27 May, 2022

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President Must Resign Now!

By Sunil J. Wimalawansa –

Prof Sunil J. Wimalawansa

Part 11: Sri Lanka—Changing Pillows to Cure Headaches: President’s Resignation & Appointing Interim President

Finally, after months of procrastination, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister (Ex-PM) reluctantly resigned due to public force, not as requested by his president-brother. Ex-PM, who resigned in disgrace, is responsible for most of unwanted loans obtained by the country (purely due to commissions and for pilferage) that pushed the country into bankruptcy and propagated 9th of May, street violence.

Due to poor management and other reasons, the president lost the confidence of 90% of the people in the country. Now, he does not have the mandate to stay in power. He must immediately resign without further gimmicks and procrastination that harm the country. That would prevent further riots initiated by his ex-PM brother’s supporters using unscrupulous and uneducated municipality Mayers, with his blessings. However, these attacks continue with changing tactics and new targets that would disrupt the country further.

President must resign now

Despite his apparent illegitimate appointment in violation of the constitution, his flawed “persistence to stay in power” as the president will only worsen the conditions for everyone, including himself. It will exacerbate further violence, deaths, and destroying property. The more he stays as the president, the higher the likelihood of people making him personally responsible for violence and harm. He has no option but to resign without creating further misery for the people and the country.

Since the resignation of the PM, there has been no cabinet or government now. Reshuffling the cabinet or persuading other power-hungry MPs and so-called leaders not even elected to the parliament to set up a new cabinet is worthless and harmful to the country. The only and the best option for the president is to quietly resign and let the MPs elect a new interim president. Anything else (tricks) other than this is unconstitutional and unsustainable.

Instead of appointing another unwarranted new cabinet (title of this series of articles; “changing pillows to cure headaches”), as per the constitution, let the parliament elect the most suitable candidate by a simple majority as the interim president discussed in the previous article. F/M Sarath Fonseka seems the most robust and capable candidate among the current parliamentarians for the interim president.

The most suitable person for the interim presidency

Undoubtedly, a few MPs vehemently oppose his appointment for personal reasons. However, such private objections are irrelevant for this crucial appointment. The selection must be based on the person’s ability to make impartial, non-political, firm decisions. Decisions and actions to better the country, benefit its people and overcome financial bankruptcy.

This would allow the interim president to appoint a ten to twelve-member interim multi-party cabinet based on their commitment to the sovereignty of the country, profound understanding of the situation and subject matter expertise. Other options available were discussed in previous articles.

President, IGP, army commander, etc., must stop further destruction of the country. Let the multi-party interim administration decide the best way to stabilise the political system and resolve the conflicts and the crisis peacefully, without involving thugs, police, and the army.

What is next

The president is now desperately trying to appoint a new multi-party cabinet (too late for that), a sudden change of heart. Without a PM, the parliament was dysfunctional and considered dissolved. That was yesterday (9th of May), why some ruling party dishonest MPs desperately had a gathering at the PM’s office in Temple Trees, tried to prevent his resignation. This was to protect their jobs, perks, and power to abuse the system and not for the country’s benefit.

Dissolution of the parliament could be considered a blessing in disguise, as the current parliamentarians have no clue to solve the crises and produce ANY solution to date.  None of them has any new or constructive ideas to resolve the ongoing issues and conflicts. Under these circumstances, their absence from the parliament would be better than their presence. It would be cheaper for the country to shut down the parliament until February 2023. A saving of multiple billions of rupees otherwise wasted to maintain worthless parliamentarians.

Next set of priorities for the interim president

The priority for the interim president is to calm the population and prevent any initiating any further riots. The former PM initiated yesterday’s insurgences through his purposeless and mindless gangsters. He must address the nation openly and honestly based on facts immediately after assuming duties. He should assure the populous-the nation, with simultaneous translation in Tamil (or at least translate into Tamil and broadcast a bit later), assuring that he will do his best and his goals and targets to achieve within the next few months of his temporary presidency.

He must promise that he and the interim cabinet will diligently turn around the misery within the next months, placing the country first. He must also ensure the public of the abolition of the executive presidency, replace the trained constitution with a new one, and hold free and fair elections before February 2023.

An immediate action plan for cost-reduction and economic development

Economic development of the country is critical, but it needs to tie to the quality-of-life indices and human well-being. These include but are not limited to literacy, relevant skills, well-being indexes (low maternal and child mortality and higher life expectancy), sustained potable water and food security, and most importantly, health and the happiness of the populous.

Besides, economic growth must associate with reducing poverty and unemployment (raising from the bottom up), reasonable income distribution, and equal access and affordability to education, nutritious food, and healthcare. Without these, economic growth would be artificial and non-sustainable, as happened in the past decade, benefiting only a small percentage of privileged groups of people.

