20 October, 2017

Political Interpretation Of PC Elections

By Shyamon Jayasinghe –

Shyamon Jayasinghe

Election Results.’ Analysts’-if they can seriously be called so -argue from a particular vantage point of their personal bias.

Sri Lanka’s famed ‘political analyst,’ Dr Dayan Jayatilleka, has given the following  assessment:

“The biggest losers are the UNP and its leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, as well as the JVP. In both cases, the issue is the leadership. Neither party has a personality as a national leader, who is capable of retaining, let alone attracting, votes.

The matter is more serious with the UNP because it is the main democratic alternative. The UNP used to be the largest single party in the country. Even when it lost power in 1994 after 17 years in power, and its candidate was the newly widowed Mrs Srima Dissanayake, who faced a formidable opponent in Mrs Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the UNP succeeded in scoring 43% of the voter base. Today, after 19 years of UPFA rule, the UNP can score only in the mid 20% range. What used to be the base vote of the UNP, namely 40%, is now the size of the gap between the UNP and the government!

There are around one and a half times as many ex-UNPers in the government as those remaining with the UNP in the opposition.

If the UNP were to face a Presidential Election with its present leadership, it will score even less than the 26% average it scored in the two provinces in this election.”

Dayan ends up proposing Karu and Sajith to replace RW.

Aren’t these all armchair analyses, as pointed out by someone in CT columns? Unfortunately, Sri Lanka is poor for information. Even statistics available are not laid out usefully. What is the percentage of voter absenteeism, for instance? Where is the comparison between past PC election voter performances and the recent one? Sri Lanka also badly lacks Opinion Polls like,for instance Australia has during election time and even after.

Thus we have people like Dayan Jayatilleka giving us their two dollars’ worth. Does Dayan realize he has compared apples and oranges in the stats he furnishes in the second of the above paras? He mixes up General Election Results with PCC results in order to position the reader to accept his persuasion. This is bad form for someone of his stature. It is unbelieveable. Even common Sri Lankans know that a different dynamic works in the two types of elections. PC elections are like the former local government elections where the ruling government partyalways trounce oppositions. This has indeed invariably been the case in Sri Lanka. The party leader is never the focus of electorate attention at PC elections. Personal and local interest of voters take priority. The entire PC election is a bit of a joke for many-as, surely, it must be since electors are electing toothless Tigers.

Dayan’s suggestion of Karu or Sajith to replace RW is equally an arbitrary one that does violence to fact and is belonging more to fiction. Karu is the guy who brought down the fall of the UNP from which it never  has been able to get up. Karu crossed over with 17 UNPers who now form the formidable component of Rajapakse’s government. At the time of cross-over, MR hadn’t the majority to elect a Speaker. Karu  subsequently returned to the UNP with RW’s help because MR didn’t treat him with respect. The issue over the appointment of Grama Sevekas was the final breaking point after a series of incidents. By the time of Karu’s return the damage had been completed. Besides, Karu failed to bring back any of the others who had marched out with him; not even his own son-in-law. All that the defectors wanted was someone who could lend them status and Karu Jayasuriya fell inot the trap. It was amazing how a year after that Karu tried to compete with RW for leadership.

It was the great cross-over that made greatness out of Rajapakse. MR took it in his tide and turned the new situation to his advantage. He is now the Lord and Master of Sri Lanka having brought in the 18th Amendment.

I have known Karu Jayasuriya closely as a gentleman of honour and a most genial personality. Thus the above incident confused me so overwhelmingly. How in the flick of a moment a person could make a fatal blunder! What Karu should have done was to apologise to the party. He didn’t do that but instead talks with self-belief, which is not good. In this way Karu lost the backing of the party rank and file. When he hasn’t membership acceptance how can Karu receive country-wide support? In terms of political strategy, Karu’s past would hang over him at a Presidential Election as his opposition will have arsenal against him.

Karu Jayasuriya lost the test at the last General Elections when he was beaten by Paba!  A man with enormous stature loses to a silly telestar! I genuinely am sorry for Karu and shall be proud to see him rise again. However, he has to think of a better strategy.

