26 September, 2020

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National List Jiggery-Pokery

By Sarath de Alwis

Sarath de Alwis

Sarath de Alwis

Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.” – H.L. Mencken in Prejudices

The legitimacy of the UNP-SLFP consensual coalition to draft a new constitution has been seriously undermined by the composition of the UPFA national list. It seems that President Maithripala Sirisena has set a new constitutional precedent by exercising a right to reverse the people’s verdict by nominating six defeated candidates who were members of the previous parliament. It is an ingenious constitutional precedent of the right to recall defeated MPs to the new parliament.

The jiggery-pokery of the SLFP is in blatant contempt of the normative principles of representative democracy. A free and fair election does not depend on the assurance of the integrity of the process but on how the integrity of its outcome is respected. The arrogant disregard for ethical political behavior will only lead to further undermine our fragile freedoms and democratic systems which we cherish and yearn for.

The JVP’s option of assigning one of its two national list seats to a defeated candidate can be politically explained. It was a compelling compromise that redressed an imbalance precipitated by a fickle electorate.

In contrast, the nomination of six defeated candidates is pure political expediency. It is an affirmation of the adage that the “most useful thing about a principle is that it can always be sacrificed to expediency.”

SBPresident Maithripala Sirisena appealed to the electorate to preserve and advance the gains of his 8th January triumph over fascist tendencies. His January electoral success was due to the ‘wave’ for democracy based on the perceived threat of corruption and the absence of good governance. It created a deep anxiety about politics in general and a deep seated distrust of politicians. He was seen as the antithesis of the conventional politician.

With the UPFA national list he has reneged on his own promise. It is a devastating blow to the public’s trust and confidence in the political system. The political ploy he has adopted is so consistent with past wrong doing. The continued disdain towards public opinion as displayed by the ousted regime is disheartening. It now seems as business as usual with nothing changed in the rules of play.

The photo finish outcome of the general election on 17th August 2015 is a reprieve and not a victory for the crusade for a just and a scrupulous society. When the IGP tells us that it was a peaceful election and a turning point in the history of our nation he seems to overlook the fact, that he held the same office and responsibilities on January 8th 2015. His unspoken words are more eloquent than those he uttered. It is such discretion of those in authority that makes myth, the end product of history.

The results of the election, conclusively demonstrated that Mahinda Rajapaksa is the ultimate tribal leader capable of generating ecstatic devotion of nearly half of the Sinhala ethno nation that makes up two thirds of our Civic nation.

The UPFA owes its impressive performance to its strategy of projecting Mahinda Rajapakse as the ‘Redeemer who could save the country that was in imminent peril’.

The spectacular preference counts of Wimal Weerawansa, Udaya Gammanpila in Colombo, Lohan Ratwatte in Kandy, Wasantha Perera in Matale, Dulles Alahapperuma in Matara, Namal Rajapaksa in Hambanthota validates the success of this strategy.

This writer is personally acquainted with a group of middle class, Sinhala Buddhist ladies who conducted regular Bodhipooja for eleven days praying for the return of 113 UPFA parliamentarians. In due course some of them will offer alms to 83 monks and redeem their solemn vow made to the four guardian deities of Lanka.

The ‘Bring back Mahinda’ campaign was brilliant political marketing. It shaped the attitude and behavior of the traditional voter base of the SLFP that President Maithripala and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga were attempting to rescue from the Rajapakse stranglehold. More than the dreams of good governance the fears of losing Sinhala Buddhist primacy galvanized and motivated the traditional anti-elitist Sinhala middle class. The electoral success of the ‘Dinosaur fossil’ Gamini Lokuge now in SLFP ranks, in the greater suburbia of the promised Colombo Megapolis is a striking example of this premise.

Patriotism and piety continues to shape the political behavior of the average Sinhala voter. The fiery rhetoric of monks such as Bhikku Medagoda Abayatissa whose oratory was persuasive and pervasive cast a spell on the average voter.

