23 September, 2018

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Minorities Taking The Revenge: Reading Sri Lanka Election Results 2015

By Sumanasiri Liyanage

Sumanasiri Liyanage

Sumanasiri Liyanage

It is natural to interpret phenomena in the way the interpreter like it. Maithripala Sirisena’s victory at the presidential election held on January 8, 2015 has been subjected to multiple interpretations. Most pronounced one is that it was a victory for democracy. My friend Prof Jayadeva Uyangoda who has a better understanding of democracy, thinks the election result was a victory for good governance. Some have even interpreted it as a victory for women. Of course, in social science one may not definitely propose that these multiple interpretations are incorrect even though they are sometime contradictory. Let me briefly state my own reading of the election results.

In the early morning of May 19, 2009, the most revered and feared leader of the Sri Lankan Tamils, Velupillai Prabhakaran together with almost all his close associates were killed by the security forces of Sri Lanka marking the end of over 25 years of internal armed conflict that ravaged the island nation. In spite of Prabhakaran’s ruthless handling of the Tamil population, Tamils in the North and East of the island recognized him as an icon of the Tamils’s fight back against the Sinhala Buddhist dominated state in Sri Lanka. Hence a physical elimination of him was widely read by the Tamils in Sri Lanka and elsewhere as a serious blow against their pride and identity. Mahinda Rajapaksa won the election in 2005 with a thin majority primarily because of the boycott of the election imposed by the LTTE on Tamil people. The LTTE had to pay a heavy price for this decision in 2009. Hence, Tamils sought to take a revenge against Rajapaksa whenever they get a chance to do so. When the ex-Army Commander, Sarath Fonseka who conducted the war on the ground contested Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2010 Presidential Election, Tamils were hesitant to vote for him although Tamil National Alliance wanted them to do so. Voter turnout was just 25 per cent in Jaffna in 2010. So voters in the Sinhala South who gathered around Rajapaksa voted for him outweighing the protest votes of the Tamils. Waiting hurts, but Tamills in Sri Lanka patiently waited, not having faith in bullets but in ballots till the right time comes. President Rajapaksa, in the face of his dwindling popularity and placing enormous faith on his astrologers’ advice, called an early election with the hope that he could remain in power for another 6 years. Opposition was in disarray so that he predicted an easy victory. Machiavellian move by the ex-President, Chandrika Bandaranaike and the leader of the opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe completely changed the game plan as they brought in Rajapaksa’s Minister of Health and the General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party as the common candidate to face the incumbent president. Maithripala Sirisena won the election held on January 8, 2014 by a majority of 449,072 votes. A back of the envelope calculation shows that Maithripala Sirisena was given a majority of 654,521 by the peoples of Northern and Eastern provinces that are predominantly Tamil and Muslim areas. This huge majority was in fact reduced substantially to 450,000 because of the majority given to Mahinda Rajapaksa by the Sinhala voters in the south. The irony of this is that Mahinda Rajapaksa actually got the majority of Sinhala votes in the south notwithstanding the fact that Sinhala voters were also disappointed of the regime for different reasons.

Mahinda in Kantale, Jan. 2, 2015However, it is instructive to keep in mind that the above description does not imply that minorities are inherently revenge-taking peoples. It is a reflection of the failure of the Rajapaksa regime due to multiple reasons to build a new over-arching Sri Lankan civic identity through meeting the demands and aspirations of the numerically small nations and ethnic groups in the island. Rajapaksa government appeared to have held a false idea that just extending developmental efforts in the form of railways and highways would resolve the specific issues associated with national or ethnic identity. He has even refused to keep the promise made by him to successive Indian governments that he would introduce 13+ (something more than Indian backed 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution) to satisfy the demands of Sri Lankan Tamils. Under Rajapaksa regime things had become worse as some subterranean forces with the overt or covert blessings of some elements of the government began attacked on Muslim and Christian religious places and property in the last 5 years. This began with an attack on small Muslim mosque in Dambulla and culminated in Beruwala, Aluthgama and Dharga Town. The government refused to actions against the attacks Muslims and Christians by extreme Buddhist groups.

In this backdrop, how Sirisena regime would handle the problem of national integration will be one of the critical issues facing his government. When the Tamil National Alliance and Muslim parties informed that they would support Sirisena’s candidacy, they had not particularly raised the nationality issue. Their argument was that extending the democratic space in general through establishing rule of law and good governance would also facilitate and protect minority rights. In my opinion, this view like the developmental welfarist view of the previous regime is equally flawed. Hence I submit that the new Sri Lankan government will not be able to find a sustainable long term solution to the Sri Lankan national question for three reasons. First, since it is clear that the new government would continue to operate within neoliberalist economic framework, its notion of democracy will be essentially limited. Neo-liberalist strategy needs liberalization of labor market, capital accumulation through dispossession, privatization of health and education (this was clearly stated in Sirisena’s election manifesto). This would definitely generate opposition from students, organized working class and poor peasants. In such a situation, the government may move towards oppressive and suppressive counteraction. Hence neoliberal democracy would be confined to guarantee of contract, competitive bidding, imposing rule of law and many other similar things. National question needs transcending liberal democracy to recognize the issue of identity that requires multiple legal systems, devolution of power, autonomy and veto powers.

