13 July, 2020

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National Government; A Golden Opportunity To Resolve The National Question

By Veluppillai Thangavelu

Veluppillai Thangavelu

Veluppillai Thangavelu

The inaugural sessions of the 8th parliament took place on September 01, 2015. After the election of speaker, the deputy speaker and the deputy chairman of parliament committees, newly elected members of parliament took oaths before the speaker. There were 60 new faces, almost a third, compared to the last parliament.

For the first time in history the LSSP failed to secure even a single seat in parliament. Sri Lanka Communist Party did not fare better. It had a solitary member from Matara electorate. One reason for the obliteration of these parties is the failure to get appointments through the National List. The names of Tissa Vitarana and D.E.W. Gunasekara were removed from the original national list following the election results. Even the great survivor G.L. Peiris who batted for Mahinda Rajapaksa was left out to fend for himself.

The swearing in of the cabinet took place on the 3rd of September. Though, the 20th Amendment to the constitution restricts the number of cabinet ministers to 30, the number has been increased to 48 by the parliament. The motion was carried by 143 voting in favour, 63 abstentions and all 16 members of the TNA voting against it. The cabinet slots are shared between the UNFGG and the SLFP in the ratio of 31:11. The newly elected Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan has criticised the jumbo cabinet as too bloated compared to other countries, notably neighbouring India. India has only 65 cabinets Minister for a population of 1.25 billion, that is 60 times the size of Sri Lanka. To the number of cabinet posts must be added 48 Deputy Ministers! That means more than half the MPs are ministers.

MaithripalaEarlier the Sessions of the eighth parliament of Sri Lanka was officially declared open by the Head of State President Maithripala Sirisena. Addressing the parliament President Maithripala Sirisena said that the two main political parties will bring about a consensual alliance based on the National Government concept. He added that the main aim of the National Government is to promote reconciliation and economic growth. The president also said his government will continue to crackdown on corruption, fraud and waste and strengthen the institutional structure and will punish those who exploit national resources no matter who they are, and will not hesitate to take them before court.

There was no specific mention about enacting a new constitution to resolve the festering ethnic conflict, but the Prime Minister in his speech did refer to the enactment of a new constitution to forge reconciliation.

Although, polls indicated the results will be close, there was still scepticism whether UNFGG will make it to the winning post. Ranil Wickremesinghe as leader of the UNP has lost a total of 13 elections. It was this factor that compelled the opposition parties to look for someone else with charisma to contest the presidential election. Mahinda Rajapaksa who was popular with the Sinhalese masses was considered unbeatable unless a strong candidate is fielded against him.

Even President Maithripala Sirisena thought that Mahinda Rajapaksa may stage a comeback judging from the enthusiastic crowds that participated in rallies calling for his come back. Hence, President Sirisena’s missive to Rajapaksa that he will not appoint him as Prime Minister even if he wins the elections. President Sirisena gave a list of seven names of senior members of the UPFA and told Mahinda Rajapaksa he will appoint any one of them as Prime Minister.

President Sirisena dissuaded Mahinda Rajapaksa from contesting the elections and opts for an honourable retirement. But Mahinda Rajapaksa was adamant to face the polls and stage a comeback for no other reason he and his extended family faced numerous charges of corruption, misappropriation, human rights violations and even committing murders.

The results of the elections spelt disaster for Mahinda Rajapaksa. It was his second defeat within 8 months a contrast to his winning 2010 presidential elections on January 26th with a majority of 1,842,749 ( 17.13%) followed up with a land-slide victory at the parliamentary elections held on 8th April, 2010. In 2010 the UPFA won 144 seats just 6 short of a two-third majority. The following Table 1 shows the results of the elections held on August 17, 2015.VT

VT1During the presidential election in January, 2015 the UPFA candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa polled 5,768,090 (47.58). It is evident the UPFA share of votes in the parliamentary election declined by 1,035,436 votes. Unlike during the presidential elections, Mahinda Rajapaksa faced the parliamentary elections minus the state resources he liberally commandeered earlier. Also, like last time Mahinda Rajapaksa playing the communal card failed to secure him any additional votes.

So Mahinda Rajapaksa’s dream of crowning himself as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka did not materialise. And his grip on the SLFP/UPFA has slipped away. All those who won the election on the UPFA platform have joined the SLFP faction led by Maithripala Sirisena. The SLFP is now come under the firm control of President Sirisena and Chandrika Kumaratunga.

Had the results gone in favour of Mahinda Rajapaksa he would easily become the Prime Minister despite President Sirisena’s opposition. That means an eternal tug a war between Prime Minister Rajapaksa and President Sirisena.