Piety was creatively deployed to create a fictional order in place of facts. Faith and ignorance are dangerous tools in the hands of demagogues. By making Buddhism a basis of communal loyalty the Buddhist priesthood supporting Mahinda Rajapakse has forged a powerful ideology. It has given it the status of an established order. It is they who decide how we should adjust our world view.

Throughout our history the Buddhist monk has been a part of our political order. With politicians extending selective patronage in the context of competitive politics, the Sangha community has become a politically polarized power center with the most dangerous prerogative in public life – power without responsibility.

In these uncertain times, trust in politics and politicians is vital for us to fashion a new order. The absence of trust encourages the growth of populist, fascist or dictatorial tendencies.

By promising a beginning and breathing new life in to it, even the Mahinda Rajapakse manifesto acknowledged the death of our body politic. As Hannah Arendt observes, the death of the body politic, can only occur by way of the powerlessness of politics itself. Situated within the world of human speech and action, power reveals its ethical and political limits when it is overcome by deception, empty words, destruction, and “brutality.”  Thus power depends upon the public self-disclosure of actors acting together with other actors to generate power.

Power is actualized only where word and deed have not parted company.

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Latest comments

  • 20
    0

    The picture of the laughing man says it all – a man who went to jail for insulting the supreme court, famously said “I know how to win eletions”, and harassed a female athlete for sexual favours.

    Now, many of his kind have been resurrected, though rejected by the voters.

    ‘Good Governance’ at what cost!!

    • 14
      4

      Sarath de Alwis

      “It has given it the status of an established order. It is they who decide how we should adjust our world view.”

      It is a very good reason as to why we must urgently liberate Buddha’s teaching from Sinhala/Buddhism.

      The sooner the better for all people.

      • 11
        0

        President Sirisena is becoming a NATIONAL JOKE with his National Government and National List of corrupt clowns who were rejected by the people..

        There is no need for a national government full of corrupt SLFP criminal clowns, who will now all want to be Cabinet members.

        Let the UNP rule with the help of the JVP and TNA and there should only be 10 Cabinet members.

        SIrisena has made a royal mess of the SLFP rather than cleaning out that corrupt party of Mahinda Jarapassa and his cronies. He should have refused MR and his cronies nominations..

        • 0
          0

          Dont <oyu know that JVP categorigally rejected to join any ruling govt ?

          TNA would.
          So Sarath Fonseka does not have any one got voted.
          So how to build up the coaltion according to him ?

          Without SLFPers you cant do it… like or not you need to form a coalition govt to rule the nation.
          Besides, if not now, when you think we will need to work under a National GOVT ?
          National govts in general formed to work on common issues of key importantace fo rthe country. Like to work on reconliation after the war is over. Like work for turn the eroded society to a civilised one which safeguard the basic human rights of the people.

      • 8
        1

        I have lost all respect for Maitripala Sirisena, his NATIONAL list and idea of a NATIONAL government which will only result in a bloated Cabinet with more corrupt clowns.

        TNA’s Sampanthan should be made leader of the opposition.

        The SLFP national list is a disgrace, even more disgraceful than giving Mahinda jarapassa nominations.

        And Sirisena’s idea of a national government with the SLFP scum of the earth is a terrible idea.

        There will be NO good governance or new political culture as long as this generation of corrupt politicians Jarapassa, Sirisena, Ranil are in power. Ranil is the UNP dictator who lost numerous elections, and Jarapassa the deposed dictator and now it seems Sirisena is a wanna be dictator via a spurious national government of corrupt clowns from the SLFP national list!

  • 9
    7

    I do not understand how everyone expects this man Maitri to be a democrat. He is a dictator worse than JR and Premadasa combined.

    Look at all his despicable actions before and after his election as the President of Sri Lanka.

