1 December, 2020

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Opposition Wanted !

By Ranga Kalansooriya

Dr Ranga Kalansooriya

Dr Ranga Kalansooriya

I was watching a political ‘debate’ on a private TV channel last night, but got entirely confused and frightened. What was used to be a heated debate earlier has turned out to be a non-debate, where all participants were taking a common stand having a free ride. Will this happen in Parliament also?

I strongly felt that the program was missing something – what was it? An opposition. Where are the counter arguments? Who maintain checks and balances? Who play the watchdog role?

But isn’t it the reality of the day? Where is the opposition? Or who is the opposition? And what are the guarantees to ensure that this phenomenon will not transpire in Parliament when it convenes next week?

The entire electioneering process focused on one cardinal slogan – democracy and good governance, which require a strong functioning opposition who keep checks and balances on the government. All political theories envisage the need of a healthy opposition for a strong democracy. In fact one could comfortably argue the fact that the previous regime played so called havoc due to the absence of a strong opposition. The UPFA had a comfortable playing field with a two thirds majority and a weak opposition for the past five years. Only a few fire-brands like Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Sujeewa Senasinghe, Harin Fernando and even Ranjan Ramanayaka were left on the floor. Dayasiri Jayasekera was bought over and it was a major blow to the opposition.

But my confusion is mainly about the role of opposition in the current political landscape. The usual practice is the loosing team sits on the opposition but who is the looser here? For my own reading as of today the only looser is Rajapaksa clan, but not the UPFA or SLFP to that matter. Of course it was a race between two candidates – Mahinda and Maithri and Maithri won. Then the Mahinda camp should play the role of opposition. Even with the post-polls individual cross overs which would provide the new Prime Minister with necessary numbers, there should be a visible opposition that should provide the balance of power within the House.

Maithri oaths 2015But the current political trend suggest otherwise. President Maithripala Sirisena has won another battle of gaining the control of SLFP. Though vowed to fight back just after the defeat, Mahinda Rajapaksa has accepted the reality and decided to step down. Thus, SLFP President and UNP Prime Minister. [We had a similar situation in 2001 but in a different context where then Ranil and Chandrika were arch rivals]. According to some internal sources SLFP may also contest under the Swan symbol at the forthcoming general elections. If this is true, there will be another battle for nominations between the two major political forces and it will be more fierce if it is going to be under new electoral system. Be that as it may, my worry is the way of securing a strong opposition even during this 100-day period and also in the next parliament.

One could argue on the validity of an opposition when there is going to be a national government as it had been envisioned in the Maithri manifesto. But please do not forget the fact that national government does not mean a one-party [or one coalition] rule which undermines the basics of democracy in which an opposition is a must.

The old Communist and Sama Samaja Party stalwarts have already voiced their opposition against any UNP-led government. But would these Dinosaurs form a strong opposition within and outside the House?

The obvious choice would be the JVP. They had a strategic stand during the campaign process where it never openly requested whom to vote, but stood strongly against Rajapaksa. Also JVP, particularly its current leader Anura Kumara Dissanayaka has managed to regain its lost glory and win the trust of many of its listeners. Of course, it is an undoubted fact that JVP was a leading force in defeating Rajapaksa. People would not vote for the JVP in millions but millions would listen to them before voting to others. Thus their voice does matter and its political machinery at grass root level is still effective albeit the defection of Gunaratnam group which was exposed as a Rajapaksa mouth-piece during the last presidential polls. JVP had a challenge from Sarath Fonseka camp of becoming a third largest political force in the country, but I do not think that factor valid anymore.

In a peculiar scenario where the two major political forces coming together and others like Hela Urumaya and Sarath Fonseka, too, joining the same platform, the non-corrupt JVP would have a better opportunity of leading the opposition camp. With Anura’s leadership, to my mind, they would do a better job in keeping checks and balances provided they receive sufficient numbers in the next Parliament. But it should have good bargaining deal with TNA for the post of Opposition Leader for which Anura Kumara would be the ideal candidate. Too much of hypothesis?

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Latest comments

  • 4
    10

    This coalition won’t last long. once it breaks up we will have one.

    • 2
      0

      The coalition will last till the next general election. After the GE a decision will be taken re a national government. Too soon to predict anything. Ever citizden of this country have been affected by the previous corrupt regime.
      Hope the new consitution makers would give a though to the maxumum age limit for MPs/Ministers 70 or 75 not a day more and thereafter they should not be made senior advisors. An acceptable minimum educational qualification. No nominations i.f no assets declared before nominations We will wait and see.