Furthermore, forming a national government consisting both the UNFGG and UPFA would have been well nigh impossible. Now the government led by President Sirisena has the necessary 2/3 majority in the parliament to effect constitutional changes or even enacting a new constitution.

As far the 5 electoral districts in the North and East are concerned the TNA swept Jaffna, Vanni and Batticaloa. The number of votes polled almost tripled and the number seats increased by 2 despite the total seats in Jaffna reduced to 7 from 9. The TNA also lost one seat in Jaffna by just 6 votes. The spoiler was the TNPF/ACTC placed 5th in Jaffna and lost deposits in the remaining 4 districts.

It is interesting to observe that TNPF/ACTC was supported fully both in terms of intense propaganda and liberal funding by the TGTE/GTF/ICET/Voice for Change/Tamils for Obama. What it means is the attempt by Thamils in Diaspora to influence the outcome of the results in Thamil dominated electoral districts ended in complete fiasco.

The following Table 2 gives how the TNA and other parties performed in the 5 electoral districts in the Northeast.VT2

VT3The TNA has performed better than 2010 in all 5 districts. The 2010 elections were held within a year of the war coming to an end. Many IDPs in the North who were confined to refugee camps couldn’t vote. Further, the democratic space was restricted because of the menacing presence of more than 150, 000 armed forces in the North. With the defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa in January, the UPFA was deprived of government funds, media publicity and other influence. At the just concluded parliamentary elections there is relatively more freedom for the people to exercise their franchise.

This is reflected in the Jaffna electoral district where the UPFA /EPDP reduced to just one seat compared to 3 seats in 2010. Even the total votes declined marginally from 47, 622 (32.07%) in 2010 to 47,561, including votes polled (30,252) by EPDP candidate. The UNP also did not fare anything better. It polled 12, 624 votes in 2010 and in 2015 20,025 (6.67%) votes. Had it polled 6 votes less it would have lost the seat to TNA. The TNA’s share of vote increased from 65,119 (43.85%) in 2010 to 207,577 (69.12%) in 2015. In 2010 TNA secured 5 seats out of 9, but in 2015 it secured 5 out of 7 seats. There were many prophets of doom, both in and outside Sri Lanka, who predicted a dent in the voter base of the TNA were proved wrong.

A solution to the National Question has defied successive governments since independence. Therefore, we have to tread cautiously so that we don’t disturb the apple cart by acting rashly.

The formation of a national government consisting of both the SLFP and UNP provide a golden opportunity to resolve the National Question to the satisfaction of all the three communities. It is now or never.

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Latest comments

  • 1
    1

    First of all you have to satisfy the Tamil community !! Satisfaction of all the three communities !! Then you are not going to settle it!! National government is to hold their power !! See the amount of ministers !!This is another Srilankan Government!! We need a strong leader like …No one!!

  • 1
    0

    Veluppillai Thangavelu

    RE: National Government; A Golden Opportunity To Resolve The National Question

    Yes. A Golden Opportunity to Resolve the National Question and Admit by a Resolution:

    1.All except the Native Veddah Aethho, are Para, whether Para-Sinhala, Para-Tamils, Para-Muslims, Para-Portuguese( Parangios), Para-Dutch, Para-Malays, Para-English or Para-Chinese are ALL Paras, ad shown by the DNA in their bodies.

    Then can talk about the the other Para Issues.

    Ask: Do the Paras want to go back to where they came from?

  • 5
    0

    The National Question would not have arisen in the first place,if the National History[Mahavamsa] was not in place.

    • 1
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      Pygmalion

      “The National Question would not have arisen in the first place,if the National History[Mahavamsa] was not in place.”

      The DNA in the bodies of the Paras who inhabit the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, Para-Sinhala, Para-Tamils and other Paras and the Chronicles give support to the fact that they all are Paras, outsiders foreigners in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho.

      A possible solution is to send the Paras back home, as was done by the Srima-Shastri pack.

      We need a Sirisena-Modi Pact to send All Paras back to Maha Baharat.

      This will also solve the MaRa MaRa Chatu MaRa, Mahawansa and Sinhala Buddhism problem, which is not claimed to be Buddhism, problem as well.

    • 1
      5

      Unfortunately, every thing that Tamils have, similar Mahavamsa, is Indian, there is nothing Sri lankan.

      • 3
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        Jim softy

        Check your DNA, Kavun, Nattum, Music, Religion, Films, ….. language, myth, art, you might find some evidence to what you want to believe

        • 1
          2

          Dear N.V.

          I too agree with your DNA and kavum, kokis, linguistics theory.
          But then it is the very same people who advance this theory who demaand that Tamils in Sri Lanka should be constitutionaly recognised as a different ethnic entity.

          Bertrand Russell says throughout history people who claimed that all are children of one God always wanted to kill those who disagreed.