Secondly, the forces in the Sirisens’s coalition include extreme nationalist Jathika Hela Urumaya and Sirisena’s election manifesto shows many footprints of the JHU, especially on constitutional issues. JHU was the organization that led the campaign against the constitutional bill of Chandrika Bandaranaike government and the peace agreement of 2002-05. It also behind the formation of national policy of the Rajapaksa regime. Moreover, as the election results show the majority of Sinhala population stood with Rajapaksa so that Rajapaksa and his party may mobilize for its own advantage against any move to go beyond the 13th Amendment.

Finally, Sirisena himself has imposed some constraints on his 100 days program. He promised that he would never touch unitary and non-secular nature of the constitution.

Sri Lankan people wanted a change whatever it would be. The change has come. Nonetheless, whether that change would go beyond changing faces to embody a change in social, political and economic fabric of the Sri Lankan society has yet to be seen. Maithripala Sirisena was able to mobilize and unite diverse forces. Hence one may assume that he would be able to fulfill the hopes and aspiration of the masses who voted for him. The arithmetical logic of summation may explain and be important in winning election, but the direction that the government would take is determined by the parallelogram of forces.

*The writer is the co-ordinator of Marx School- e-mail: sumane_l@yahoo.com 

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  • 9
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    This so-called pseudo marxist, it trying to paint a shade of communalism into the election result. Dear Prof. Please listen to Sumanthiran. He talked a lot at yesterday’s Janahanda. Be a man at least now onwards. Sri Lanka does not need depath nayas like you

    • 2
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      Sumanasiri Liyanage –

      RE: Minorities Taking The Revenge: Reading Sri Lanka Election Results 2015

      It is the people wanting CHANGE from the Corrupt and Lawless Medamulana MaRa Family Dictatorship and Dynasty.

      If you listen to the links below, you can achieve enlightenment.

      They prevented information reaching the masses. The MaRa regime controlled the media, Thousands of cutouts at state expense., State employees used illegally to promote the dictatorship. Eben then the majority of government employees did not vote for him. There are few minorities in the state as employees, why? Information

      Had the information distribution was efficient, 65% of the Sinhala Buddhists would have voted for Sirisena.

      Example: 2010 Horana and Bulathsinhala, Kalutara District, about 98% Sinhala Buddhists.
      2010 about 66% for Mahinda Rajapaksa
      2015about 56% for Mahinda Rajapaksa with resticted informatioin

      2015 about 35% for Mahinda Rajapaksa, with Free Information Flow.

      That is why The MaRas and their Cronies wanted to have a short Campaign.

      Priority is to Stop Mahinda Rajapakse, then Common Candidate – Anura Kumara Dissanayake

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWODsikBwpw

      Samanalee Fonseka

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wc0prpDp2o

      Anura Disanayaka Speaks at Ranna 02

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VB03fDuY4Dg

      University Teachers for Social jutice Supports to Maithripala Sirisena Dambara Amila Thero

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYIfnJDcZh0

      Anura Disanayaka Speaks at Ranna

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mrYQoW4PsVY

      Anura Kumara Dissanayake’s speech against Mahinda Rajapaksa-2

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw3Bl5SCEAk

    • 2
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      Sumanasiri Liyanage –

      RE: Minorities Taking The Revenge: Reading Sri Lanka Election Results 2015

      All people were affected, the Minorities the highest due to the MaRa dictatorship.

      JVP action perturbs Rajapaksas
      WEDNESDAY, 14 JANUARY 2015 10:2

      It is revealed that fraudsters have been highly disturbed as the JVP took measures yesterday (13th) to complain to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption regarding plunder of public money by Mahinda Rajapaksa, his family and those around them.

      Yoshitha Rajapaksa and Rohitha Rajapaksa, two sons of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, have suddenly obtained general passports in place of the VIP passports they possessed. Namal Rajapaksa had stated he would face any charges against him. It is to prevent those who are around them from being disheartened.

      However, the move against frauds and corruption begun by the JVP but was unexpected by the masses within such a short time, has enlivened the masses but the fraudsters have fallen to a state of despair say reports.

      The new passport number for Rohitha Rajapaksa is N5375169 while Yoshitha Rajapaksa’s new passport number is N5375216. Before this they had VIP passports.

      Rohitha Rajapaksa is undergoing training in NASA in the USA but has been brought down for Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election campaign.

      Yoshitha Rajapaksa became a lieutenant in the Navy despite not having the necesary educational qualifications. He enjoyed special privileges in the Navy as the son of the President.

      However, with Mahinda Rajapaksa’s defeat at the presidential election Yoshitha Rajapaksa was withdrawn from being an officer of SL Navy in the early hours on the 9th.

    • 2
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      Sumanasiri Liyanage –

      RE: Minorities Taking The Revenge: Reading Sri Lanka Election Results 2015

      Remember, over 3.8 million Sinhala Buddhists voted for Mr. Maitripala Sirisena. MaRa Racism and Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinism Formula did not work.

