20 May, 2022


Managing Expectations

By Ranga Kalansooriya

Dr Ranga Kalansooriya

Dr Ranga Kalansooriya

A historic election and a historic victory. But why is it so historic..?

Not one, but there are several reasons for it to be significant among other Presidential Polls held in the country. The first is its national outreach. In fact Maithri could be proud of being the first President to be elected through a true national election. The participation of North – West – East and South as one electorate was unique in its own dynamics. Probably this could be the first ever indication of national reconciliation in post-conflict Sri Lanka.

“For the first time since 1982, Tamils in the North are voting free,” journalist Parameswaram told me on Thursday when I inquired about polling patterns in the north. Polls were free and fair in every part of the country, too, but North and East were noteworthy as it was a different case for the past three decades.

No argument that there was a clear division in the votes for the two main candidates. Mahinda championed in the Sinhala Buddhist platform while Maithri performed well in both minority as well as majority community areas. But one could easily argue that Maithree’s victory was mainly due to the minority vote.

MaithriFair enough but what does it mean? Minorities in large numbers preferred Mairthri against Mahinda. The reasons behind this phenomenon do not demand post-mortems as they were pretty obvious. Thus, shall look at the future based on this verdict of the people.

Any poll would be described as a reflection of hopes of the people and that rationale is relatively strong in this particular case of Thursday’s elections. What were the hopes behind the voting pattern this time?

For majority those were about democracy, good governance, anti-corruption – so on and so forth irrespective of ethnicity. But for the ethnic minorities there were specific hopes, I assume. For Tamils in post-conflict areas it was predominantly freedom. They demanded freedom to speak, freedom to gather, freedom to move around and may be even freedom to think. Of course this could be a matter for further deliberation mainly on radicalization point of view but Northerners were certainly prayed for freedom from the clutches of LTTE as well as military authoritarianism. But this does not, at any cost, mean the stereotype argument on the recent political platforms of withdrawing military from the north or any such demilitarizing move.

The Muslims had their own hopes – mainly resolving their identity issue which ultimately led to their own safety. The creation of Sinhala Buddhist extremist elements under state patronage threatened the identity of Muslims in Sri Lanka. Thus, Muslims expect their safety and dignity under a new regime led by another strong Sinhala Buddhist leader – Maithri. In fact post conflict Sri Lanka is yet to recognize its own pluralism and this was clearly evident during the electioneering process. The inclusion of Muslims and Tamils within the Miathri camp was a move to divide the country as claimed by Mahinda camp, a clear undermining of the statehood of minorities in this country.

“But irrespective of ethnicity, we all have one aspiration, as far as I see it – the return of democracy and protecting basic human rights that will ultimately meet the expectations of all Sri Lankans,” said Imtiaz Bakeer Markar.

Nonetheless, the high voter turnout indicates the level of expectations from the new regime. The Maithri – Ranil camp has to manage these high hopes of the people while managing the conflicting political agendas of its own coalition members which will be the biggest challenge. If failed to deliver as promised, their popularity will diminish faster than that of Mahinda. And those who helped them to reach pinnacle of power would be the same people who would pulled the first trigger against them. That was exactly what happened to Mahinda, and Maithri-Ranil should learn the bitter lesson before even they start the drama.

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Latest comments

  • 6

    The King is Dead, Long live the common man. Colombo Telegraph ban should be lifted in Sri Lanka thus restoring freedom of responsible / accountable expression.

    • 2

      Watch out the first 100 days of the new leader. Promises are meant to be bent.

  • 5

    Dear Sir, Dr Ranga Kalansooriya

    “But why is it so historic..?”.

    Very Simple answer sir.

    Change of Dictatorship rule.
    Change of Misuse of Rule and Law.
    Fight and objections to pilfering of Peoples Coffers and corruptions by a looting Family.

  • 1

    Dr Ranga Kalansooriya

    RE: Managing Expectations

    “A historic election and a historic victory. But why is it so historic..?”

    “Not one, but there are several reasons for it to be significant among other Presidential Polls held in the country. The first is its national outreach. In fact Maithri could be proud of being the first President to be elected through a true national election. The participation of North – West – East and South as one electorate was unique in its own dynamics. Probably this could be the first ever indication of national reconciliation in post-conflict Sri Lanka.”

    Yes. The Common Candidate and the Common People Delivered. They voted. They elected Maithri over the Rajapaksa, the Family Hegemony and Dictatorship. Rajapaksas used State resources. The common Candidate used common resources of the people.

    Then, who did not deliver?