As for Dayan’s second option, Sajith, the least said the better. This guy has not shown any intellectual capacity for years. He hasn’t the stature that Karu possesses and is not a patch of his father. His only worth is that he is the son of Premadasa. In fact Sajith makes wrong speeches all the time and I wouldn’t trust the party to him.

Ranil does fail against the populist jingoism that Rajapakse and his cohorts keep practicing. However, one has to realize that changing circumstances can change leadership appeal.If the UNP needs a better leader it will have to look at importing one in the brilliant way that the TNA did. Why not?

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    When RW + was PM he contributed in no small measure to being recognized as toxic in voter mind,the MR media just added icing.
    Even in early CBK times he was gradually making himself a joke (which orifice? and so many)

    If he wanted back in 2010 he could have done what you suggested,resigned and handed leadership to Fonseka or anyone…he didn’t do it then and wont now as he hears inner voices telling him the voter loves him !

    A reality check maybe if RW contests as a CM ?

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      Shyamon Jayasinghe says,

      “..If the UNP needs a better leader it will have to look at importing one..”

      Very true.

      Yes I myself would do better than UNP’s present leadership & it’s mad cohorts & bring UNP to power in 02 years, going by the colossal mistakes this govt. does in economic matters.

      I’m serious & just call me tp do the honors.

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      “A reality check maybe if RW contests as a CM ?”

      Still RW will lose. None of the PC want him as CM, Period. Why should they?

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    Apples and oranges? Ranil has distinguished himself by losing every type of election possible, at all levels of the political system. He lost the Presidential election of 1999 against Chandrika. He lost the parliamentary election held soon after. he won a parliamentary election in 2002 and lost power in 2004, following it up by losing the parliamentary election held soon after. He then lost the Presidential election of 2005. And the parliamentary and provincial council elections held since. The UNP’s performance under his leadership has gone into a corkscrewing decline since 2005.

    Karu J is untainted by the charge of being on the wrong side of the war. He can cut into the Sinhala Buddhist vote and talk to the TNA leaders as well.

    As for Sajith’s intelligence, I daresay anyone who is the product of a British public school and the LSE and has interned with US Senator Phil Gramm, has something upstairs. He has also faced the Rajapaksa machine up close and personal in the Rajapaksa Raj itself, the Deep South and survived electorally. While he may not be up to his father’s standards, he is bound to inherit most of the vote bases that his father built through his wonderful programs of development with equity.

    He also has personal appeal. TV audiences in Sri Lanka saw how he was greeted at the funeral houses in Weliweriya where families in mourning held his face.

    Circumstances may change the appeal of leaders, but the shift will be within certain parameters i.e. to a smarter or more liberal patriot. A country in which 75% are Sinhala, feels challenged by the hostility of Tamil Nadu and the Diaspora, and has almost a million voters drawn from armed forces families, isn’t going to vote for the architect of the CFA and the arrest of Military Intelligence operatives at Athurugiriya.

    Wigneswaran isn’t an imported leader. He is not the leader of the TNA. Sampanthan is. Apples and oranges anyone?

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      DJ, for some unknown reason to the public, seems to be very much obliged to the Premadasas and Maru Sira. Here he volunteers to come
      to the defence of the lacklustre Sajith – testifying to Sajith’s high
      UK qualifications. A brief chat with the latter and you get an idea
      of the man’s educational and intellectual depth. He is more suited to
      hijack the mike at the Hilton foyer to give expression to his suspect
      singing talents – to the annoyance of many guests, me included. That is the quality of politician who tells the UNP’ers in the country to hand over the party’s reins to him. The country has had enough of
      RP, Hema and that family notorious for the collection of paintings and
      rare furniture in Temple Trees. Ranil, Karu and Sajith are now has-beens. The UNP has to subject itself to a new and dynamic reincarnation. Rajapakses will rule at least for the next decade unless something unforeseen intervenes in the interim.