      Read

      A Victory Not Just by the Minorities

      http://groundviews.org/2015/01/14/a-victory-not-just-by-the-minorities/

      Images have been making the rounds on facebook, with various hues and shades, highlighting the fact that the sixth executive President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, won with the support of minority communities in Sri Lanka, whereas Mahinda Rajapakse, the last President obtained the votes of a majority of the majority. There is another image on facebook, that of a line drawing of a rabbit, requesting those who have time to go about colouring a map of Sri Lanka to induce racism, to colour the rabbit.

      That is how much Sri Lankan society has been polarised over the last few weeks.

      President Rajapakse was the clear front runner to win the elections in November 2014 when elections were called. The probability of him winning the elections kept thinning since then, when the General Secretary of his own party defected to the opposition to occupy the mantle that was the common opposition candidate. Come election eve, Mahinda Rajapaksa was still the favourite to win, albeit only just.

      Never did I come across someone who whole heartedly committed to the fact that Mahinda would lose, even in the predominantly anti-regime circles that I move in. The most optimistic notion doing the rounds was that Maithripala had a very fair chance of winning, that optimism however was swiftly disqualified by that commonest of statements – should the unthinkable happen, the Rajapakses are so entrenched in their power politics, that they will never let go, and even if they did it would be after a bloodbath. Days before the elections, the prices of vegetables and other household commodities soared as a premonition soaked public stockpiled for the violence and curfew that was expected to eventuate.

      The unthinkable happened, Rajapakse lost, he tried to use the military to create chaos, the army refused, and what ensued was probably the most peaceful elections and post election climate in my close to thirty year lifetime.

      The Muslims and Tamils voted en masse for the opposition, particularly the Muslims. Not because they had faith in the opposition, but because the Rajapakses had to be deposed.

      Under the Rajapakse’s, Sri Lanka descended from a precarious political balance to an utterly damaged one. Media freedom was stifled and Sri Lanka went from being a benign smiling island nation to a surveillance state, with state of the art technology mustered to wage the war now being used to protect the power balance of the regime. Journalists were killed in broad daylight; media institutions and other organs of a functioning democracy were stifled at best or bullied to submission. Ostentatious construction projects were instituted, some meaningful, some not so – but the incentive behind many such projects were the fruits of corruption enjoyed by those involved.

      Political appointees were common place, and many at the highest echelons of power could trace some link to the Rajapakse family. Sri Lanka’s first female Chief Justice was impeached allegedly for blocking a project largely involving one of the Rajapakse brothers. The impeachment process itself was not moral and the very process reflected the tatters in which political decency lay, where it is rumoured that one of the loquacious ministers of the government addressed her derogatorily in Sinhala as ‘baby’.

      As a nation many felt that we had lost our spirit under the Rajapakses. As a people, we were being groomed to dislike the other, in a land which abrasively and wrongly claimed to be that belonging to just one race. Racism was allowed to thrive; indeed bureaucratic apparatuses were struggling to survive without it. Ministers and ministerial offspring were running amok and thugs in robes went about desecrating the sanctity of the noble philosophy that is Buddhism.

      Corruption was so rampant that it became such a deeply ingrained and embedded element of our psyche. Indeed when one lives in abnormality for long enough, that which was once considered abnormal slowly yet firmly goes through a subtle metamorphosis to become normal. Decadence becomes so gradual that it happens without grazing the sensitivities of our collective consciences, and eats away at our soul.

      The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), largely unrepresentative of the average Sri Lankan Buddhist wrought carnage upon the carefully evolved and preserved Sinhala-Muslim relationship. To the credit of the Muslims however, they have been astute to identify the BBS as a terror group and not of a representative wing of the majority Sinhala community. The BBS was out in the open, in its aggression towards Muslims, a country where law and order is considered sacrosanct would have no dilemma in having many of the BBS charged and punished. Instead, they were harnessed and even prospered under the watch of the last government. Among the reasons for their invincibility in the sight of many was their perceivably close relationship with the former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse.

      Hundreds of properties and close to dozens of mosques were damaged, causing immense physical and emotional trauma upon a beleaguered and innocent Muslim community. It was, and as of today, continues to be a symbol of the decadence of our society that hate speech so easily spewed from the electronic mouths of many educated Sinhala youth under the watch and connivance of the state.

      However in all this, Muslims must not, should not and should never be tricked to indulge in turgidity that this was a victory brought forth by the Muslims and other non-Sinhala ethnic groups.

      Rajapakse had to go, and the people rose against him, and that is all.

      Muslims should move beyond the parochialism that has plagued politics in recent decades, it didn’t use to be this way; abnormality has once again come to be known as normal. It is understandable that circumstances pushed Muslim politicians down that path, but that time has now passed. Muslims should integrate- not necessarily with the Sinhalese or Tamils – but with all those who identify themselves as Sri Lankans, bar none.

      I was amongst the tens, if not hundreds of thousands at the last rally by Maithripala Sirisena in Maradana of the Colombo Central electorate, and amongst the elated crowds at the Independence Square when the new President was sworn in. The former is a Muslim stronghold and the evergreen bastion of the opposition United National Party, the latter is a national treasure. Remarkable was the fact that in one instance, Sri Lankans rallied against the incumbent, and in another they rallied in support of the new incumbent, not as antagonistic warlords who had momentarily laid down their arms, but as a harmonious clutter of Sri Lankans of all shades, celebrating what they deserve.

