7 October, 2022


Maithripala Sirisena Holds The Trumps

By Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

The ‘100 days’ are done. Much of the key elements of the ‘program’ part of it remain undone. This should not worry President Maithripala Sirisena. An electorate that has been burdened by a draconian constitution for more than 36 years can wait a few months more. Indeed they have no option but to wait, at least until the next General Election. At most they have to wait for just one more year.

The question now is whether or not the promised reform will see the light of day. If the delay is only related to logistical issues then there’s little need to worry. The problem is that the entire process has been marked by political brinkmanship with both major parties, the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) showing less concern in democratization than in what the party could gain (or lose) in the process.

All this is understandable. Although there are UNPers and SLFPers in the cabinet, the decision-making power rests with the Prime Minister, who is the leader of the UNP. Although it is officially and in appearance a ‘national’ government, there are SLFPers in both what is called ‘government’ and what is called ‘opposition’, even though the man who wields almost dictatorial powers courtesy constitutional provision is also the leader of that party. In short it is a confused state of affairs, the confusion directly deriving from the fact that the chief executive has chosen to remain aloof in the day-to-day running of the country.

Maithripala FB 24 04 2014The flipside of this is that until such time the 19th Amendment is passed, the President can at any moment and with the greatest of ease change the political equation as per whim and fancy. All the more reason to get the 19th passed, one would think. As of now the only consolation is that President Sirisena has refused to limit the exercise the powers to less important matters. However, if the 19th is not passed due to the UNP and SLFP trying to see who will blink first, then he would have what Mahinda Rajapaksa had with a useful excuse, ‘by default’, i.e. the default of Parliament being patently uninterested in democratizing the constitution.

The irony is that only the President stands to gain if the 19th is passed and only the President (at this point) is able to persuade the two parties to ‘see reason’. He has the interesting and ‘good’ headache of being able to ensure that the process is scuttled even as he appears to be doing his very best to see it to a satisfactory close. All this, by the way, re-emphasizes how perniciously anti-people the 1978 Constitution is.

The President can take his time. The only thing that might force his hand is the ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Factor. In the absence of parliamentary coherence with it being hard to find out who is in government and who in the opposition, and given the manifest (and deliberate?) sloth in investigating corruption charges against the previous regime, one has to wonder how close things have come to ‘too late’.

It is clearly in the UNP’s interest to go slow on investigations because it can help divide the SLFP. If the ‘due date’ elapses then action will run into problems associated with political ‘doability’. The UNP is walking on eggshells because all the negatives will fall into its account. As of now the Central Bank Governor’s issue related to bonds is driving a wedge between the UNP and its traditional base, the business community. This has obvious and serious implications for the party.

Managing that discontent while trying to divide the SLFP is no easy task, especially since the President with a few deft moves can trump the UNP and/or the Mahinda Rajapaksa ‘fan club’. He can trump the UNP also by co-opting the Mahinda factor. He has many options. Others have few or none. Again we see how pernicious the 1978 constitution is.

The problem for the country is that while all these political developments are interesting in and of themselves, they also make for serious lack of clarity, coherence and stability which naturally does not bode well for the economy. This, more than other political factors, is what constitutes a limiting factor for the President.

In this sense, we won’t or we can’t be having too much time to wait. The 19th and 20th are due to be taken up in Parliament next week. As was seen earlier this week it doesn’t take much to distract our parliamentarians. There will be costs of course, but if it is people and not individual MPs who have to pay, it won’t matter to them.

It is Maithripala Sirisena’s hour. Let us see how he plays his hand.

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Latest comments

  • 1

    The west purports the following chain of events Democracy followed by stability and then causing security . but in reality every where they have imposed this it has never worked . The only real path and the same path these countries them selves followed is the reverse order . Security followed by stability by development and slow democracy . When the west invented this democracy Greece and Rome were the most powerful empires of the world . thus was England France and the US in their times . This is why you never hear of some unknown small country inventing democracy . To me the precursor to setting off the Security stability development democracy chain is a strong executive presidency . JR was right when he did it , and is and will always still be right . even though he is one of my least favorite politicians . Give the devil his due .

    • 2

      Abhaya – I’m sure the “Devil” will get his “due” in due course.

      Can’t wait!!!

      • 1

        Devils. Isn’t it?
        HE the President hopefully will do the justice to to all of us by taking proper actions to deal with the devils. I don’t understand the delay in punishing the ‘Kudu cult’ or the heroin barons(may be the kuddas have paid ransom to both UNP and SLFP, as they say). Neither do I know why it is so difficult to bring to books the other fraudsters.
        Hope you would do the justice by attending to all allegations including the ones against the current government. The Finance minister is charged with money laundering(with Raj Rajarathnam in USA) and governor of the Central Bank was cleared by a not so acceptable method of justice.
        May the almighty goat give you the strength to bring the FPP voting and election system, whatever you call it, so we will get rid of Manapa Poraya of both sides hopefully leading to a less corrupt election.

      • 0

        The Devils dead , RIP .

  • 4

    Malinda Seneviratne, Mahinda Rajapaksa Shiil and White-Washer.

    RE: Maithripala Sirisena Holds The Trumps

    “The question now is whether or not the promised reform will see the light of day. If the delay is only related to logistical issues then there’s little need to worry.”


