Stiffed Ballot Boxes and Fraud?

      While expressing confidence that he would win Thursday’s Presidential Election by a huge margin, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday that he would dedicate his third term for the future generation and make Sri Lanka a prosperous, safe and beautiful country for the unborn Sri Lankan child. Addressing the final election propaganda rally at Kesbewa today the President said he came to Kesbewa after touring the North, East, South and the Central provinces and by the massive crowds that gathered in thousands at UPFA propaganda rallies he was fully confident that he would win the Presidential Election by a huge margin.

      President Rajapaksa lamented saying that Common Opposition candidate Maithrpala Sirisena was set to sell the free education in the country by pledging to create a loan scheme for GCE A/L students who failed to enter University to study further.

      He pointed out that the Common Opposition manifesto had pledged on page 41 in his manifesto to launch a bank loan scheme for GCE A/L students who failed to enter the university to continue studies further was meant to destroy free education.

      “This is a covert scheme aimed at charging students from kindergarten level. The manifesto also pledges to re-organize the state administration in line of the Tamasec system in Singapore in order to increase efficiency and productivity in the public sector. But we can still remember that how Chandrika planned to privatize about 40 state ventures and Ranil another 40 which I saved later,’ President Rajapaksa said.

      He said important state ventures like SriLankan Airlines, Pelawatta and Sevanagala Sugar Factories and Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation had been privatized under this scheme which later took over by the government under his leadership. President Rajapaksa pointed out that former President Chandrika Kumaratunga had sold valuable prime lands in Battaramulla as cheap as Rs. 200 a acre to Ronny Peiris and he re-sold it to Sumal Perera.

      However, the court after an inquiry abolished the deal and fined Mrs. Kumaratunga as it was a national fraud. The regime under Ranil had decided to prune the public service to 300,000 from 700,000 saying it was a burden to the Treasury but the UPFA government under him has now increased the public service to 1.4 million as the government does not think the public service a burden to the government. Outlining the development achieved in education under the UPFA government

      President Rajapaksa said plans were afoot to construct 1,000 Mahindodaya science labs, new technology labs and several University Colleges and also to enroll 100,000 students to universities. The government has launched the Port City project by reclaiming the sea and creating thousands of employment opportunities. Those mega development projects had been launched without incurring a cent to the Sri Lankan government, he said. (Sandun A Jayasekera) – See more at:


  • 4

    But why pofesor?

    What about that Colombo University survey that was disowned by the Uni and declared invalid by the writers themselves?

    They had interviewed 87 ‘Sinhala Buddhists’ for the US embassy and declared that 30% was undecided, Maaru Sira 54% and MR 40%.

    Hope someone will teach them to count to 100!

    • 4

      Dr. Fernando was good enough to give the link to Abu Ayman’s Forecast derived from a methodical study.

      A gist of it is below:

      Margin of victory for Maithri is 785,366 votes.

      With a total of 11,495,940 valid votes; Maithri gets 6,092,023 while Mahinda gets 5,306,657.

      In percentage terms:
      Total polled: 77.13 of registered voters
      Valid Votes: 99.07
      Maithripala: 52.99
      Mahinda: 46.16
      Others: 1.07

      Key Variables:

      Urban/Rural %:

      Maithripala 58/44; Mahinda 44/55

      Ethnic and Religious %


      Muslims 94/5
      SL Tamils 87/10
      Ind. Tamils 58/38
      S.Christians 61/36
      S.Buddhist 43/56

      So much for the Analyst’s objective study.

      • 1

        S,Sivathasan ( and Dr. Fernando,)


        Muslims 94/5
        SL Tamils 87/10
        Ind. Tamils 58/38
        .Christians 61/36
        S.Buddhist 43/56″

        Interesting Analysis.

        This gives Mr. Matripala Sirisena 54%

        and Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa 44%

        Others 2%

        S.Buddhist 43/56″

        This need to be 64.5% for Mahinda, for Mahinda to get 50.14% of the votes.

        Unlikely. given the fact that even JHU is with the Common Candidate.