      Maithripala Sirisena’s Presidency, or indeed his new government should not be considered better than the last unless they actively prove to be so. They have made promising new steps, but they have miles to walk. This new government has to be held accountable for all the steps they take, commended for the good they do and taken to task for the wrongs they do. Indeed never again should a regime as dastardly and corrupt as the last be allowed to surface to soak the founding principles of Sri Lankan society, one that still teaches ‘values’ in her schools.

      This is not a victory by the Muslims or Tamils neither did the Sinhalese win with the help of their other racial counterparts.

      In the oldest democracy in Asia, her peoples got together to depose what they thought was a representation of everything that isn’t Sri Lankan, they did so to regain the Sri Lanka they know.

      That is how it should be.

      I am a Muslim, I voted for the winning candidate – it is against the grain of these sentiments to highlight that I voted in a Sinhalese, but I did and not just because there wasn’t a suitable Muslim candidate. Together I am from the political majority, a majority that should embrace the minority to form a cohesive Sri Lanka, not monotonous as a people, but one people nonetheless.

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    • 2
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      Sumanasiri Liyanage –

      RE: Minorities Taking The Revenge: Reading Sri Lanka Election Results 2015

      Remember, over 3.8 Million INFORMED Sinhala Buddhists voted for Sirisena, in addition to the Minorities.

      Tamils or Muslims did not destroy my political career; it was only because of you all: Mahinda
      [ Wednesday, 14 January 2015, 04:55.13 AM GMT +05:30 ]

      Tamils or Muslims did not destroy my political career; it was only because of you all, former president Mahinda Rajapaksa lashes out his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his three sons.
      My sons and brothers has completely vanished my 45 years of political carrier.

      President expressed this anger when Gotabaya informed his brother regarding his house arrest, sources closed to present said.=

  • 4
    1

    CORRECTION. wrong portraying of a ruthless megalomaniac Prabaharan as the Leader of the Tamils (I am no Tamil) BUT would like to set the record straight. He was a Terrorist who killed his own Tamil bretheren.

    Yes the Minority voted for MS, its NOT rocket science. C’mon weren’t the minorities sidelined by MR who was PETTING BBS thinking he would obtain, IF not all, Most SINHALA BUDDHIST votes? Little did he realize that there are GOOD Buddhists who consider what the did to minorities as ABUSE big time. So with the HELP of teh Minority WE teh Citizenry of SL were able to RID the govt of MR the dictator.. I also hope the same minority would stand up IF the present set up doesn’t do right…

    The down fall of MR…. after the Aluthgama inferno.. “Mey wage sulu dewal walata maha loku harthal oney nehe” translation… “for minor issues like the Aluthgama scenario, there is no need for a major harthal” Racism is ugly…

    Now I wonder where BBS’s Gandasara and Dilantha are… most probably they too would join Gamanpilla… citing death threats and flee the country

    • 1
      3

      Prabhakaran DID kill a lot of Tamils, just as he killed innumerable Sinhala and Muslim civilians. Yet his murdering followers were revered as ‘OUR BOYS’ at the time by the very same Tamils who now attempt to distance themselves from the latter.

      Even among the Sinhala, there were the Christians who had lost faith in Mahinda, as BBS-led goons burnt and desecrated their churches, and who no doubt took their own revenge. There were also issues of trustworthiness and economic competence, bearing in mind that at least half of the ruling party(ies) MP’s did not even have ‘O’ level qualifications as reported in CT. Funnily enough the same may be true of the new government.

  • 8
    0

    Sumanasiri Liyanage,

    The minorities who voted en masse to bring MS to power are not naive to think that their problems are going to be solved by MS. The marriage between MS and JHU will be a huge stumbling block to minority aspirations as you rightly point out.

    Secondly minorities did not seek revenge by voting for the common candidate. It is called self-preservation. Imagine what kind of life the minorities would have faced if Rajapaksa was to be returned. BBS saffron robes thugs would have completed the job they started. And Sinhalasisation of Tamil areas would have gone full steam ahead. Such a scenario would have possibly brought forth another 30 year war or worse. Imagine what will occur if the Tamil and the Muslim youth should forge an uprising together.

    Anyway sanity has prevailed for the moment. Let us see how MS will conduct himself. People are so vocal when condemning the Islamic fundamentalists (rightfully I must say) however their own fundamentalism is never spoken about. Creating a true egalitarian secular government I feel is beyond the Sinhala people because they cannot percieve that making all citizens accept that Buddhism is the supreme religion of Sri Lankans is a form of fundamentalism.

    • 4
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      My wish is people to become every equal not calling them minority or majority on this island. So long they would purposefully separate SRILANKENS in that way, ntohing would end up better for the people. If you are in outside world – be you are Tamil, Sinhala, Burgher, Muslim – they are all considered as srilankens. The same skin colour if you would not wear a headcover (turban), nobody would even make it distiction between srilanken muslims and sinhalese.
      So what I believe is having thought about the alarming issues of the country/nation, above all, people should be made clear about the vocaublar they usually use in their exchanges. In a country that faced over 30 year civil war – anythign and everything is affected and consequently changed towards the worst. I hope the new ministers will seriously focus on the issues mentioned above at their primary stage on.
      I am honoured to listen to the words of Prez MS saying ” we the politicians must be set examples by our deeds “. And MS’s simple way of life not being swollen as any previous leaders – should be highly respected. His look is also very simple. If he is not seriously thinking about a greater change from the prevailed highly corrupted state of the coutnry – why should he have made such remarks in his speeches. He will definintely be a good president meeting with people real issues of this island nation.