      RJdeS

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    I agree with Mr. SJ. Karu or Sajith replacing Ranil would be like proverbial changing of pillow to get relief from a headache. Now the UNPers of Matara District have “resolved unanimously” to nominate Sajith as the UNP’s Chief Ministerial candidate for the forthcoming elections for Southern Provincial Council. Working Committee of the UNP is also considering appointing RW, KJ and SP as campaign leaders for Western, Uva and Southern Provinces. Strategy is very clear. Paint KJ and SP as failures if the vote base of UNP in Uva and Southern Provinces erodes to 20%.

    What the LTTE did to emerging leaders of political parties in the South to create a void in the national political leadership, the UNP is following to the very letter to suppress its own party members. The difference is that it is not done with bullet. It is also not done with the ballot of party members but with the ballot of the members of the Working Committee who are not elected but nominated by the Party Leader. Whatever said and done, RW is good at securing his party position “unanimously” but sadly not at winning an election outside the party.

    Slogans of 70s such as one or two measures of rice or 8-pounds of cereals or Rs. 2,500.00 to unemployed will not work anymore. The whole UPFA government is overshadowed by Mahinda Chinthanaya. It is the guide book for decision making at all levels of governance where UPFA reins. I do not see any problem in that as long as there is flexibility to change to suit the circumstances, particularly at provincial and local levels.

    Mahinda Chinthanaya is neither an SLFP nor an UPFA manifesto. It is a personalized manifesto meant for a Presidential Election. Whatever it may be, it is extensive in coverage. That helped those who campaigned for Prez MR to preach even without understanding what is in it. All other member parties of UPFA had no room to place on table their two cents worth opinion to negotiate a UPFA Manifesto at least for parliamentary and provincial elections. By accepting the membership of the UPFA they have merely surrendered their independence and party policies and have opted to survive in the shadow of a personalized manifesto meant for a Presidential Election. There is no room for national leaders to emerge because all such politicians in the alliance have nothing else to do but to praise the personalized manifesto in implementing national, regional and local programs or projects.

    It will take another century for the UNP to prepare a manifesto with a “united national appeal” or a personalized but broad based manifesto like Mahinda Chinthanaya. It is simply because RW does not have an image of an emerging national leader anymore and the UNP has lost its national image. International bent and over-reliance of West of RW and his confidantes will not help winning elections at national, regional and local levels. Whether he accepts or not people are being brain washed by racists and “religious” fanatics. Capitalist and socialist labels are also useless now because people cannot see the difference between the two due to so called socialist leaders abandoning socialism the moment they join alliances to enjoy power.

    Let us hope that at least at next local council elections, which will be conducted at ward level on first past the post basis, there will be some change and members who understand problems of their localities would be elected. Personalized “national manifestos” cannot be expected to influence the elections at ward level if rational thinking still prevails at local level.

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    Oh I forgot. Quite apart from the dimension of serial and deepening DEFEATS are the unprecedented DEFECTIONS. UNP MPs have defected to CBK and then in droves to MR because they have lost hope of winning, and when asked, the only answer they give is ‘Ranil’s leadership’. The stellar or actually stratospheric performance by Dayasiri Jayasekara is an example that none can ignore. He gave only one reason when he quit: Ranil. By the way,There are (so far un-contradicted) reports of him saying that he would return if and when Sajith becomes the UNP’s leader.

    I would venture to suggest that all these 65 UNP MPs know more about what’s wrong with the UNP and what has to be done to rectify it, than Mr Shyamon Jayasinghe. Their view seems unanimous. Can they all be wrong?

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    Harin Fernando has admitted that it is difficult to market RW. While none contests RW’s intellectual capability, one must not forget that elections are about popularity contests as amply demonstrated by Dayasiri J. RW therefore does not come through as someone who has the right attributes expected of a modern day leader and therefore is a commodity that is in decline.

    Politicians are like any other commodity that is packaged branded and presented to a set of potential consumers. Presentation requires articulation of two important attributes:points of parity and points of difference. Consumers (in this case voters) must understand what is on offer; RW has to communicate clearly to those consumers, what he is all about.