    First be turned a Judas when after having supper with Mahinda, he crossed over to the opposition to become their Presidential candidate against the very same man with whom he had hoppers the previous evening. After he won, he then begged for and got from Mahinda the leadership of SLFP and UPFA.

    Later at the Parliamentary election, he did everything he could to defeat UPFA. Just days before the election, he issued statements against the main UPFA candidate who was acclaimed by many UPFA leaders as the would be Prime Minister and at the last moment he even dismissed the Secretary Generals of SLFP and UPFA causing great chaos in a party and alliance that was contesting an important election. Despite all the obstacles placed by him, when the UPFA managed to win 95 seats, he has now shamelessly stuffed UPFA’s National List with his supporters like SB Dissanayake who were rejected by the people at the election. This is gutter politics.

    By this shameless and highly unethical and immoral act, Maithri has demonstrated that he is a lowly creature who has no respect for democratic values or traditions.

  • 4
    2

    The tendency towards tribal behaviour in voting in candidates for parliament seems to have risen rather than subsided in Sri Lanka whereas with development in modern concepts, technological advancement and rational thinking, mature democracies vote primarily on economic credentials or policies rather than blind loyalty. In that context, both the leadership and the ranks have a long way to go in socio-political evolution.

    • 4
      0

      Long live the debacle of democracy in the Miracle of Modayas!
      Well Lasantha, lets be accurate. The UNP voters did well for the most part. It is the traditionally SLFP voters who seem to be brain dead, because Sirisena confused them with his dirty back stabbing number first gave Mahinda Jarapassa nominations and then telling them not to vote for the Jarapassa and his cronies.

      Now MS has brought in his foul mouth corrupt cronies, SB, Hisbullah, Fizar, Sumathpala..

      What a bloody fiasco this yahapalanya President is creating with his joke of a national list and bigger joke of national govt! Let’s hope that Ranil just steers clear of these jokers and works with TNA and JVP and the law take its course on all the corrupt SLFP politicains who are back in the CIRCUS at the Diyawenna Parliament of Sinhala Modayas!

  • 3
    1

    Now, elections are peaceful, apparently free of vote rigging and mal practices, we can see Sri lankan elections and the parliament are jokes

    See how national list is selected.

    Sri Lanka population is highly over represented by politicians. IT looks every 35,000 to 45000 has a central govt politician.

    Then when the provincial election comes, there will be more representation.

    They vote for a president, Central govt politicians, provincial govt politicians, finally municipal council politicians.

    IT is like big scam to provide jobs to some selected people.

  • 12
    1

    People were told to eliminate tainted candidates, by no other than President Sirisena himself. Now this same President Sirisena, has appointed 6 rejected candidates through the National List, eliminating 6 who were nominated during the elections. Can we trust or respect this President?

    • 2
      1

      Patriot,

      You are very correct in pointing out the fact. What I do not understand is your silence when such scum, murderers, thugs and fraudsters headed by the biggest and the worst, MR were nominated and your like voting them to Parliament. Then you had no qualms. As for us we condemn all and they should be shut out completely, unlike you adopting double standards.

  • 8
    0

    And can you ever believe that this useless man was once Education Minister?

  • 7
    0

    Even Paisa Must Appah that Nothing-For-Nothing man managed to creep in through the back door. What a piggery we have here.

  • 12
    0

    I am appalled at the appointment of Thilanga Sumathipala from the National list of the UPFA. I trust all remember how Sumathipala’s side kick the underworld goon whom Sumathipala accompanied to the UK to see the matches, turned against Thilanga and gave evidence was murdered inside Hulftsdorp Court itself. Obviously at the behest of this Bookiepala fearing that Thilanga will be exposed. The assassin was caught and none seems to know what happened to the case? Thilanga is another Sajin Vass who robbed public funds to his heart’s content. Now these buggers are brought back and I can not understand the Logic of it.