    • 3
      1

      BBS Rep,

      Hope I am not mistaken; wasn’t JHU part of the APRC committee? APRC indeed made proposals that was bordering on a form of a federal constitution. I think JHU will be flexible within the framework of a united SL. It is MR who we should worry about. I hope in 3 months time, MR and his entourage will have been clipped of their wings as a result of their alleged corruption and misappropriation of public funds!

      • 1
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        No, I think the JHU did not sign up to Tissa’s proposals but submitted an alternate proposal from the APRC.

        Someone else could confirm this?

    • 1
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      The past election result is a truly democratic election and show how an electorate should function.
      Your racist claim that secular government is beyond Sinhala people is stupid.
      Apart from few things SL constitution is truly secular. Sinhala people are the most secular and liberal people in SL and whole of South Asia (may be except Burghers).
      Tamils and Muslims pointing at Sinhalese is a joke.

      I know people who cannot even gather moral strength to say funding LTTE was wrong pointing at foremost place given to buddhism in SL. SL was historically a buddhist country though many bogus historians claim different things here. Most of the European liberal democracies also give prominence to their historical religious identity.

      And claiming minorities voted out MR is a bogus claim. The real truth is Muslims and sinhalese voted out MR. Tamil votes have always been anti government and infact MR’s vote base in tamil areas have increased from 2010 to 2015. It is the Muslim vote that has done the biggest change.

      And of course Sinhala vote in urban and even rural areas. I was surprised at the result in areas like Maharagama. MR won by a marginal 1800 votes in which used to be a bastian of UPFA.

      And those Tamil extremists who dream about Muslims ganging with them and beat up the Sinhalese please come to reality. Muslims’ interests and even upcountry tamil’s interests are much different to yours. Actually they share more similarities with Sinhalese when it comes to interests.

      • 2
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        Such,

        I am very sorry to say that you have lost it completely! 1948 constitution was Secular and what we have now is not. It is the Sinhala who brought Buddhism into the constitution in order to pervade buddhist flavour all over the country come what may. The Sinhala generally cared two hoods about the minority feelings. I hope that a better leadership will steer the Sinhala towards a middle path and a true form of secularism is a reality in SL.

        • 0
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          Dear BI,

          The Treaty that handed over the reigns of most of Lanka to the Brits was not secular. In fact in that treaty the Brits undertook to safeguard Buddhism.

          Was the Jaffna Tamil Kingdom Secular before it ceased to exist? Secularity was furthest in the minds of the Portuguese who overpowered it. Was Dutch rule secular? Not to my knowledge.

          Did the British who devised the 1948 constitution govern Lanka as a secular state? No, they imposed a secular constitution to a country that was not secular up to that point of time in her entire several millennia old, history.

          That was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and destined to fail.

          Kind Regards,
          OTC

    • 0
      0

      BBS Rep

      “Creating a true egalitarian secular government I feel is beyond the Sinhala people because they cannot percieve that making all citizens accept that Buddhism is the supreme religion of Sri Lankans is a form of fundamentalism.”

      Do you think it has something g to do with the history , and the lies and imaginations of Monk Mahanama in Mahawansa, combined with the Low IQ of 79, or just only one of these factors?

      http://www.photius.com/rankings/national_iq_scores_country_ranks.html

  • 11
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    The Tamils and Muslims really voted aagainst MR is due to their frustrations over his government’s broken promises and creating a fear psychosis. They voted I large numbers to get rid of a dictator
    Who Was Ruining The Country as a whole. Most of the Tamils and Muslims
    want to live in amity and integrate with the majority community the Sin hales but MR sponsored organisations were determined to create Confusion.
    Time is ripe to eradicate these extreme forces and help all Sri Lankans to unite.

  • 9
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    Minorities, saved the Sinhalese from the Sinhalese.

    Sinhalese Catholics/Christians too were praying hard that their turn will not come next.They too mobilized.

    Let’s give it to the Tamils,they asked for good governance, rule of law, human rights, independent Judiciary etc, before most Sinhalese wanted it.

    Remember the Sinhalese how they voted for the 18th amendment ?

    So where is the revenge ?

    • 1
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      And Sinhalese saved Tamils from Tamils in 2009…:)

      • 1
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        Sort of, yes.