    Its not that RW doesn’t have the people who can make him a winning brand; it is just that RW is unwilling to learn from top political brands nor does he heed advise from capable people. He comes from a family that has believed that they are destined to lead. Listen to his sibling on TNL radio if you want a dose of the “hamu” attitude!

    So RW must go. he has become irrelevant politically. There is no point in hanging on to a brand that has lost its luster!

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    Dayan, you know and I know why the 17 renegades joined MR. Johnny for instance had a serious criminal case against him. GL had a charge of financial misconduct and so on. They had all been cited in the COPE report about scandals submitted by the govt’s own Dew Gunasekera. Rajapakse exploited all that. You know that so why you are not truthful? The renegades had to give a public excuse and that is that Ranil was a bad leader.
    However, the renegades left not because of him. You know and I know and everybody knows why Dayasiri left. Ranil made a responsible statement in the floor of Parliament on that. How can we take Dayan J as credible when he makes sloppy statements like the ones he has done. How can he claim to be a ‘scientist’ of any sort? Scientists test their assertions very rigorously before making them. A college student won’t write so stupidly as DJ does.
    If DJ is confident of Sajith why does he not ask Sajith to test himself as Chief Minister candidate at the forthcoming Southern polls? Why is Sajith not taking up the challenge to show his popularity in his own District?
    It is hard for the UNP to survive in opposition status as no funds are coming in. It is in the nature of things that an Opposition tends to break up during a long spell. DJ is alleged to be a political scientist. Why can’t he see that?
    Sajith has all the looks of a dim guy. Look at him. Has he commented intelligently on any national issue? He would suit as a Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman but not as national leader.

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      Dr Ransimala Vidurapola –
      Yours is certainly one of the few voices of sense and reason amidst the cacophonous clamour around the recent UNP debacle(s). Thank you.

      Someone like Dayan J commenting “analysing” the UNP or anything outside the realm of naked opportunism is little but a joke. All that can be said about him is that his grammar and syntax is acceptable. As for content and, God forbid, anything resembling principled conduct or comment……………
      The man is simply a charlatan and fraud who is trying to do a Karu J in reverse as all those who’ve known him for a long time keep pointing out.

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      @ Dr Ransimala Vidurapola
      NGO Da Yarn is not a politica scientist…he is a political opportunist. :-D
      He is no different to all the UNPers who crossed over to MRs side.

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    SJ has rightly said that a different dynamic operates in the PC elections. The party leader is not focused at PC election level. DJ is guilty of mixing PC election results with Gen election results. He hasn’t answered SJ’s arguments but just gone around them. He is a spinner like Murali

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    Dr Dayan Jayatilleka states: “If the UNP were to face a Presidential Election with its present leadership, it will score even less than the 26% average it scored in the two provinces in this election.”

    The 26 per cent is the statistic from the recently conducted NWP Provincial Council Elections. Two errors of reasoning here:
    (a)Presidential Elections will be from an island-wide electorate. It is illogical to extrapolate an average from NWP on to the whole country.
    (b)As I stated, at a presidential election a wholly different dynamic will operate. Hence,DJ’s prognosis is invalid here, too. It ignores totally different circumstances.
    I think Dr Dayan Jayatilleka will have to be more restrained in his writing if he is to protect the reputation he has hitherto enjoyed. I have no personal stake about any of the leaders of the UNP. I have only tried to be objective where others are not.
    Let the UNP decide on who leads it.
    My guess is that the TNA will be the real Opposition to the Rajapakse regime. It was a brilliant stroke to find Vignesweran. The situation for Lanka is now more dangerous than under Prabhakaran’s terrorism as the global powers and India will listen to Vignesweram and to a democratic forum like the TNA.

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      And we the right thinking dissidents to the current rulers would then take the side of Vignaswaran, because we dont have any other option than supporting them.

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      he situation for Lanka is now more dangerous than under Prabhakaran’s terrorism as the global powers and India will listen to Vignesweram and to a democratic forum like the TNA.