    The Sri Lankan Writers failed to deliver the Common Sense Pamphlet Sri Lanka 2014.

    Yes, getting the Sri Lankan writers to write the Common sense Pamphlet Sri Lanka 2014 or 2015 was like herding Cattle (Harak). They kept making strange noises , Baeee, Baeee and Baeee, which only the Cattle(Harak) could comprehend.

    #Maithripala Sirisena Official Theme Song Democracy Common Sense Theme Song


    Common Sense (pamphlet)


    Common Sense[1] is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 that inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. The pamphlet explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence in clear, simple language. It was published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution and became an immediate sensation. It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places. Washington had it read to all his troops, which at the time had surrounded the British army in Boston. In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history.[2]

    Common Sense presented the American colonists with an argument for freedom from British rule at a time when the question of whether or not to seek independence was the central issue of the day. Paine wrote and reasoned in a style that common people understood. Forgoing the philosophical and Latin references used by Enlightenment era writers, he structured Common Sense as if it were a sermon, and relied on Biblical references to make his case to the people.[3] He connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity.[4] Historian Gordon S. Wood described Common Sense as “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era”.[5]

  • 5

    The Rajapaksa’s learned the hard way to never undermine the minorities, disrespect them, nor give them security when thugs attacked them. The fact that the minority overwhelmingly voted for MS, shows that Rajapaksa made the biggest mistake dismissing their part in elections. Not even the BBS could have saved them.

    We can only hope the new government will be able to unite all Sri Lankans, so that we can progress in our country.

  • 2

    What will happen to the BBS and Gnanasara now?

  • 1


    Take A good breath,
    Do not worry.
    We will get accesses to the
    Colombo Telegraph from sri lanka, and ban will be lifted today before dawn.
    without Media freedom,. rule of Law
    rights to expressions of ideas and
    criticizing of ruling systems canot be a democracy.

    With new governance We hope All communities will be happy.

    Expecting the best opposition including Rajapassa, Dr Merwin silawa, Upaasaka Kudu dumuinda, Gampaha Kadu Sarana, Bomb Aluth gamage Namal Baby.

  • 2

    Colombo Telegraph has to chnge hands as Alles have lost his bet.

    Ex president has gone home with about 47% of votes.
    Will he be biding time for New President to change things in 100 days and transfer all powers to the Parliament.

    Come a parlimentary election, the ex-President can be in the saddle once again.

    New President has created many pit falls to win this campaign.
    That 47% matters ………

  • 1

    Mr. Maithreepala Sirisena was inspired and encouraged by Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhita Maha Thero,Ven.Athuraliya Ratana Thero,Mr. Ranila Wickrama sinhe and complete team of UNP, Dr. Rajitha Senarathna, Mrs.Chandrika Bandaranayake, Duminda Dissanayake, Rajiv Wijesighe, Miss. Hirunika Premachandra and many who assembled together to launch campaign and tremendously helped to change the Rajapaksa regime.

    We all must deeply be grateful to all who helped him and voted him to become a President of Sri lanka.

    We all must learn a lesson from previous regime and should not follow their unacceptable horrendous and cruel way which multitude of mass went through.

    We equally and impartially must treat every and each citizen of this country.
    Promises must be implemented and accomplished as they articulated on their election platforms.

    All corrupted individuals those who were protected and safeguarded by previous Rajapaksa regime must be brought to justice.

    All perpetrators must be given proper punishments and appropriate penalties.

    We must be thankful to all all who tremendously helped to change the Rajapaksa regime.

    Good Luck…….
    May Our New President Be a True Leader and Democratic Head Of State.

  • 1

    Let’s grab this opportunity and give Nationa Building another real chance – This is much more than managing expectations. This is a true opportunity for nation building and MS has to be leading that process with the help of every sensible Sri Lankan cheering for the success of the nation. There is no denying that the Tamil and Muslim voters with their vote prevented a violent uprising a few years down the line and a power change destructive for the country. All right-minded Sinhala Buddhists voting for both leading candidates must appreciate and respect that, instead of describing it as voting along ethnic, religious divisions, which the easy, narrow-minded way of describing the change. MS coalition has groups with many different interests and positions, but on building the inclusive SL nation, they cannot be disagreeing. Good Luck to all of us for that.

  • 2

    Congratulation to the people of Sri Lanka on this HISTORIC win .My Motto is Move Forward enjoy the fruits of life that God has given to us I pray & hope that 1 day Sri Lanka will give a tough fight to Singapore for all the ingredients are there only u do not have a GOOD LEADER.
    Hope this is the ans good luck again.