    • 0
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      Correction.. why give it Only to Tamils? Muslims too should be given the dues… Digamadulla voted 80% for MS so were other places….. Beruwala Panadura being majority Buddhists were expected to vote for Mahinda But ended up for MS… Be fair in ur analysis.. NO one community was instrumental in disposing MR.. WE ALL as Sri_Lankans kicked him where it hurts…

  • 6
    1

    No sooner the SLMC[which was bargaining with MR.to wrest the KALMUNAI DISTRCT proposal] and the TNA[which had decided to vote against MR] decided to throw in their lot with MS.the ground situation changed dramatically.The sinhala voter panicked.MR seized this opportunity and campaigned on communal lines.He told them that a joint conspiracy of the minorities with International forces are out to destroy him for defeating the LTTE! Most sinhala voters IN AREAS WHERE MR HAD REGISTERED A CONVINCING VICTORY threw in their lot with MR. Corruption,Impunity,Family rule etc were forgotten..This is the reason why MR. had polled majority Sinhala votes down South.Even though the LTTE is no longer on the political Landscape,this knee-jerk reaction of the Sinhala voter notwithstanding MRs corrupt rule,is a reflection of the unhealthy Sinhala-Tamil relationship in the country.

  • 11
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    Yes the Sinhala Buddhist majority voted for MR. But under the Executive Presidency the election of the President requires not only the votes of the Sinhala Buddhist majority but of all the people including the minorities- a good reason why it should not be abolished but only amended to restore checks and balances and the separation of powers which is an inherent principle of the Executive Presidency which was done away with by MR to arrogate to himself full dictatorial power.
    Yes it is difficult for Sirisena to resolve the problems of the Tamil people particularly as MR is likely to create communal and religious conflict to win back power- the traditional technique of the evil political leaders produced after 1956. But if Sirisena does not do so there is a possibility of us having to do so under pressure from India and the West. The allegations are that MR won the war by violating all norms of civilized conduct of wars in terms of the Laws of War contained in the Geneva Convention and the UN charges will not just go away even if Sirisena promised protection for MR.

    • 1
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      R.M.B.S,

      I do recognise that the presidential system makes the minorities relevant. However, if MS were to find another structure that will mitigate the loss of relevance that is amenable to the all sides, it should be considered. As for MR and a possibility of him promoting racial disharmony, MS must ensure that the plethora of corruption and misappropriation of public funds that MR and his entourage committed are brought in public view. And all those who were involved and profited must be brought to book. I think that MR will bow out pleading for clemency!

    • 1
      0

      Within the next 3 months, Pres Sirisena. PM Ranil and co should clip the wings of MARA, NARA, CHARA and the rest of the hora ministers of that regime by exposing all of their corruptions and deals and taking actions against them. Make them so unpopular that they can never win an election even if they are given nominations for some reason. Nominations should not be given to any unscrupulous person of any party

  • 10
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    The Rajapaksas foolishly presumed that staying silent, non interfering, and not showing any outrage, at those criminals who took advantage of it, and terrorized and attack minorities, would win them the elections.
    They failed to realize that the minorities feeling rejected could make an impact in voting them out.
    All Sri Lankans must feel that they are an important part of this country too, contributing to it’s success and progress. The Rajapaksas played the race card and lost miserably. The were too dumb to realize that allowing attacks of Mosques and Churches, not only would make them lose support among the minorities, but that many Buddhists were disgusted at the way their religion was insulted by those wearing saffron robes and behaving like hate mongers, and chose to vote for the other side. Of course, the nepotism and corruption also played a bit part in their decision.

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    1

    On the contrary instead of launching re-conciliatory post-war approach, Malinda continued with his extremely humiliating policy against Tamils in order to appease the Sinhala extremists. Nonetheless Mahinda received nearly 20% of votes from the Tamil hinterland, which is not an insignificant amount. Perhaps, Mahinda could reenter into politics with some dignity if he is ready to abandon his racist politics. But I doubt, he may like to project himself as a Machiavelli but inside he is an utter fool who believes more in stars than social trends.

  • 1
    1

    On the contrary instead of launching a re-conciliatory post-war approach, Mahinda continued with his extremely humiliating policy against Tamils in order to appease the Sinhala extremists. Nonetheless Mahinda received nearly 20% of votes from the Tamil hinterland, which is not an insignificant amount. Perhaps, Mahinda could reenter into politics with some dignity if he is ready to abandon his racist politics. But I doubt, he may like to project himself as a Machiavelli but inside he is an utter fool who believes more in stars than social trends.

  • 8
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    Minorities took the initiate to restore your country back to it’s rightful owners. The new government has to reciprocate by bringing the thieves and thugs to justice. Anything short of that is the failure to compensate all those elected the change.

  • 2
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    National issue.

    Rajapakse had the BEST opportunity of reaching an amicable solution to this problem IMMEDIATELY after winning the election in 2005. The people were grateful to him, they would have granted him anything. It is indeed surprising that he took a different path. Perhaps, the politician in him would have done it, but for Gotabaye. Mahinda lost the opportunity.

    Now Sirisena has a chance to address this issue. I heard Champika and the reverend Athurliye speaking well of Tamils. That is change ! It is good to know that Tamils are separatists or henchmen of LTTE. Sirisena has the mix of all communities and that of politicians with him. Sure, it may not be easy but he has the best chance to face this cancerous issue.

    History will judge him.

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    There are so many theories about the voter-mix which led to MR’s downfall.

    My take is that MS’s voter-mix comprised substantially of moderate middle-class urban “Sinhala intelligentsia” together with the significant protest vote of North/East/Up-Country Tamils, plus of course the much battered and fear-ridden Muslims.