      • 0
        0

        How about knowing what MR and 18 others declared in sealed envelopes first as required for PE? The EC was told that it is secret and therefore sealed!

        Even without RTI will at least the two main candidates disclose
        without futher ado?

  • 19
    6

    The call of the hour for the 100 days is not opposition but unity.
    Let’s unite and abolish the EP
    Let’s unite to embrace the minority
    Let’s unite to demilitarise the country not just the NE
    Let’s unite to eradicate corruption
    Let’s unite to punish those who plundered the country”s wealth in to private wealth
    Etc etc

    • 4
      6

      Rajash,

      “Let’s unite and abolish the EP”

      If that is the case, abolish All the Provinces, a hangover from the British.

      Make then into Counties.

      So,

      The call of the hour for the 100 days is not opposition but unity.

      Let’s unite and abolish All The 9 Provinces introduced by the British for administrative convenience, and have the Work dine using Provincial officers, like Bank Branch Offices.

      Let’s unite to embrace the minority

      Let’s unite to demilitarise the country not just the NE

      Let’s unite to eradicate corruption

      Let’s unite to punish those who plundered the country”s wealth in to private wealth Etc etc

      • 2
        3

        Amarasiri: “If that is the case, abolish All the Provinces, a hangover from the British”

        We’ll if you insist I think we need to go beyond the British colonial time.
        Beyond the 2600 years of Sinhala civilisation ….to the Tamil civilisation
        Apparently the only language that was spoken on this planet was Tamil
        Google it and you will find out .
        So let’s not go there

        • 0
          0

          Sorry this is Rajash

        • 0
          0

          Oops this posting is by Rajash

      • 0
        2

        Amarasiri: “If that is the case, abolish All the Provinces, a hangover from the British”

        We’ll if you insist I think we need to go beyond the British colonial time.
        Beyond the 2600 years of Sinhala civilisation ….to the Tamil civilisation
        Apparently the only language that was spoken on this planet was Tamil.
        http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WRghF1pQccA
        So let’s not go there

        • 0
          0

          Hello this posting is by Rajash

      • 0
        0

        The idea of “cunties” coming from the Galagedara khunt is a very good idea.

        Every cunti with a river flowing in the middle with settlements around them, with room for a mining shaft at the lower end should form a viable administrative unit for a happy and prosperous Sri Lanka.

        Bravo Gallagedara khunt!

  • 5
    0

    You are absolutely right Ranga! We need a vibrant opposition to keep the checks and balances and not have another fiasco with one side having all the power!

  • 6
    3

    Last 10 years, there was no Opposition leader in SL Gov. Until AKD become JVP leader and made himself the only opposition voice, we too forgot about responsibilities of Opp Leader. Anyway, I believe new Information Age with the help of AKD, Sobitha and refined JHU Rathana would become true Opposition leader in the future.

  • 8
    1

    THE JVP HAS NOW BECOME A MATURED, PRINCIPLED AND DISCIPLINED PARTY. THE PEOPLE SHOULD GIVE IT THE OPPORTUNITY OF PLAYING A MORE EFFECTIVE RULE IN SHAPING THE FUTURE OF THE COUNTRY.

  • 5
    8

    Rajapaksa wouldn’t give in to the West and divide the country.

    That was the main issue , since May 2009.

    Western Embassies’ relentless campaign, with the support of the UNP, TNA, and the anti Rajapaksas, elements, Fonseka, CBK, and the Anglican Church,finally managed to cajole, induce and conscript SLFP Sirisena to “fix” Rajapaksa.

    But can they carry through their second Agenda to “fix” the SLFP and get the ELITE, Anglican and the Vellala Party, UNP in to Power?.

    Sirisena the Prez is now the President of the SLFP after doing a deal with Rajapaksa.

    That is because, 75 % of the Sinhala inhabitants did not want Sirisena as their President.

    That means, Sirisna would have been the most impotent President,after the next Election, because the ELITE,the Anglicans and the Vellalas would have voted for the UNP.

    TNA scooping up the non Vellalas,and the Bathudeen, Sally and Hakeems’Islamist front, collection the Muslim vote lock, stock and barrel, it would have been a formidable UNP , TNA, Islamist Government for them.