          Now you are among the most vociforous here on these columns who wouldn’t lose a moment to vilify the Sinhalese as a most barbaric, merdorous, rapist, genocidal etc etc (I envy your vocabulary ) lot. Now my dear NV can’t we claim to be genetically different from the Tamils at least in that aspect?

          Soma

          • 2
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            somass kantha

            “But then it is the very same people who advance this theory who demaand that Tamils in Sri Lanka should be constitutionaly recognised as a different ethnic entity.”

            Isn’t it something that the stupid Tamils learnt from their stupid brethren Sinhalese?

            Lets look at the history.

            In 1948 Sinhalese feared that the up country hard working people were going to swarm this island and take all their jobs, land and exerted power through ballot box. So the citizenship ACT was passed and nearly 700,000 were made and remained stateless until the Hindians kicked JR’s bum.

            So the Sinhalese fear was translated into unreasonable law.

            In 1956 Sinhala was imposed on non Sinhala speaking people. The reason was that the Sinhalese were at a disadvantage. So were the 99.99% non Sinhala speaking people. But then SWRD Banda made it a Sinhala only language policy. The paranoia of the Sinhala/Buddhists force the leaders to enforce an unreasonable law until the Hindians kicked JR’s bum and got it changed. It was the fear factor that made the Sinhala/Buddhists to behave irrationally.

            In the early 1980’s the Jaffna library was burnt down. No one has been charged. In 1974 a cultural event was disrupted by the police and 11 people were killed. Not a single policeman was charged. …………..

            Again there is this fear for their life, safety of their property, unreasonable barriers imposed on progress of minority through action and inaction, lack of power to do simple things, ………….. all forced them to be different.

            The day the majority change their majoritarian mindset I assure you things will change change for the better.

            Arrangement in the constitution should be made it to become a truly secular one comparable to Singapore, India (not Hindia) South Africa, …. accommodating fears of all people, recognising their identities, democratic rights, and guarantee their dignity, habitat, right to equal opportunities, safety, security, equality, ………….. and a mechanism through which people can enforce all the above.

            Until then you will be a Sinhala/Buddhist and rest of them will be second class minorities who have no access to justice.

            There is a lot to do. Don’t waste your time here. Go start doing some thing worthwhile.

            ” Now you are among the most vociforous here on these columns who wouldn’t lose a moment to vilify the Sinhalese as a most barbaric, merdorous, rapist, genocidal etc etc”

            First I am not genetically a Tamil/Sinhalese. Get that right.

            I do not vilify Tamils or Sinhalese, both stupid. I assure you I will continue to vilify Sinhala/Buddhists and Tamil/Saivaite when occasion warrant.

            If you show your ugly Sinhala/Buddhist heart you are guaranteed some insult. I don’t treat Tamils/Saivaites differently to Sinhala/Buddhists. Both are vile.

            Every morning you must at least spend few minutes in front of the mirror and say “I love soma” (or whatever your name is) a few hundred times. You will see the difference soon.

            Go back to my comments and let me know who gets the worst out of me.

            • 0
              1

              “In the early 1980’s the Jaffna library was burnt down. No one has been charged. In 1974 a cultural event was disrupted by the police and 11 people were killed. Not a single policeman was charged.”

              And then in 1983, was anyone charged?

              This is why NV I can never ever bring my hand to vote for UNP, the party witch the the Tamils always favour and RW has been a powerful miniter in both occasions.

              If I had only one bullet to choose between one who ķilled 1000 innocent Tamils in 1983 another who participated in burning down the heart of our Tamil brothern I wouldd choose it on the lattter.

              Soma

              • 1
                0

                somas kantha

                “If I had only one bullet to choose between one who ķilled 1000 innocent Tamils in 1983 another who participated in burning down the heart of our Tamil brothern I wouldd choose it on the lattter.”

                Man/woman here is your ugly thought. Can you not deal with those perpetrators without resorting to violence, bullet hole, murder, capital punishment, ….. ?

                You are pathetic.

  • 0
    2

    Mr.Thangavelu

    What and where is the National question?

    • 0
      2

      Sellam, we don’t have a problem.

      Soma

      • 0
        0

        somaass kantha

        “Sellam, we don’t have a problem.”

        Can you see dirt on your back and clean it? Leave alone the one in your head.

  • 1
    6

    Amazing.

    JVP got more votes than TNA.

    but,TNA has 14 seats while JVP has only four seats.

    • 2
      0

      Jim softy

      “JVP got more votes than TNA. but,TNA has 14 seats while JVP has only four seats.”

      I suspect Diaspora must have paid him a sum the Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya couldn’t refuse. He standardised the results probably allowed already stuffed ballot papers to be counted. There is rumour that CIA agents switched ballot boxes.