        With S. Buddhists 50/50 for Mahinda, for Mahinda to get 39.97% of the votes.

        Unlikely. given the fact that even JHU is with the Common Candidate.

  • 6

    Dr Laksiri Fernando is indulging himself in nostalgia. Alas, we live in the here and the now, and what counts most today, tomorrow and Thursday is the mood of the people. The chief contenders are like the Mattakuliya bus; you wait for hours and then two come together.

    We have watched frustrated for 5 years while these two, MR and MS, hand in hand, and with much help from their ‘supporters’, screwed the nation, leaving WE the people gasping for respite. Then what happens? The long time crooks fall out, and MS challenges his ‘aarpa buddy’ for the crown.

    Do NOT think that the supporting puppet masters can change the ‘common’ challenger when and if the jayamangala gathas are sung in his honour. MS hasn’t done the dirty just to sit and take orders from a bunch of losers. MS knows that first and foremost he must keep the Sinhala-Buddhist happy and content. After that, he will visit his own agenda.

    Good people, don’t hold your breath, don’t relax yet, and do NOT get your expectations too high.

    And, worst of all, do NOT expect MS’s old pals who shafted us all these years to be brought to justice.

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose! (asthe say down the 16th arrondissment.)

    • 6

      Spring Koha,

      Excellent comment.

      You did bring my own level of nostalgia a notch or two down. With a healthy dose of realism.

      In my defense though, I look at CC possible election as a very necessary breathing space. Just a small step in the right direction.

      CC Sirisena is a means, not the end. Hopefully. And then will see, how we can proceed from that point onwards.

      If we don’t try, we don’t even have a chance.


      PS: To harvest in the Autumn, we must sow in the Spring.

      • 3

        Well said Ben.
        chasing away MR and getting MY3 is one step in right direction.
        then we have another big hill to climb.
        we can worry about it on Jan 9th.

      • 0

        “To harvest in the Autumn, we must sow in the Spring. “

        We read you. You can get buried in spring too!

  • 5

    There are several opinions /survey results revealed according to each candidates preference and they are biased. This time it is simple exercise to predict.
    At the peak of the MR’s governance with war victory in his hand + JHU and other Buddhist priests and organisations fully behind him in 2010 he was able win with a majority of only 57%. It is obvious that this will decrease with anti incumbancy vote of atleast by 3-5%. Further, JHU and most of the Buddhist organisations, cinema artists who are campaiging against MR, will enhance the decrease further by atleast 3-5%.
    There is also a great enthusiasm by minorities, Tamils and Muslims, to vote this time and support the common candidate., Frustration by the masses over the corruption, cost of living, and other issues concerning governance are all negative towards MR. Finally the large number of the new voters would decide in favour of the CHANGE. All these lead towards a comfortable win for the common candidate.

  • 0

    Those that don’t or cannot vote, please do not write anymore. Country first and we know who to vote, one that save the country and not that try to sell the country.

    • 4

      We Know To Whom to VOTE!.

      Not to the USA Pass port holding Hyenas, Who Ransacked the country and sold to Chinese for Fat Commissions.

      Aney Yako, Paid Shill, Chande DAAANA Heti KIyadenna Enawada???????.

    • 2

      What do you mean patriot? Our President saved the the country from the LTTE and then sold it to China. “Umbay Raja rata keva” as the Chinese Ambassador said in his best Sinhala.

  • 0

    A very interesting and realistic analysis.Thank you Dr.Laksiri.

    Quite recently,Mervyn Silva that maveric MP is on record as having said that MR as an individual is a different person but actions of his close family members has made him unpopular.Interestingly,your comment on this essay……………
    Even today,MR might not be that unpopular as a person.But his FAMILY and ENTOURAGE[emphasis mine] have eroded his political or public popularity.Mervin Silva apparently has seen the writing on the wall.

