20 February, 2019

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Next Presidential Elections: Who Will Win In A Three-Cornered Fight?

By Vishwamithra

“Privacy is dead, and social media hold the smoking gun.” ~ Pete Cashmore, Mashable CEO

The social media is quite busy. One of its main political thrust has been towards promoting one single individual of the United National Party (UNP). And that is Sajith Premadasa, the current Minister of Housing and Cultural Affairs, the son of the late Ranasinghe Premadasa. Ranasinghe Premadasa was a totally different kettle of fish. His modus operandi consisted of real hard work and he was never ever considered a ‘softie’. His contribution towards the déclassé still remains unmatched and his masterful skills in oratory was never surpassed other than by another mob-orator, Rohana Wijeweera. However, R Premadasa lived in a different time; an era that was devoid of the social media. The social media dawned on humanity much later.

According to Drew Hendricks, who has contributed to many major publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur, is a tech, social media, and environmental addict, writes thus: ‘the first recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997. It enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. In 1999, the first blogging sites became popular, creating a social media sensation that’s still popular today.

After the invention of blogging, social media began to explode in popularity. Sites like MySpace and LinkedIn gained prominence in the early 2000s, and sites like Photobucket and Flickr facilitated online photo sharing. YouTube came out in 2005, creating an entirely new way for people to communicate and share with each other across great distances.

By 2006, Facebook and Twitter both became available to users throughout the world. These sites remain some of the most popular social networks on the Internet…today, there is a tremendous variety of social networking sites, and many of them can be linked to allow cross-posting. This creates an environment where users can reach the maximum number of people without sacrificing the intimacy of person-to-person communication. We can only speculate about what the future of social networking may look in the next decade or even 100 years from now, but it seems clear that it will exist in some form for as long as humans are alive.’

Political opponents of R Premadasa, Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake would have dreaded had all these three magicians of mass appeal lived today. But to engage in such idle speculation is unproductive, except as to learn lessons from the success of those who chose to play the game of politic to such a consummate end. Of these three gentlemen, Gamini Dissanayake had the most electric kind of personal appeal. That uniqueness owed its character to the great empathy that Gamini displayed when he mingled with his fellowmen and women. Both R Premadasa and Lalith Athulathmudali were greatly skilled craftsmen of mass-politics, yet I dare say, both were not authentic in their presumed feelings for the masses. Gamini Dissanayake, on the other hand had his authenticity glowing from his total being. Being ruthless in the pursuit of their ends, all three were exceptionally capable politicians. 

Allow me to digress here to illustrate the far-thinking ability of these three men. When JR Jayewardene formed his Cabinet in 1977- just 18 in all- every Minster appointed as his or her Private Secretary from within his or her own family. Even JR Jayewardene’s Private Secretary was Nihal Weeratunga who happened to be his step-nephew. Yet three Ministers had their Private Secretaries appointed from outside their respective families. They were Premadasa, Lalith and Gamini. Their goal was far too high to be spoiled by an unemployed relative of theirs.

This practice has continued up to date; both Sajith Premadasa and Navin Dissanayake have appointed their Private Secretaries from outside the realm of their relatives. Not only the mere absence of nepotism, its appearance too needed to be taken care of. Brought up and nursed in such a challenging background, both Sajith Premadasa and Navin Dissanayake are being portrayed as two possible candidates for the prime job of Presidency. In the social media, Sajith Premadasa is being promoted as a ‘natural and automatic’ successor to Ranil Wickremesinghe. But Sajith’s completely egocentric campaign in the social media, especially during the difficult days of the 50-day government of Mahinda Rajapaksa, may have earned him temporary advantage, exclusively among the UNP supporters, by virtue of its constant and consistent repetition of images and prose, the authenticity that was totally absent form that campaign would ultimately in the long-run capture its prisoners.

Authenticity is not one would cultivate as a character that is developed in a finishing school. Authenticity is a character one needs to exhibit as an integral part of one’s very soul. Whether it’s totally positive or ‘irregularly’ negative, yet if it appears to be really authentic that authenticity goes a long way in politics. Authenticity as the main feature of their persona, any above-average candidate would fair quite greatly against such inauthentic opponent in the class of Maithripala Sirisena or any Rajapaksa. 