    Thus enabling Ranil the UNP Christian Faction Leader to be the PM with the Viagra.

    But that would have created the most formidable Opposition as well. with the votes of the 75 % Sinhala Inhabitant population.

    • 3
      2

      K.A Sumanasekera

      “Rajapaksa wouldn’t give in to the West and divide the country.”

      The West and Hindia are interested in stability hence they let MR and his armed forces to commit war crimes and then protected MR at the UNHRC.

      It was not Dayan who won the day.

      Are you a racist or a stupid?

      • 1
        0

        Which part of the jungle you live native?

        • 0
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          NAK

          “Which part of the jungle you live native?”

          Deep, deep deep in the jungle where stupid don’t live. I avoid people like you.

      • 0
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        An alien sort of a third kind.

        • 0
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          Supannana

          “An alien sort of a third kind.”

          Unlike you, NAK and others. You could say an intelligent design.

    • 0
      0

      If you get a company, there are 5~10% of employees who pushed the company forward, whike there are another 10~15% employees drag the company down hard. A country is the same. sumanasekara type guys at the bottom of 10% who drag the country backwards.

    • 0
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      Sumaney, Let’s see your calculation and verifications that substantiate your glib statement, “… 75 % of the Sinhala inhabitants did not want Sirisena as their President”.

  • 5
    0

    Ranga,

    Good point. But let us wait till the 100 day program is over(if it does happen).

    ADK is now a member of this newly formed advisory council. I think he can do much more in this role to steer Maithri to keep to the 100 day program. By 100 days the ship jumpers would have done their pathetic ship jumping and a division will appear along marked lines. At the moment the musical chair game is at its worst and we are none the wiser as to who belongs to which group.

    After the so called general elections to a new democratic parliament an opposition will appear along clearly marked lines. Let the games really begin then.

    At the moment the rogues that lost the elections are licking their wounds and are plotting mischief. These shameless rogues will by and by make their appearance if no action is taken against the massive fraud and other crimes they committed.

    • 0
      0

      If there is a “Opposition” during the 100 Day Program, then it will never see the light of day! The General Election in April 2015 will give the Government a vibrant Opposition, probably with the firebrands JHU, JVP and either UNP or SLFP.

    • 0
      0

      Agree with Ranga. The General Election is not about President Sirisena. He cannot take sides neither can he campaign for SLFP. SLFP/UPFA will have to fight their own battle, and having dropped all their corrupt/racists/vulgar collegues at nomination time – may still have a chance of getting a majority in parliament. This time it will be an exciting election with no State terrorism and thuggery. It will be an equal fight with all parties and individuals fighting for their survival.

  • 4
    2

    KAS”Rajapaksa wouldn’t give in to the West and divide the country.”
    KAS please try some other line. This is not going to work any more.
    The new govt have lifted the ban on foreigners travelling to NE as there was no security threat in the first place
    The scare mongering did not work, when are you going to learn

  • 5
    2

    Ranga
    I agree with Rajash. Having the previous model of governing system is like having a stinking water tank in the middle of a village, that the citizenery themselves have contributed to become so, which was poisoning the whole villagers, cattle, farmlands, etc. by way of distribution system. In short, the livelihood of the village thereby prohibiting its survival. So everyone has to get in to clean irrespective of their status. Remember the Tamil story of Chemmana Chelvi. Once it has been cleaned and become a life saver then decision will be made to allocate the water supply according to the needs of the population with interest groups clamouring for its share. But there should not be any compromise in allocating water for drinking, farmlands and the other fundamental essentials. At that stage if one prominent group deprive the smaller group from access for these essentials what can it be called? Would it be not that their labour being used for a common good and then marginalised from benefiting the fruits of the labour.
    The writer has conveniently forgotten to mention TNA, that opposed the 18th amendment, the impeachment of the Chief Justice and on many other governance issues presenting logical reasoning based on principles however feeble its voice was and often under ridicule and jeers. Please honour its contribution for the survival of democracy in SriLanka. Even in the last election, when it was faced with the prospect of “Doomed if we do; doomed if we don’t” TNA supported Sarath Fonseka who was instrumental in the massacre of the 70,000 civilians according to UN estimates – a world body in which SriLanka itself is a member, with the hope of bringing back a corruption free SriLanka. Tamils were doomed as usual prompting the master-mind Dayan Jeyatjlake to quip “When will they learn?”
    It is going to be boring debates after debates as the majority acted only when they felt if this opportunity was not used SriLanka as a whole was going to be doomed forever, not only by a family dictatorship but also by the impending international inquiry on war crimes. The expose would be detrimental for the majority well being. So, this family has to go! No debating there.