  • 11
    0

    It seems that President Maithripala Sirisena has set a new constitutional precedent by exercising a right to reverse the people’s verdict by nominating six defeated candidates who were members of the previous parliament. It is an ingenious constitutional precedent of the right to recall defeated MPs to the new parliament.

    The jiggery-pokery of the SLFP is in blatant contempt of the normative principles of representative democracy. A free and fair election does not depend on the assurance of the integrity of the process but on how the integrity of its outcome is respected. The arrogant disregard for ethical political behavior will only lead to further undermine our fragile freedoms and democratic systems which we cherish and yearn for.

    That is the truth.

    what can people do. Maithripala Sirisena proved that he is another dirty politician.

  • 2
    2

    The ”group of middle class, Sinhala Buddhist ladies who conducted regular Bodhipooja for eleven days praying for the return of 113 UPFA parliamentarians” need to know that they were praying for the return of the most unpatriotic and unBuddhist parliamentarians: one Dr Thrishantha Nanayakkara has just written an article in groundviews.org how the Rajapakse regime was refusing to help the academic researchers at Moratuwa University produce the robotic machinery needed for demining but was importing stuff, some even unsuitable, at very much higher prices.

  • 5
    0

    There are no honest politicians. Our President is a wolf in lambs wool learning
    to be a dictator like the previous goof.

  • 4
    0

    Street demonstrations are in order to combat such undemocratic, devious and under hand actions taken by Sirisena. He needs to know that he can’t step outside the circle of Democracy and in to the world of dictatorship. If the citizens do not take action right at the beginning to nip this sort of thing in the bud, Sirisena will think he has a free hand to take unilateral decisions.

    • 2
      0

      Bravo Richie, I whole-heartedly second that motion.

      If the people have spoken by rejecting these scumbags, then Sirisena has no right or business welcoming them into the house where elected reps debate matters of state on behalf of their constituents who elected them.

      By doing what he did, Sirisena is thumbing his nose at the people and he is best advised to retract this while the iron is still hot and teach these good for nothing bastards where they get off.

      We the People heartily endorse a legitimately organised campaign of street protests, written petitions and even legal action to get these scumbags kicked out, Sirisena or no Sirisena.

      Nagananda Kodituwakku, where are you Sir?!

  • 2
    0

    “The JVP’s option of assigning one of its two national list seats to a defeated candidate can be politically explained.”

    !##$$/ ?

    Come on Mr Alwis. Say it again.

    A kabaragoya can be considered a talagoya if one desires to eat it.

    Soma

    • 2
      0

      soma-skantha

      “A kabaragoya can be considered a talagoya if one desires to eat it.”

      I can see that from your typing. You must have had three times a day with kiri bath since you were born.

  • 2
    0

    President Sirisena is revealing his true self as a man who has no respect for the democratic process. As each day passes, democracy keeps being turned on its head by this President who has turned out to be more dictatorial than any before him.
    Legal action is the route to follow in challenging this anti-democratic behavior.

  • 6
    0

    Maithri surprised us all with his previous ‘WTF?’ decisions that most folk reacted to in ways similar to the majority of comments above. Later, many considered him to be a ‘master player’ who had his opponents wondering what hit them. I’m wondering if this is another one of his master moves that will leave his detractors wondering at his genius, or whether he is just another ‘politikka’ in the same mould as most of those around him.

    Hard to figure this guy out! Let’s hope that he is aware of what he is doing and that it is for the benefit of the country in the long term.

    • 0
      0

      Jango,

      I agree, give the president a chance. This may be the result of some advanced horse trading…however Sirisena has light eyes…never trust a man with “Balal Ass” (feline eyes) is an ancient saying in our Country!

      There may / must be another machination in this national list.

  • 1
    1

    Everyone and everything was and is wrong according to the people who are commenting here. Pleas if any of you can compete in at least local government and do the job what you guys saying is acceptable. But I’m 100% sure no one will get at lest 1000 votes. So let them do what you can’t do. Last 10 years we have gone forward .. All of you trying to find faults with politicians .. But when I read these comments I thought they must be saints or haters.