But our central issue is whether Maithripala Sirisena who happens to be the current President who became the ‘King’ of Sri Lanka thanks mainly to the unstinted support of Ranil Wickremesinghe and his UNP, would offer himself as a third candidate. Given the current discord between President Sirisena and the UNP, it is highly unimaginative on the part of any political analyst/pundit to assume that Maithripala would represent the same coalition that elected him President in the first place, in 2015. The three-cornered fight will be among Maithripala Sirisena, Pohottuwa candidate (possibly a Rajapaksa) and the UNP nominee.

In the context of a Presidential Election, it is indispensible that, in order to claim a majority, one simply cannot focus only on the majority Sinhalese Buddhist voter base. Given the overwhelming majority of Sinhalese Buddhists, the Pohottuwa candidate or Maithripala Sirisena is purported to enjoy, if either of them does not receive at least 35% of the Tamil and Muslim votes, even if they receive 65% of the Sinhalese Buddhist base, he or she cannot win. It was statistically proven beyond any shadow of doubt in the last Presidential Election held in 2015. So in the event Maithripala Sirisena contests, provided he gets the entire bloc of votes that were cast for him the 2015 elections, and some sizable portion from the SLFP base which would have ordinarily gone for Pohottuwa candidate, the UNP candidate stands to win a hard-fought three-cornered fight. 

But the sad part of this analysis is, the onetime Rajapaksa-hater and President of the country ends up as the third or last among the three. Lack of cleverness or lack of statecraft has to suffer; its effects are not marginal; the deep abyss it led the whole country to is still staring at each and every politician of today. The disgust and disaffection today’s youth feels for the current rotten system is unmistakable. Conventional politicking will not work. Providing another Mahinda Rajapaksa is not the solution; merely trying to outdo Mahinda Rajapaksa is a sterile effort; had the choice been producing a more acceptable servant of conventions, Mahinda Rajapaksa or his surrogate would be far more attractive to the average voter.

For today’s voter, R Premadasa, Lalith Athulathmudali or Gamini Dissanayake is irrelevant. The tools and modus operandi they operated on is dead and anachronistic now. A brand new generation whose access to the Smartphone-technology and YouTube proximity, is thinking anew; their dreams are being measured in terms of minutes and seconds, not months or years. The changing world is being presented to them in a matter of seconds; live debates are being watched on their Smartphones; the responses are being broadcast and telecast in minutes and that living-in-the-minute syndrome has taken ahold of their 24-hour behavior. Couples who roam the Vihara Mahadevi Park are no more communicating with each other in real live terms. Each one is engaged in reading and writing on the screens of their Smartphones. Yet their loving partnership seems to survive; the ups and downs of romance would outlast the very relationships and might eventually be more productive in shaping the respective characters of the partnerships. 

Such is the brutality of modern-day life. Is our average politician equipped to tackle this bouncing ride? Is he or she prepared to adjust to the fast-changing character of modern society? In other words, is the UNP ready for such a bumpy journey that might ultimately claim the time and energy of our young politicians. Is Sajith capable of embracing this fresh face of politics? Is Navin ready to take on the changing phase of politics? Yet one cannot ignore nor could be left unclear when selecting the next candidate from the UNP. He has to be a proven winner. If winning is the critical element of that selection process, then you, the reader, would know there is only one winner in the UNP today. Look at the results of the last few elections. And you surely know who it is.

*The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com        

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Latest comments

  • 9
    6

    It is not three way contest but 4 way contest.
    1) M&S
    2) MR & co.
    3) Ranil & co.
    4) AKD .JVP..
    If Sri Lankans are clever enough
    They would vote for ASK as protest votes …
    All first three have cheated Sri Lanka..
    Why not try 4th alternative

    • 7
      0

      Lankan

      i don’t think anura kumara will contest an election where he knows he will lose.Same for sirisena.Basil has said that SLPP will have its own candidate.If that happens i think sirisena will withdraw.No politician likes to show how weak they truly are.

      • 7
        2

        JVP’s Sunil Handunetti who went after the Bondscam robbers is my Choice for next Prez. AKD has been playing footsie with Bond Ranil in a very devious way.
        SH is more honest than AKD and would likely clean up the Corrupt Cesspit called the Parliament of Sri Lanka.
        Jayawewa!

        • 1
          0

          Dilma,
          JVP , with the anti Rajapaksa wave in 2015, managed less than 5% of the total vote at the August 2015 election.
          Sunil Handunetti could not win his electorate and came through the back door as a National List MP.
          I seriously doubt if he is electable.