      Wish you could clarify. If TNA is good and democratic, how can the situation be more dangerous for Sri Lanka as a country (not MR or his government) than when we faced LTTE terrorism?

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      Somewhere in the late 1990s a respected UNP veteran of the JRJ era, Mr Daham Wimalasena was appointed to inquire into the steps that should be taken to restructure the party and place it on the path to recovery and victory. He took his task very seriously and conducted extensive hearings island-wide at the grassroots of the UNP.

      The Wimalasena Report was conclusive, and in case Mr Jayasinghe chooses to contest my summation of its conclusions, I wish to preempt him by drawing attention to the fact that a few weeks ago, Daham Wimalasena was on Sirasa/MTV reiterating his conclusions of a decade back.

      His report pointed to the single most important source of the UNP’s decline: the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe. He arrived at this conclusion by extensively surveying the views and opinions of UNPers throughout the country. He stands by those conclusions and restates them even more stridently today.

      Perhaps Mr Shyamon Jayasinghe, from his domicile in Australia, knows more about the UNP than Mr Daham Wimalasena.

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      Mr Jayasinghe,

      Where have you been? Have you been in a deep slumber for the last few years?

      The TNA has been the REAL opposition to the Rajapaksa regime for some time now.

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        BTW, a democratic forum like the TNA is a real threat to the dictatorial Rajapaksa regime and NOT to Sri Lanka. If the TNA in some way helps to get rid of the Rajapaksas it will be a blessing to all in Sri Lanka.

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    You say Karu lost to PABA. True, this is Sri Lanka, Sindu elephant was able to get better support than Chandrika in recent NWP PC elections. Don’t you know Chandrika who left SLFP was able to become president after returning back to SLFP. So why not Karu? So your argument would not hold water. I would say 90% of UNP MP’S have better chance in performing better in any election compared to RANIL. I am not talking about the ability to carry out functions of the office after winning of course.

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    I am not addressing this to the common man who is the voter, but for all those who contribute to this blog as educated individuals who are capable of assessing as to what is right and who is right?

    If Ranil had misappropriated Public Funds, Tsunami or otherwise. If Ranil had secretively engaged the help of VP and the LTTE to become President of this Country. If Ranil prevents any Legal probe or indictment of Govt Ministers and MPs for Murder, Rape and Fraud. If Ranil openly espouses hatred and ill will towards minorities on Ethnic and Religious. If Ranil openly interferes with the Judiciary appointing the servile, as CJ downwards and penalizes any who dissent. If Ranil blatantly commit the Police to be an impotent Force, unable to resolve all Political Murders of Journalists and others who oppose and transfer any Police Officer who carries out his duty in many a case including the Murder of the Planter Nihal Perera, where Police evidence was pointing towards the Chief Minister Mahipala Herat as the main suspect. If Ranil impounds the Passport of CJ DE Jure through Court but release that of Duminda Silva permitting him to travel abroad. If Ranil appoint all his family members and friends to every conceivable post in Govt service. If Ranil has squandered Public Funds, running in to Billions of Dollars, through an American Illuminati Pyramid Scam Agent functioning as the Head of Central Bank on Oil Hedging, Greek Bonds and Olympic Bids or wasted on ego boosting exercises as Mihin Lanka, Mattala AirPort and Harbour and MR offers to rescue the Country and the masses, tell me HONESTLY whom will you vote?

    Dayan Jayatilake you are an absolute DISGRACE for the Learned of this Country. You continue to display your title as DR. for the comments you post. Your inadequacy and inferiority is well displayed from the use of the Title and the rubbish you write.

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      Excellent response and you hit the nail on our Tsunamipathy’s head!

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    NGO Da Yarn is no different to the “waasi patthata hoi ya” mercenary voters who vote for the party and candidates who spend the most money during elections for hand outs, dansals, arrack and housing material.
    Gaddafi lasted 42 years only because he had enough oil money to spread amongst the Libyan population.
    The RajaPoxsas’ have no such money…what they have is an all powerful media that is able to hoodwink the idiotic masses.
    The 64 million dollar question is, for how long will they be fooled?