    Listen to what the President has to say.

    Malinda, now it is time you kick the Shilling and white-washing contract with the Mahinda Rajapaksa Liars, Crooks and Robbers and move on.

    You you want to be like Wimal Modawansa, Former Mahinda Rajapaksa minister?

    Anura Kumara Dissanayake’s Speech on Wimal Weerawansa. 2/2 =0, says, Modawansa, EEEEYa, EEEEYa, EEEEYa,
    May calculator saya 2/2 =0. Don’t you think it is better to install a calculator in Modawansa’s head, and perhaps inside the heads of the 5.8 Million Modayas who Voted for MedaMulana Mahinda Rajapaksa with an average IQ of 65.


  • 2

    At the beginning, Maitripala sirisena looked very rusty.

    It looks his leadership skills are coming up now.

    He needs to understand into the future and he should visualize how Sri lanka must proceed.

    • 1

      Jim softy

      “At the beginning, Maithripala sirisena looked very rusty. It looks his leadership skills are coming up now.”

      The Medamulana Mahinda Rajapaksa, his Family. his Shills and Cronies were not leaving any room for anybody else to rise up. Everything had to be APPROVED by Namal Rajapaksa, who could not pass a Law Exam without cheating.

      Mahinda Rajapaksa, his family, his shills and cronies are replaceable, and is very good for the country and the people. Now the National IQ will go up as the Mahinda Rajapaksa Moda supporters get Common sense.


      Listen to what the President has to say.

  • 4

    Where your “journalism” is taking you is beyond the comprehension of several people who have commented on the new “civilised” tone, of your writing in CT which might be considered an improvement over that which you exercised in the days you marched in tandem with Rajpal Abeynayake and indulged in attacks which were only marginally less vicious than his on the newspaper that he edited.
    I suppose that as long as Mahinda Rajapaksa’s family can keep paying you via the “newspaper” of which you are Editor-in-Chief, CT chooses to publish your reams of Rajapaksa accolades parading as “objectivity,” and there are “literati” in this country who count you among their number for reasons best known to them, we’ll have to tolerate your sycophancy in print!
    Ah,well, nobody said life was going to be a bed of roses (with or without you and your paymasters!

  • 4

    Hey Malinda – I’m appreciating your posts a lot more than those you posted prior to MR’s exit, when you were clearly an apologist.

    Why not do one on your view of the ‘reasons’ for the current chief defenders of MR (read Dayan J, Mahindapala, and the ‘usual suspects’ in the political sphere) to persist in clamoring for his return. And this, in spite of the overwhelming evidence of his corruption, nepotism, bad governance, etc., etc? Surely they can’t want him back for the benefit of the country he (and his family) has been consistently ripping off? And if not, what do you think the reasons could possibly be?

  • 2

    What trumps ? He is fully naked !!!

  • 2

    I don’t think Mahinda Sirisena is that powerful , considering the fact that he won the Presidency with the help of Tamils lead by the Diaspora and the West and the Muslims who want to get on board the new Gravy Train and hope a Homeland or at least part Homeland will fall their way.

    And Sira can not do anything against their wishes.

    Otherwise why would he report to UK , US, German Ambassadors before addressing the inhabitants.

    Has anyone heard about a President cowing to the West before reporting to the inhabitants in any part of the world ever, let alone in a country where we have had democratic and non aligned rule for over 60 consecutive years.

    What we ought to remember is 5.8 Million inhabitants vehemently opposed the plot planned and executed in London and Singapre by Ranil , Chandrika, Mangala and the Tiger Diaspora in the UK.

    This formidable 5.8 Million have grown even bigger with the addition of the disgusted patriotic good Sinhala Buddhist people who feel betrayed and bad about the treatment of the great Sinhala majority by this Tamil Muslim alliance.

    And they will decide the fate of the President as well as the unelected Prime Minister when ever the Elections are called..

    Talking about eliminating corruption and installing good governance , the current President investigated ex UNP loud mouth, Dr Mervyn twice or three times

    Now Dr Mervyn is a heavy weight organizer of the Yahapalanaya.

    Add Singaporean Dr Mahendran , Telecom Sira, and the latest Sonali Samarasinghe we have full on , Corruption Free, Nepotism Free ,Good Governance.

    Commissions will have to wait until Ranil and Ravi re negotiate the big ticket items .

    Even the patriotic UNPers have now realized that this whole exercise is nothing but a scheme of arrangements to:

    * Punish Rajapaksa for defeating Terrorists,

    * Stop giving the rural poor a fighting chance to go forward,

    * Get Chandrka’s progeny back into Politics, and

    * Give the Vellalas self rule to the North.

  • 7

    Mahinda is MR supporter and may be finding difficult to gulp the proven good governance practised by President Maithree and achievements in a short period. The freedom the masses are enjoying coupled with low cost of living is not measurable.

    Recently, there was a newspaper indication that Sri Lanka is ranked 132nd in the world happiness Index and we are sure if the present Maithree / Ranil continue in similar fashion , Srilanka would improve s
    substantially to a positive world ranking in the happiness index.

    • 0

      it will be down to about 139 soon . isnt that the complete number of countries ?

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