  • 4
    3

    Sorry to say this .
    Keselwatta Kid either has no clue of what Dr Ranil’s UNP Elite, Anglican , & Vellala Faction Policy Frame work is ,specially after the Yahapalanaya kicked in ‘

    Or the Kid has been brain washed to keep the Village Baiyyas happy by promising them a good life in the ” Bush”.

    Otherwise how can the Kid reconcile the UNP kids in Colombo going to London following Private Schools and getting a B Med, B Eng, or even B Business from a SAITM or in Melbourne while their parents live in Multi Million Ruppiah Condominiums .

    And the Village kids going to Game School where they can’t even finish AL let alone going to a Uni even if they are lucky to get a Fibro Cement Shack from Keselwatta Kid… .

    This is just a glaring example of Dr Ranil’s UNP .

    Although these Village baiyyas go behind this UNP Kid, do they have access to the current Social media like Watts Up, Face Book, Instagram, U Tube, Linkedin, Instagram, or Twitter?.
    Do they go Tinder Dating ?…

    After the Kid tried to upset the UNP Apple Cart a few years ago with the current Protector of Dr Ranil Dr Ranil and his Srikotha banished the Kid to Magampura .
    -.
    With this one strategic move ,Dr Ranil was able to totally wipe out the Premadasas from Colombo where the old Preme cut his teeth in Politics and kept the Slum Areas of Colombo as a UNP stronghold..
    And put them the under the firm grip of Dr Ranil’s Elite mates Young Sujeev and Ravi Karunanayaka.

    Will the Colombo Elite who are loyal supporters of Young Sujeev aand Ravi endorse Keselwatta Kid, when Dr Ranil has openly declared that he wants to be the President in the footsteps of his great Uncle?. ..
    And even Young Sujeeva has said that he is ready to put his name into the Hat, when Srikotha starts deliberations to select their Candidate…

    • 2
      0

      KAS
      If the campaign slogan of Sajith is going to be ” bring back Rajapaksa Yugayak’ God bless him. The poor guy has no idea what memories are there in store for those who had a young boy at home in 1989.

      Soma

      • 0
        0

        Rajapaksa yugayak? Did you take your pills , Soma ?

        • 1
          0

          Sorry Premadasa Yugayak.

          Soma

  • 6
    0

    The Culture of Corruption is too ingrained in SL Politics, to change in One Election.
    We do not have a Background of a Government ‘By the People, For the People’, but a Government of, Each Politician for Himself and His Family!
    We need a Benevolent Dictator like Lee Kwan Yew, to clear the Way for Sri Lanka to get back on Track!
    Sri Lanka, “Where every Prospect Pleases, and Only Man is Vile”

    • 0
      0

      Nationalist,
      Wasn’t JR the benevolent dictator everyone wanted ? Oh what a mess he left. We have such short memories. Only the Chinese or Korean cultures can produce benevolent dictators. Our culture produces gods with clay feet.

  • 7
    0

    Vishwamithra

    RE: Next Presidential Elections: Who Will Win In A Three-Cornered Fight?

    Q. How do do we know anybody elected will not go mad, as Sirisena did?

    Have a Plebiscite to abolish the Executive Presidency. The JR Ghost is still haunting the country

    • 1
      1

      Bumunusiri, Don’t judge others by your mad arse standards. Sirisena never went mad. He woke up to the conspiracy that exploited him. So bugger off to Belgium.

  • 7
    0

    Next Presidential Elections: Who Will Win In A Three-Cornered Fight? Well, I don’t know about the winner. But I can tell about the losers who have even beaten Ranil’s records for decades, “the people”.

    ” A brand new generation whose access to the Smartphone-technology and YouTube proximity, is thinking anew”

    If such a group really exists, we have a new “smallest minority” there, rest of the smart-phone devices are busy helping the not-so-smart in “sex” searches.

  • 4
    1

    Depends on Sinhala UNP two legged donkeys who do not have brain to understand how Unpatriotic National Party headed by reincarnated Don Juan Dharmapala is pushing this country down the drain.