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    To Dr Dayan Jayatilleka.
    Ref your last comment above (yesterday 12.04 pm), I have already indicated it is not my desire to speculate on the UNP leadership. The Grand Old Party has enough in its ranks who can take a decision based on ground realities. Making armchair, abstract, proposals as you wont to do is simply sterile and unproductive. When such suggestions are based on false premises of logic it becomes somewhat of a horror.
    I entered this subject just to point out the errors of your reasoning process. I have done so in summary form in my posting of 6.34 pm yesterday. Please show some honesty in responding to that posting. I have shown that your reasoning glares with error. Why don’t you catch up with what I have stated instead of shifting to irrelevant topics like Daham Wimalsena?
    I don’t enjoy pinning you down like this.

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    I’m no expert on what you people are talking about but it’s my gut feeling that Ranil will resign only if Mahinda R requested. Nobody else matters nor can decide the fate of UNP.

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    Was not Sajith involved in Born Again Christian movement? I don’t like his small eyes. How about Daya Gamage for leader? He has proved himself in the East whereas Sajith cannot progress even in his Southern electorate. He wants to be the candidate for Presidency. Dayan is the expert forecaster-how much will he get votes, Dayan?

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    Quote Shyamon:
    “Karu is the guy who brought down the fall of the UNP from which it never has been able to get up…..”.
    MR and BR are no better, they betrayed SLFP in 1982-83 Presidential Election/Referendum. Basil Campaigned for JR and Mahinda gave a lukewarm reception/support to Hector Kobbekaduwa (Elders in the family held him back, for the family to have a balance in the political arena)
    “Dayan’s second option, Sajith, the least said the better. This guy has not shown any intellectual capacity for years”.
    When you watch MR’s latest interview to Al Jazeera, you realise it (intellectual capacity) is not needed. MR is an insult (Joke) to the nation (world).
    Quote Dayan:
    “As for Sajith’s intelligence, I daresay anyone who is the product of a British public school and the LSE and has interned with US Senator Phil Gramm, has something upstairs”.
    Intelligence is not judged by the corridors that you had being walking through or by what your associates or teachers know.

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      Sisira Weragoda

      “Intelligence is not judged by the corridors that you had being walking through or by what your associates or teachers know.”

      The pertinent question one should ask is whether one is qualified to be wise leader.

      Past gives us a clear audit trail, none of the post independence leaders were wise enough to be leaders on their own right.

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    Hi Vedda.
    I quite agree with you on the people leading a nation (on their own right or otherwise), take the case of Reagan US President.

    But it is not a precursor for ‘Intelligence’

    Thun Korale Gamarala

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    Quite right. Shyamon Jayasinghe says the UNP needs a complete outsider as just as a Vigneshwaran to the TNA. It’s impossible to name a man(or women) as traits that a possible UNP leadership holder should have are diverse and challenging.
    The point is Ranil should not be the leader till that successor is found. He should quite immediately.
    As for permanent leadership – Karu looks gentleman but not political. Sajith is playing to the gallery in desperation. Sarath Fonseka would have been a leader in the UNP if not for his haste. Dayasiri had a chance, but now he’s on greener pastures in the Rajapakse camp. No other worth comes to mind.
    Probably an interim leader in the caliber of Imitiaz Bakeer Marker the UNP would be largely acceptable but I must emphasize the word INTERIM till a suitable long term leader is found. Never a Muslim will be voted a President in Sri Lanka.
    Moving away, hitherto I found Dayan Jayatilleke to be a very objective political commentator and a wonderful diplomat but recently I discovered he has leanings to Sajith which rally baffles me ! As the legendary Sarathchandra’s product in Shyamon implies ‘personal bias to the Premadasas’ is non-marketable to the electorate now.
    The Rajapakse’s have a solid vote base and vision for the country, and all wrapped with a family tree unfortunately. This is quite formidable and the UNP would find decades to groom a leader to take on NOT Mahinda/Basil/Gota BUT Namal/Shasheendra.

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