    But I have one question. The number of Tamil deaths in 2009 was staggering. The people unaccounted for is a major worry in many house holds. The plight of the widowed and the mothers is disheartening. Isn’t it time true to his name the current President come forward, acknowledge all what happened in the post independent years and promise a way forward as equal citizens of Sri Lanka or EElam(Tamil name) for that matter with no opposition either from within (mind) or from outside and step down as a Statesman in the “Land like No Other”. Hope the yearning of Tamils will be fulfilled and we can come home with our head held high as equals.

  • 6
    0

    Rajapaksa should have been leader of the opposition (SLFP). With Sirisena and Ranil leaders of the ruling party NDF, Ranil should be allowed to do his job as PM and cure all the challenges and intricacies related to Sri Lanka’s commercial undertakings, and in compliance with Democracy. Rajapaksa as opposition would have put in all the checks and balances of selling too much to the West, and also curbing any sneaky and undesirable tendencies of taking the easy road towards the much detrimental Federalism.

    • 0
      2

      RTF,
      How can Rakapakse prevent too much being sold to the West?
      He has already sold it all to China!

      • 0
        0

        Don’t you know general politics. Nowadays, even a brat know China is the backyard of USA.

        • 1
          0

          Baptist Batinjan,
          Oh….then it’s ok….the port deal with China. Sirisena has already shown interest.

      • 2
        0

        US will come in and pay off all loans to China. Then they will proceed to convert the Island to a whole heap of corporate offices (paddy-lands and all). After which will be given the dreaded Federalism.

    • 0
      1

      Ramona, R u serious in what you say? I will never trust Rajapakse ever again.

      • 2
        0

        Humbug,
        Trust them! N&E is already asking to coalesce with Chennai. What better way to get them to coalesce with the South than with Rajapaksa.

    • 1
      1

      Perhaps what’s left over from all that’s been sold to China?
      It will surely be interesting to see how someone who could not control his family and henchmen and was totally out of control himself, attempts to control others!

      • 3
        0

        K. C. John,
        Oh, US will pay of loans to China soon enough, and take the “string of pearls” and cast it before swine. After Sri Lanka is a heap of corporate offices (ancient paddy lands and all), for the glory of the US constitution, Sri Lanka will weep for the family who retained our unique identity. But with Rajapaksa’s yet in control (albeit a leashed control), we will have a nice balance between east and west.

        ps. Rajapakse was very much in control of his family and henchmen. He need time to make it official like the way the US made all their things look “Constitutional.”

  • 0
    0

    I agree, we have no official opposition.

    The responsibility has fallen on the TNA and the JVP, of which TNA holds 14 seats and the JVP 7. Hence, the TNA leader will be the leader of the opposition or a rotating leadership with the JVP.
    These two parties can hold the Govt’s feet to the fire.

  • 0
    0

    I’ll take you on the last para. If it comes to a contest for Leader of the Opposition between the TNA and AKD’s JVP, my guestimate is the TNA, with the larger number of MPs, will prevail. We will then have a situation as in the 1977 Parliament when the TULF leader became the Opposition leader. The Sinhala electorate reacted barbarously then as
    UNP and SLFP goons got together and killed, robbed, dehoused innocent Tamil civilians all over the island – though less in the NEP. The LTTE capitalised on this carnage and built up their organisation to challenge the Govt’s armed forces for nearly 30 years.

    I will concede Sinhala thinking is somewhat slightly different now. They know India and the world will not allow the smaller Tamil Nation to be physically harmed anymore. Besides, men in robes like Maduluweve Sobitha Thera and others now accept the Tamil issue should be reviewed in perspective – meaning they should be sufficiently and justly accommodated. This attitude, together with the Tamil Nation announcing it is no longer for Separation, is refreshingly welcome.