  • 1

    Fairly good article except for 2 grave misunderstandings:

    1.”first ever indication of national reconciliation in post-conflict Sri Lanka”

    a. post-war and not post-conflict – resolution of the conflict means justice which will lead to reconciliation

    b.Tamil-speaking people overwhelmingly voted against Rajapakse. Now it’s Sirisena’s duty to justify his election – if he chooses to be brave to serve Tamil-speaking people justice, he’ll be a true statesman – first for 67yrs.

    2.”Northerners certainly prayed for freedom from the clutches of LTTE as well as military authoritarianism” ??

    No, they pray for the end of 67-yr state terrorism = oppression of Tamil-speaking people from the time of independence, ie from the time the Sinhalese have been having the opportunity to make decisions.

  • 0

    Thank you Mr.Kalanasooriya for saying some obvious truths. As I have been saying on previous occasions, there is no one reason why Thamils should vote for Rajapaksa. On the other hand there are thousand reasons why they should vote against him. During war time, Rajapaksa used to brag in Orwellian style that he is waging “humanitarian operations” (not war) against the LTTE to free the Thamil people from the “clutches of the LTTE terrorists.” The fact of the matter is no Thamil, except stooges like Douglas Devananda, asked Rajapaksa to free them from the clutches of the LTTE. The LTTE fought against the government because of the open discrimination against the Thamils right from the dawn of independence. The LTTE objectives to wage war against a chauvinistic state were also the goals of the Thamils. That is the reason why the Thamil people looked up on the LTTE as freedom fighters and saviours. To them Prabhakaran is another Moses to them. The LTTE could not have engaged the government forces for 30 years without the support of the people. After May 18, 2009 the Thamils people thought Rajapaksa will heal the wounds, help them to regain their livelihood shattered by the war and enjoy a certain amount of freedom. They were proved wrong. Their expectations turned out to be a mirage. Rajapaksa after finishing off the LTTE wanted to subjugate the Thamils like his predecessors. He deployed 150,000 soldiers (16 out of 22 divisions) in the North (14) and East (2). Instead of rehabilitating and resettling the IDPs he allowed the army to grab their lands and farms in the most authoritarian way. In Valikaamam North 6,382 acres of land was grabbed by the army to build bases, cantonments, restaurants, health resorts, a palace for the President, swimming pools and of course Buddhist temples and statues. It was structural genocide at its worst. Traditionally the ownership of a piece of land is very dear to the Thamils. Seventy five per cent of cases before the courts were related to land. The people could not breath freely for fear of the Sinhala army. The army was harassing the people as though they are aliens and a conquered race. If Rajapaksa on sober reflection wish to know the reasons for his defeat, this is one major factor. He might have been mislead by the ilk of Douglas Devananda, Karuna, Pilayan that every thing was rosy in the garden. He might have been led to believe that Thamils are happy with him because he ended the war and brought ‘dubious’ peace to the people. Though the writing was on the wall but Rajapaksa mis- read it. He mis-calculated he does not need the votes of the Thamils to win the presidential race. He calculated mistakenly that he can win the election relying solely on the Sinhala – Buddhist constituency. This was his undoing. Now that he is out of power he should do some introspection, although I and sceptical of this happening. Two days before the polls he lambasted the Thamil voters in Batticaloa telling them in Sinhalese “I am a Sinhalese, this land is Sinhalese, if Demelas don’t want to listen to him they should leave the place.” Can any one beat this display of arrogance in public platform? It smacked of raw racism? On the same in Bharathipuram in Kilinochchi district a soldier trampled with his boots two children aged 8 and 3 who were playing in front of their house. Their uncle who saw the beating tried to save the children. Typically he too was assaulted and all three were warded at the hospital. The Police tried to bully the parents to withdraw the complaint. Thereafter, their uncle was transferred to the Police station in Vavuniya. He is now hospitalised and Police claim he is a ‘mad’. man! Can anyone beat the haughtiness of the army and the police? This is just one sordid example of the brutality of the law enforcement personnel out of thousands. Finally, Rajapaksa has nurtured many Thamil stooges and cronies with portfolios, perks and other favours during the last 10 years. They ran a parallel government fully of corruption in the North and East. President Maithripala Sirisena should lose no time to cut ties with them.

  • 1

    Historic why ? Sri Lanka has had many historic elections of this nature .

    does any one remember who succeeded Chruchill . If maitree is to be remembered he will need to achieve something . thats all .

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