    In my view, MR’s voter-mix (including those ‘bribed’ in one way or another) comprised substantially of rural lower middle-class “Sinhala non-intelligentsia”, together with some extremists, and others driven by the fear-psychosis of Foreign/Tiger intervention.

    Therefore, the focus of the new government should now be to significantly reduce the density of the “Sinhala non-intelligentsia” by appropriate initiatives.

    The JVP has been doing its part very well in this regard, and it is imperative that all other parties should also step up to the plate. Once that happens, MR and his cronies will be history!

    As long as the myth that MR was defeated by Tamils and Muslims is allowed to be perpetuated the bogey of communal politics will haunt this nation. The majority of decent folk in this country deserve better.

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    Well it can be defined as you please, but not being stupid is NOT “Taking the Revenge”… Voting is considered as a basic human right for adults above 18. It can be used to practice democracy, not take revenge. You have to be careful with what you write, because a pen can destroy far more worse than any explosives. Why it has become a de facto to see an issue with tunnel vision? Hoping for a bright future and acting upon it has become revenge?

  • 1
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    My namesake’s headline says it all.

    Minorities even served Kiribath and Halal Curry to some of our naive Majority.

    Hope the Jathika Hela Urumaya will notice those celebrations, when they get a bit of free time after curry favouring with the Army and trying to keep away the ex Tigers and CBK at bay….

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    The following figures indicate a drop of 242,883 votes by Mahinda Rajapaksa from the votes received in 2010, outside the North & East. Gampaha: 54,369, Colombo: 52,126, Polonnaruwa: 39,249, Kandy: 28,051, Kurunegala: 25,916, Digamadulla 25,885, Anuradhapura: 17,287.

    They show that the majority rejected the moves to establish a corrupt dictatorship based on a feudal family structure, by the 18th Amendment, overthrow of the Chief Justice indicating the end of judicial independence and the draconian business takeover bill which dealt a death blow to private foreign investment, without the involvement of the Rajapaksa family.

    • 0
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      This 242 883 is the worth of MY3+JHU who was expected to divide the Sinhala Buddhist vote.This amount does not show that MS has done a great deal of a damage but it is a significant amount in the context of the contest.

  • 1
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    Neither are minorities fools!

    They know very well the nature of the forces behind attempts to deny the simple fact that without the minority vote democracy would have been lost.

    “The irony of this is that Mahinda Rajapaksa actually got the majority of Sinhala votes in the south”

    It will be interesting to see this contention statistically supported.

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    I welcome Sumanasiri’s attempt to address the issue of Tamil and Muslim communities supporting Maithripala in the presidential election although I remain unconvinced by his argument. First of all, it is far too simplistic to reduce the Tamil voters’ decision to a simple psychologism like ‘revenge’. Then Sumane presents a slightly distorted view of the TNA decision to support Maithripala. In the official statement, supporting Maithripala’s candidacy, TNA said “that genuine restoration of democracy to the country will only be meaningfully achieved when the Sri Lankan state is structured to accommodate the aspirations of all its diverse peoples to meaningfully access state power, and when all Sri Lanka’s citizens are treated equally. We sincerely hope that in the new consultative and consensus based political culture that would evolve pursuant to the victory of the Common Opposition Candidate, democracy will be restored to the whole country through good faith negotiations between all stakeholders with a view to ensuring a life of equality, justice, dignity and self-respect for all Sri Lanka’s peoples.” Now, they never really say, as Sumane claims, Maithripala’s victory would extend “the democratic space in general through establishing rule of law and good governance [and thereby] would also facilitate and protect minority rights”. In other words, the decision was not made on the hope that Maithripala would resolve the decade long ethnic marginalization of Tamils but rather with the hope that he will bring about a society where we will have the freedom to put this issue back onto the negotiation table without fearing for one’s life. I think Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese have all voted heartening maturity and determination – not based on psychological categories of ‘love’ and ‘hatred’. I hope the Left would learn from the maturity of these people. But then again, as Lacan said somewhere, ‘ignorance’ is a passion stronger than ‘love’ and ‘hatred’.

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    A very sensible and non-partisan analysis. For the sake of the people of Sri Lanka of all hues, religions and ethnicities, I do hope that his very reasoned prediction “Hence I submit that the new Sri Lankan government will not be able to find a sustainable long term solution to the Sri Lankan national question for three reasons” – proves to be untrue. Extreme views still have a lot of influence in Sri Lankan politics and sadly appear to hold the balance of power. Very worrying indeed.

  • 0
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    Ask your friend Prof Jayadeva Uyangoda if you are a Sinhalese Buddhist racist unable to come to terms withthe reality of a mutuality ethnic island.

    I trust that Uyangoda will give you an honest answer and swallow that one please, unlike MR before it is too late.

  • 0
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    I retracted my comments after re-reading your article. Topics like “
    Minorities Taking The Revenge” don’t help.