    To put it briefly, the coming months will offer greater space for both the Sinhala and Tamil Nation to work out a workable system where both can live, work and march towards progress and reconciliation. This will help all those communities who have a right to claim this Islandas their home to live in peace and harmony. Instead of insisting since the Sinhala are the majority they only must prevail and Tamils and others must accept a more subservient role. The inimitable Dr. Colvin R. de Silva put it best, when, in the same subject he said “just because the Sinhalese are 7/10th of the country can they say they must eat 7 plates of rice and the others a plate each”?

    Kettikaran

  • 1
    0

    Yes Ramona Therese………..

    One must set a thief to catch thief.

  • 1
    1

    The writer and the KA Sumanasekara type who comments are self proclaimed Pundits, who believed that Ranil Wickremasinghe can never topple MR. They tried to project RW as a weakling and not aggressive enough to lead protests to topple MR. Ranil did not want to ascend power over blood shed sacrificing innocent people. He laid his strategy to overthrow Corrupt/Murderous MR in a swift manner without blood shed. Now suddenly these great Democrats have woken up and are demanding for a strong Opposition claiming it is required for a functional Democracy. All this while these writers did not have the guts like Tissaranee Gunasekara, Emil Vanderpooten, Fazl Mohomad and others to write about the villainy committed by MR. Only now these buggers are trying to become Cardboard Sandos. JUST GET LOST!

    What is needed right now is Good Governance and Accountability. Eschew the culture of confrontational Politics. Prevent the scum, the riffraff in society from entering Politics by maintaining certain standards and qualifications to become MPs. RW has embarked on that journey and his critics are unable to stomach it.

    • 1
      0

      You are mistaken in the belief that RW toppled MR. Nothing could be further from the truth. The result as seen TODAY is that an internal coup within the SLFP replaced MR with M3S. RW may play PM for the time being, but the same rogues who were ministers in the OLD regime are in the NEW one alongside a few UNP’ers and the same corrupt utterly untrustworthy SLMC faces. What an achievement !

      • 0
        0

        Do you seriously believe that if the UNP vote base did not support MS, that he would have won? The bulk of the votes, MS received was from the UNP.

  • 2
    0

    You must be having masochistic tendencies probably most Sri Lankans are for having to listen to this kind of indecent baggering by the MR’s people for so long. This week for the first time when I see a political program I see a civil discussion, four people are arguing or discussing pressing issues like grown ups. Not like street thugs or hooligans. It was such a bad sight to see and bad influence to the kids if they were watching. There were many times I was compelled to phone and ask each one their highest level of education then to see, we can see that based on their behaviou. Having a sound argument from an opposition is something. But having rowdies to suppress ideas, to show power is something. NO I didn’t miss Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Jonny(who has no empathy for a person who lost his leg even), Ethanol Arundika, or painful Bandula Gunawardhana, or clueless Rambukwela, uncivilized ear biter Dayasiri or . They were confusing and misleading the nation. JVP is there for checks and balances. Most of all MR’s minister mafia was pain to watch and I really don’t miss them. We are with a view that some issues have two sides, when it comes to Just society, civil liberties there are no two right answers, there is only one truth when it comes to installing rule of law, media freedowm, stopping corruption, demanding democratic society, and that shouldn’t have a opposition view. If someone tries to that is spinning. Besides if you mean lacking MR factions participation they have been invited like they always do they have declined to participate.

  • 2
    0

    No doubt Anura Kumara’s honest thought of society at heart would be the best choice needed for checks and balances of the current ruling regime if
    Sri Lanka is to go towards the right direction.

    • 0
      0

      Check and Balance? The man runaway did it without a choice. The Almighty Kabraal the impotent.

  • 0
    0

    I will be wary of all those Rajapaksha henchmen that crossed over after the Presidential Election. Each one of them could be a mole, reporting and planning with MR how to undermine and destroy MS’ strategy and plans for the General Election. In my opinion MR is manipulating from outside using moles within. Of course jumping frogs for financial reasons is the best cover, because it is generally widely believed and accepted by the public.

    • 0
      0

      Many would agree with you – but do we have a better choice if almost everyone of them are evils. MS or any others have to search for lesser evils while electing to new minsitries. Did you listen to this week s “Balaya” political dicussions. Soysa the man who was a die heart supporter of Rajapakshes confessed that Shashindra Rajaapkshe is the key cause to triggle the downfall of Rajapakshe politics.

  • 1
    0

    The opposition is the pro-lanka, pro-nationalist camp which is been systematically blocked from media and threatened and intimidated.

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