  • 4
    3

    TNA consist of Vellala elites do not want Elam. They want a confederated country in which they have full control over land and Police to keep their land and oppress low caste people while enjoying the luxurious life in Colombo.
    ——————-
    Uncle Sam may be more interested in Elam so that they can have full control of Tirikunamale harbor and surrounding area to establish an Army Base Camp.
    ————————
    Naganada Kodituwakku who appeared in TV Derana 360 program told that this Government is going to make some amendments to an agreement signed during Rajapakse regime allowing US soldiers to walk in streets in their uniform carrying firearms. US soldier who commits a crime cannot be tried in this country. They are going to have a separate radio frequency that cannot be monitored by Sri Lankan Government.
    ——————-
    Cunning reincarnated Don Juan Dharmapala denies that this Government is signing an agreement with US. He is right. Not signing a new agreement but amending an existing one.
    ——————-
    An Investment Zone will be established in Tirikunamale where only anti-China mafia USA, Japan and India can invest.

  • 2
    2

    The winner of the Presidential election needs to garner 50%+ of the votes cast (a fact that has been not mentioned in the article). If there is a three way or four way contest many people think about the country and nation seriously and vote for the Pohottuwa. That’s why I think, at the end, many would opt for the Pohottuwa candidate.
    We can test this at the next provincial elections due before the presidential election.
    In the meantime, people see a lot of issues with regard to the UNP’s possible candidates. What comes to my mind is this:
    Sajith’s educational qualifications are highly questionable and Social media users raised many a question about the fact that he never earned an overseas or local degree. RanilW has no mass appealing except for his close party members and his royal circle. Karu and Navin have lost the faith of the UNP top membership due to many reasons.
    However, the Pohottuwa candidate will have the blessings of Mahinda Rajapaksa that carries at least 40 million votes with no question asked. Maithri will try to convince Mahinda to support him but Maithri’s main obstacle is his own proclamation at the last Presidential election that he would not contest again!
    If Maithri wants to survive as an honorable politician, he has to support MR’s word. As a result, the Pohottuwa candidate will be the ultimate winner!
    Can UNP change this situation to win the election???? Highly unlikely unless it quickly introduces drastic changes to the party agenda. It needs to change its approach to burning issues of the poor masses. However, it’ll be an uphill battle for the UNP under the current circumstances. For example, for the last 2 and a half months the UNP has been trying to increase the number of cabinet posts; the party hierarchy doesn’t understand how unpopular move it is.

  • 0
    0

    Vishvamithra,
    Please don’t waste your time writing hypothetical analysis.
    RW is a deep thinker and no one in the World can fathom the direction of his thoughts.
    RW is in minority Government and at the next Presidential elections, he would like to have a victory and perhaps, a second term.
    SP can kiss goodbye to the UNP; he would be better off as a back bencher in SLPP.
    These people who go for the Presidency are concerned about only one thing and that is LEGACY.
    That is where RW’s thoughts are heading; so, Vishvamithra, unless someone is paying for your stupidity, shut your computer and go for a long, long holiday.

  • 3
    4

    You shit Sumenaderksre, let it be Sajith or Ranil, grand United National Alliance condidate would win. Next any one from MR’s side. Sirisena’s day dreaming is gone for good, and gone in the winds. Definitely all are waiting to teach him – shameless Sirisena- lot of bitter lessons for all the terrible things he did to country and the people.

  • 2
    0

    when Chamika Ranawaka states transport he is not talking about improving current buses and trains. He wants to introduce mono rail where there’s big money in waiting. We don’t want mono rail we want buses and train so they are not crowded all the time

  • 4
    0

    I think if Madush comes forward he will easily win owing to his business acumen and the urge to make the country happy and prosperous and plenty.

  • 4
    0

    who ever wins there is definitely one loser…..
    The People

  • 2
    0

    Vishwamithra uses words, words and words to conclude “The three-cornered fight will be among Maithripala Sirisena, Pohottuwa candidate (possibly a Rajapaksa) and the UNP nominee”.
    .
    LayLankans knew this all along. Our politics has created super elites who keep the GoSL in their hands. The elites thrive on corruption/nepotism/impunity. They are nonchalantly watching us layLankans about to sleepwalk into Failed-State-Gully.
    They are bad and we lament having to choose one of them.
    .
    MS has this rare quality of accepting mistakes. A coalition government is about the best in the present context. He has not grasped this.
    The leaks from PCoI on SriLankan Airlines, show the attitude of MR team. The Pohottuwa SLPP is hell bent on resurrecting the language/religion-divide.
    The UNP is the better bad.
    PS: There might be a three-cornered fight at the start but is bound end up to be between two.
    .
    RW has shown a grit and determination of the ilk of Theresa May (on Brexit) and Corbyn (Labour leadership).
    A ‘UNP nominee’ other than RW will be unfortunate.
    PS: We are choosing a better bad.