    The 1956 Parliamentary election was fought on cultural/Nationalistic sentiments and the 1977 election on economic factors.True.Though,2015 is a Presidential election it is still a barometer of public opinion.Thus, this Poll will focus on the corruption/impunity of MR and his FAMILY/ENTOURAGE.The swing due to this factor from MR to MS may be quite substantial.This ofcourse will apply to the sinhala buddhist voter.Family and entourage factor may not be applicable to the Tamil and Muslim voter.True MR has released the NORTH-EAST from the LTTE;But then he has replaced this with the Army!As for the Muslims,their religious sentiments have taken a beating from the Govt.sponsored BBS.The tamil Muslim votes will therefore swing towards MS.Perhaps,we will know what is in store on the auspicious day of 9th Jan;2015.

  • 1

    Thank you for a very rational piece.

  • 1

    Ma Ra ya lost more than 40000 +++ Votes for this election From the onslaught at Nandhikadaal And Puthumathlan, even he bribed to Sun God Pirapaharan to win last election.
    This time TGTE and Aananthi is Supporting for lesser amount.
    But Tamizar people are Busy making Kool Kanji for their dinner /supper.
    They do not want those bush serpents in side their adobes.
    { Kele inna Nai Redda asse}.

    Hothambaya and Baa Sil maybe thinking, ” We Lost the chance but Any how AYIYA Will get Rudrakumaran, K P, Pilliya, Kauna, Daya mass, Dogya, and Aananthi to wash our hindquarters.

    Aney mehema Lankawak!!!!!.

    but some have notforgoten the Chilaw, Katunayaeka, Rathupaswala killings.

  • 0

    MR again murders the tamil language in batticaloa.

  • 2

    If we sri lankan havent decided yet to vote for whom they we are stupid idiots. Do you want democracy? Do you want the judiciray to be dependent on a stupid uneducated thief mob gangsata president? Do you want the police to be like that? Do you want to encourage family nepotism? DO you want the family to rob more until the economy collapses. (already it is collapsed and billions in us dollars is been robbed byy the clan) IF YES then vote for rajapassas you stupid clowns. Otherwise there is nothing to think. Vote for the change to get rid the sri lankan mafia family out of politicc and start taking legal proceeding towrd those who robed killed raped etc.

  • 5

    Menna Thawath Chanda Prathipalayak!

    MY3 60%, MR 39%, Others 1%

    • 1

      I say, menna ekaadhipathige prathipala

      MR 105%, MY3 0%, Others -5%

      (Courtesy GR Survey Services)

  • 0

    First thing First: My attention was drawn to a statement in this article viz: “We should have a Council of Astrologers to select the best candidate without spending lots and lots of money”. YES WE DID IT. Last week our President attended a gathering (conference) of Astrologers at Shalika Hall in Narahenpita and gave out “Lap Tops” to all who attended. Of course, as you know it was not his money spent, but the tax payers money and that is why it is claimed by us and say YES WE DID IT and it is now OUR “COUNCIL OF ASTROLOGERS”.

    I now do not bother to go through all what these statistics are and what statisticians predict. We now have a “OFFICIAL COUNCIL OF ASTROLOGERS” to give us very “ACCURATE” analyses of what the results are going to be and that also in keeping with the orbital movement of plants and very competently calculated with the use of the most modern “technological use” of computers. So now we have our own NASA.

    Mr. Laksiri: you said in conclusion: “I might attempt at the next attempt”. No. Please do not waste your time and our time in writing it and reading it by us. Please allow us to listen to that “COUNCIL OF ASTROLOGERS” on whom we have “INVESTED” our hard earned money and fully equipped them with “LAP TOPS”. Now please do not attempt to misinterpret this term “LAP TOPS” to “LAP DOGS”. That will be a contempt on us and who knows there could be a claim for “damages” for disparaging and undermining our literacy/lunacy. Thank you.

    • 0

      Any how The MaRa ya Jarapassa will reject the “COUNCIL OF ASTROLOGERS”, even he has spend People’s money to give lap tops to those LAP DOGS.
      Because Ma Ra Ya is more interested in Imported Astrologers from Hindia Origin.
      and pay them exorbitant amount of money from People’s coffers and make a Commission % from that also.

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