  • 1
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    It is a good read of the real nature of politics and analysis of the election results. It is true that the change has happened. The question reamins how the change could be converted towards peace, social justice and growth. There are political issues, economic issues, social issues remains as unresolved issues. Among all, the most important issue is the ethnic issue because it is the one that had hugh impact on all aspects of good governance, international relationship and deterioration of the overall welfare of the nation. There is a great opportunity to resolve this matter if there is no hide and seek political game but true commitment within the leadership of each side. We all have to recognise that this island is belong to Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims.We also should realise that these groups have to have their identity recognised and these identities have to be protected. The past six decades of our experience shows that each of these groups have issues with their security for their identities. There is a fear among Sinhalese about Tamils, Muslims and vice versa as well. It is naturally or artificially created fear but it is there and it is the duty of leadership to find a soloution to overcome this issue. Devoloution power is a good mechanism to resolve this issue. It is an alternative measure to have a check on each other. For example,
    Tamils fear that under a unitary system the central governments can disolve the provincial council system without their consent as Mahinda tried to militarise the North with a Army governor. It is a true concern and Tamils should have a right to veto that power and Centre should not involve unless there is a reasonable threat to National security. Sinhalese fear that if you give more powers (police)to NPC they will become a separate state. Therefore there should be a mechanism central mechanism to monitor whether those powers have misused or not. There is another concern that there may arise minority majority discriminations within the devolved power units. The constitution of each devolved power should include that their governance is equal to all irrespective of their race, language, relegion etc.
    It is possible to find a solution if there is a will and commitment of Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim leadership. Don’t assume that Sinhalese or Tamils or Muslims will reject such meaningful proposals if that is fully explained to them. They are rational.

  • 0
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    My take is that this is a plan going horribly wrong for RW. He would have been more than happy if the result was a repetition of the 2010 election.
    Split the dough from the west and go your own merry way.
    But India spoilt the plan and now he is stuck with a President he never wished and a government with its days numbered.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Mr Sumanasiri Liyanage,

    Re “Finally, Sirisena himself has imposed some constraints on his 100 days program. He promised that he would never touch unitary and non-secular nature of the constitution” …”A back of the envelope calculation shows that Maithripala Sirisena was given a majority of 654,521 by the peoples of Northern and Eastern provinces that are predominantly Tamil and Muslim areas. This huge majority was in fact reduced substantially to 450,000 because of the majority given to Mahinda Rajapaksa by the Sinhala voters in the south. The irony of this is that Mahinda Rajapaksa actually got the majority of Sinhala votes in the south notwithstanding the fact that Sinhala voters were also disappointed of the regime for different reasons”

    I believe that the Northern and Eastern vote from the minorities was for the restoration of law and order and good governance. The North and East knew that MS will not touch any territorial issue as that was declared policy and a cornerstone of the JHU.

    The Tamils in the North had to chose between the domination of the EPDP and Douglas Devanada imposed by the Presidential powers of Rajapaksa for another 8 years and 2 months and the certainty of the removal of EPDP and Devananda and the expectation of good governance that would create a space for their chosen representatives to operate in.

    Those in the East had a similar problem. They wanted the removal of the power of the Rajapaksa govt that was behind Pilleyan and Karuna.

    Here is what happened at the DDC chaired jointly by CM Wigs and EPDP’ Devanada that underlines my point.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCBWqJ0WOCU
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNpzECALZBU
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y84QZcPU3nY

    In order to remove EPDP, Devanada, Pilleyan and Karuna from the scene and get some breathing space, only one option remained and that was a vote against Rajapakse.

    Amongst the Sinhalese the issue was the promise of good governance and elimination of corruption and reduction of the cost of living against a racist cry of imminent division of the country.

    MR did not have an answer to the Corruption and good governance issues (they consistently avoided debates on that score). The ONLY option available to them was the racist cry. That message was taken to the village very effectively by the State TV, Radio and Print media. To the villager in the South (from where armed forces got the majority of foot soldiers), an undivided country free of terrorism is more important than even food or other issues. It is seen by the overwhelming vote for MR in the Village.

    It was not that easy to hoodwink the Sinhalese in the city.
    MR’s loss in the cities proves that.

    Next time round at the Parliamentary elections, due in three months, the former MR govt will not have the advantage of govt Media to carry out propaganda.

    If the MS govt fulfills the 100 day program and successfully takes their message to the village using the media at their disposal and educate the villager, the 450,000 will substantially increase, leaving no chance for a MR comeback provided the current coalition remains intact even at the general election.

    The 100 day program includes the prosecution of the corrupt. Already there are several complaints made to the Bribery Commission by the JVP and some lawyers. Topmost former govt officials feature in the complaints. It is certain that some heads will role. If that happens some big wigs might lose their Civic Rights and poetic justice will get meted out turning the electoral playing field into a mine field for the previous govt.

    Kind Regards,
    OTC

  • 0
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    being so blinded by your minority theory you’ve conveniently twisted other facts to suite your theory. True if you leave out the north Mahinda wins, but if you left out the south only, MS wins. MS got at least 49% of the Buddhist vote and this is where his majority came from. Your argument is as baseless as MRs claim that MS won with leel am votes. Your number twisting is also not impressive. Case in point, you say that he wanted another six years, but it’s public knowledge that MR had already manipulated the system to stay in power for EIGHT years after his victory. There is so much more wrong with this view.

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