  • 2
    0

    nathan
    if madush contests dayasiri will fall ill again

  • 4
    6

    Our national hero Gotabaya will win. It is obvious isn’t it?

  • 0
    0

    4 corner fight is possible
    1. MR gang
    2. MS
    3. RW
    4. SP
    But after 1st round 2 will go for final battle.

  • 0
    0

    It is an open secret this time people will vote to JVP if they contest this election ..
    They will do it as a protest vote to teach a lesson to all.
    This secret is viral now .
    People want to teach all a lesson .

  • 1
    0

    @LankanLanka 9
    “This secret is viral now .” If its viral as you say, then how come it is a secret?
    We should not elect anyone who has been in parliament at all. We need to elect an intellectual like a scientist or academic like Dr. Rohan Pallewatta or NaganandaK or some other. Time to elect someone from our minorities too. Those who are disciplined, can think critically and act with exceptional leadership qualities is who we need. Sira, Mara Mulsara’s need to be sent to the political graveyard. We have had enough of political sakkiliay’s and their murderous coolies like GOTLER! They all deserve to be laid in a mass grave.

  • 2
    0

    Visamithra, the side kick of Chandrika B.

    There will only be a fight between two camps; MS vs Common candidate fielded by Ranil. Dream on fellow for a three way fight.

  • 0
    0

    Five hundred thousand votes is all we need. The 17% swing voters will swing away from MS towards RW and…

    That’s democracy for you, we know what’s best but rest of the country does not.

    Interesting

    I don’t plan to vote.

  • 1
    0

    The border fencing definitely pre-dates Trump’s promise to build “a big beautiful concrete wall that MEXICO WILL PAY FOR”. In 2006 Obama also supported increased border fencing. So did Hillary. The issue here is the infeasibility of a wall along the entire 2,000 mile odd border and some of the terrain including the rugged terrain of BigBend National park. I have been there. It is mind boggling. So people have said a wall like what Trump claimed “MEXICO WILL PAY FOR” is infeasible. Democrats will lose the argument if they keep saying no wall; but they are not; increased use of technology including Drones, and sensors plus additional CBP officials and better equipment will do a more cost effective job. Trump even said Mexico will make a downpayment of 5 to 10 billion.. So Sri Lankans should realize there are dumb voters in the US too who believe the bull excrement. Mexico did not and will not pay. That is where Trump got into trouble with funding issues. He kept saying “Mexico will pay for the wall” and people believed it. Republicans on this forum will be quick to defend him but that was a lie and he knew it was a lie. Does not matter; more he lies, more his fans adore him and love him. This is a feature of strongmen with dictatorial tendencies around the world. His relentless attacks are taking a toll on the very nature of democracy here. Even students are divided and become more racists these days. Trump will probably win in 2020 because all he needs to do is instill fear into the people and repeat and repeat lies with help from Foxnews. No one is arguing against fencing. He wants a 2,000 mile wall and said Mexico will pay for it. Obama supported increased border security in 2006 and was very clear about it. Anyone for open borders will lose elections and it is a lie to say Democrats want open borders. It is the Libertarians who want open borders on economic arguments for labour for the low end jobs that no American wants to do.

    In Sri Lanka, that is why there are illegal immigrants from India again in significant numbers. Illegal Pakistanis running street restaurants. Indians in so many places are a feature of labour shortages. Massive construction boom in Sri Lanka needs skilled and semi skilled Indian and Chinese illegal and legal immigrants now. So there are problems there too.

  • 0
    1

    The biggest mistake US did was to let go the two Rajapakse brothers who are our citizens

  • 1
    1

    As per last local government election results I think candidate is filed by Podujana peramuna or Pohottuwa will have better chance. if this candidate is GOTA he may score more than 55% of valid votes. I wish him good luck & better future for Lanka.

  • 0
    0

    It is none other than Gotabaya Rajapakse from Pohottuwa/Viyathmaga/Eliya will be the next President of Sri Lanka in 2019 Presidential ELECTIONS.

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