      What do you hear from the people on the ground?

  • 0
    2

    “solution to the National Question has defied successive governments since independence. Therefore, we have to tread cautiously so that we don’t disturb the apple cart by acting rashly.

    The Tamil ethnic question dubbed as the National question has no conceivable solution in view of pattern of demographic distribution of Tamil speaking in the island.
    Could do you give me the reference of any proposal which claims to satisfy the political aspirations of 90% of Tamil speaking people in Sri Lanka.

    Talking about toppling apple carts a TNA delegation is flying to Geneva to find the ways and means of punishing the Sinhala side of the 30 year war. Let us wait until subsequent ICC trials are over and the Sinhala side is duly punished. Then we will educate the next generation of Tamils along the lines of the genocide theory of Wingeshwaran.

    Soma

    • 0
      0

      “Then we will educate the next generation of Tamils along the lines of the genocide theory of Wingeshwaran.”

      Oh really?

      You have already made up your mind to divide the country. The few Eelamistas still licking their wound would love to learn the lessons that from your education to the next generation of Tamils. They would welcome it. A sure and quick way to Eelam. They would be eternally grateful to you.

      Why should TNA flying to Geneva scare you, if you hadn’t really committed war crime and crimes against humanity? When MR flew to Geneva in late 1980s did it scare you?

      You are indeed a clever dick. Aren’t you?

      • 0
        0

        NV
        No, you are mistaken. Quite the contrary. I truly wish to see you and Wingeswaran carry your messeage of genocide and the brutal nature of Sinhala Buddhists to the next generation of Tamils living in Sinhala areas outside North and also wish to see the the whole case taken beyond Geneva right up to ICC. As I said, before we talk about reconciliation we must wait till the ICC trials are concluded and the Sinhala side is punished. That’s the shortest path to reconciliation. You will wake up the next morning to a blissful Sri Laka who would be living in peace and amity ever after.

        I am one Sinhalese who is not worried about Ealam in the North and East PROVIDED it accomodates ALL TAMIL SPEAKING PEOPLE PRESENTLY SCATTERED, IRRESPECTIVE OF THEIR RELIGION OR DATE OF ARRIVAL.
        I want to educate the Sinhala modayas about the crafty game plan of the Tamil political masters for 50% remaining in the south while the other 50% exclusively allocated for them.

        Thambi, take this from me. There is no way, absolutely there is no way, Geneva or Timbactu, you guys can punish only the Sinhalese without facing an equal and opposite reaction. You get economic sanctions imposed and see who goes hungry first. You drop an atom bomb on Colombo and more Tamils will die than Sinhalese.

        For thirty long years both sides killed each other, combatants and non combatants. You want to carry it further? If you can afford it we have no option but to oblige.

        You may also note I will begin feeling guilty as a Sinhalese only if some day I observe Tamil speaking people voluntarily leaving Sinhala areas to settle in North and East. At that point I will actively join the campaign for a separate political unit for North and East. So long as they don’t demand exclusive ethnic enclaves as Sri Lankans they are entitled for equal rights in all respects. As for their apolitical issues and grievences I am in their camp.

        Soma

  • 1
    0

    There are many national questions like Law and order, rule of law, constitutional issues, political accountability issues and several others. The National Question I am concerned is with is the ethnic issue associated with minority empowerment and granting of equal rights through the concept of self- determination, specifically for the Thamil community in the country.

  • 0
    2

    Mr.Thangavelu.
    A studious presentation.

    Your line……The formation of a National Govt:consisting of both the SLFP and UNP provide a golden opportunity to resolve the National Question to the satisfaction of all the three communities.It is now or never.
    Plato too believes in The Ideal State.His thesis The Republic says it all!
    The satisfaction of all three communities you say? The only satisfaction all three communities had SIMULTANEOUSLY was when Parippu and Dry Fish prices came down! The Leftists used to say that the Revolution is around the corner.is it still negotiating that corner? The National QUESTION ship will most probably hit a boulder in the form of the MAHAVAMSA in mid-sea.
    I am afraid I cannot be more optimistic than this.

    It is now or never reminds me of Elvis Presley.

  • 0
    0

    Can you please enlighten me on what the national question is. I do not see any problem anywhere except in the minds of the tamils. The tamils live in the best areas of Colombo, have the best jobs in the government service, are educated free of charge in the sri lankan universities and they ask for equal rights. There is no problem except that tamils do not know how to look after themselves. You need equal rights then take your equal rights. If someone hits you you hit them back. You wait quietly while some sinhalese goons hit you and then you go to the international community ask for a separate state. You live in America and see how the blacks fight for their rights. Thats the way to do it not wait quietly and then become terrorists!!!

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