  • 1
    1

    The fact remains that all these 6 individuals were sabotaged by MR and his clan for being “sirisena” men……they were hooted and booed on stages, voters were told that they were UNP proxies. I think the President is making up for letting them down by giving MR nominations.

    I however can’t for the life of me fathom how Susil Premajayantha gets to become cozy with the president after overruling him regards to MR’s nomination and lambasting him on public stages for over a month?

    • 1
      0

      Well all these 6 were SLPFers who contested under UPFA and were voted out by SLFpers whose head was Maithripala Sirisena.If the bulk of SLFP members who were elected happens to be MR sympathizers then it is clearly evident regardess of his position int he party President Sirisena does not have the support within the rank and file.He is to take the blame for all this happenings.

      By appointing these rejects through national list President Sirisena has betrayed the trust placed in him by millions of this country and proven that he is no different from MR when having to establish his own power base.

      what a let down

  • 2
    0

    This Sarath De Alwis chap was a vociferous supporter of the JVP throughout the campaign. Yet, the moment his beloved JVP does a ‘bait and switch’ by promoting a national list full of intellectuals, only to bring back a candidate who was OUTVOTED at the election (thereby going against its own selling point of the national list, along with many outcries they have raised in the past) he chooses to justify this through some big lingo stating “The JVP’s option of assigning one of its two national list seats to a defeated candidate can be politically explained. It was a compelling compromise that redressed an imbalance precipitated by a fickle electorate”

    Actually, Sarath, it cannot, and the sooner the JVP opens up its eyes to the reality that they will never form a government so long as they continue to field the same persons day in and day out, the sooner they will realise that the 2020 government they hope to form is mere utopia.

    Then again, one cannot expect much from those folks who killed so many intellectuals and artistes a mere 25 years ago…

  • 0
    0

    I hope at least now, the people will realize that they have been fooled. The president’s list came at the expense of kicking out the actual list proposed: GL Peries, Rajiva and other highly educated politicians. Instead, thug goons have been selected.

    Where are those who were screaming their lungs out for “educated politicians”??? (LMAO)

  • 1
    0

    Thank you, Sarath, for another valuable piece of analysis. That said, I will revert to the song I’ve sung over more years than I care to remember: “Forget political expediency and everything associated with it and return to governance driven by ethics, morality and democratic practice. THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE!

  • 0
    0

    [Edited out] Please avoid typing all capitalized comments – CT

  • 0
    0

    I see comments that they do not like Maithripala
    Sirisena NOW.

    I did not like him at all. Not because he has not
    gone to a University. There are people like R.
    Premadasa who did not go to a university but earned
    the great respect of a vast mass of this country.

    How? This is by the rural knowledge he applied to
    politics. This man Sirisena is a man who is oozing
    out with venom and revenge. He is neither worried
    about the country or the people.

    Take the best example – he appointed on the National
    List those rejected by the people. Why? Only because
    that set of jokers sided him. Therefore, Sirisena
    rejected the will of the people and forced his own
    will.

    He was reported in the media as saying that some
    in the SLFP can sit in the opposition but cannot go
    against the MoU. What kind of democracy is that? He
    is even giving directions on how the legislature
    should function.

    Just this week he nominated Kumar Sangakkara as the
    High Commissioner to UK. Sangakkara is a cricketer pa
    excellence. But that does not mean he is a footballer
    or golfer par excellence. In the same way, he cannot
    be a diplomat heading the mission which is most important
    to sri Lanka. The next time,Sirisena will ask his driver
    whether he can serve as a head of mission.

    He know no statecraft, has no finesse and not even common
    sense. It will only months before the country gets into a
    bigger mess again with a new dictator who cannot see beyond
    his nose.

  • 0
    0

    How true Ananda Perera. This fellow
    is an utter farce. He will make a
    silly ass out of himself sooner
    than later.

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