Bridging funds and curtailing costs

Bridging funds from the IMF would allow the interim government to get the house in order and demonstrate responsibility and accountability. It would improve the international atmosphere by obtaining grants or additional borrowings at a significantly lower cost while increasing local exports to narrow the budget gap. In the medium term, it will allow the development of sustainable mechanisms to enhance local revenue and transparency and regain international trust, including tourism.

The actions needed include a comprehensive array of sensible austerity policies to reduce government expenses, reduce the current government size by at least 40%, and stabilise the monetary status and exchange rates, in conjunction with transparency and free-market trading policies. The country has achieved none of these. Nothing will materialise without significant structural changes in the government and the entire corrupt system. Politicians keep talking like parrots with zero constructive ideas or actions: MPs are all about grabbing power.

It is essential to regain the lost credibility in the international arena. The country has achieved none of these. Moreover, nothing will materialise without significant structural changes in the government and the entire corrupted system from top to bottom. Current politicians keep talking like parrots to maintain or gain power. They have zero constructive ideas or taken actions benefiting the country. The current politicians at all levels are all about grabbing power; the country comes last on the wish list.

Firm decisions needed to reduce government costs

To prevent future fiscal chaos, including bankruptcy, and the need for loans, the interim government must start enacting laws to eliminate extensive subsidies that successive governments have dished out to the populous to attract votes. These include fuel, electricity, gas, agrochemicals, and free education and healthcare. Some of these, like fuel/oil and electricity, require prompt elimination, while the others could be reduced over time.

The administration must explain clearly, the intended elimination of each of the subsidies to the public in all three languages. Why does the government have to do such, and how and when these measures will be implemented? While removal of subsidies invariably will cause hardships for the population, people will soon get used to it. These are necessary to get out of the impending bankruptcy, financial stability, and long-term success and prosperity of the country.

*The next article will discuss additional methods of reducing government costs and improving food security.

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Latest comments

  • 6
    0

    It is reported that Ranil is to be named as the new PM? Harin will sit as an independent(more to follow). Media reports indicate that Ranil will have a majority support in the parliament. It would be interesting to note who eose will support him in this role? Also, who will be in the new cabinet?

    If the interim PM and Cabinet are acceptable to the opposition parties, Chief prelates and the GoHomeGota movement, then we can expect a period of stabilisation. If not, the instability may continue.

    • 2
      0

      Peradeniya Critical Tradition,
      HOPE IS ETERNAL IN THE HUMAN HEART
      Let’s hope everything turns out to be the best For Sri Lankans and Sri Lanka!!
      my take is there would be a resolution soon, whichever way it goes I do not know.
      However, ending the trauma is well within sight!!
      This week or latest next week hopefully it should happen?

  • 5
    2

    Ranil protected the Rajapaksa’s during the yahapalana govt so he is a sure bet. On the other hand the country will go down the drain and all the effort by the youth is sold out for Ranil’s fantasy of being PM.
    This a man that was rejected by the people.

    • 1
      2

      Bert,
      Whilst agreeing, seems to be the “MAN OF THE HOUR”, to salvage Sri Lanka!!
      Who else has anyone has in mind??

  • 3
    4

    ‘President Must Resign Now!’
    .
    Why? The PM has gone, the Cabinet has gone, the President is the only elected politician left in the country. He is holding the country together. If he resigns there will be absolute anarchy. The protestors say they want democracy but their demands are not democratic. If they want to remove the president they should use their votes in two years time in a presidential election.

    • 1
      3

      Maybe the Galle Face Protestors should go home since they are now competing with the President for causing financial losses to the country (1 Billion in tourist revenue) .

      In the long run, I think they will overtake the President in harm done to the country.

      Personal vendettas are of no use to us here: statistically about 50% of the protesters were anyway Rajapakse – haters to begin with, being Colombians, and the crisis provided them with a golden opportunity.

      Time to see who is for the country and who is for themselves. “Give me the Presidency”. Childish.

    • 3
      0

      Paul,
      Cannot agree with you more?? Right on the money too!!
      Even, after the resignation of the cabinet, if there need be a grave necessity to vacate the post of President, THERE IS A PROCESS IN THE CONSTITUTION??
      Exercise that constitutional process!
      Do not try to employ extra-constitutional means? That is tantamount to Treason??
      Impeach him! Then once parliament passes Simple resolution, follow the Judicial inquiry process laid down, to be fair by the incumbent??!!
      Follow the set procedure and it is not too late either??
      The problem back again the elected representatives of the people not agreeing???
      Whose fault, the people’s fault!! Electors fault!! Is it not??
      They took a bribe of USD 13.07, quarte bottle of Arrack and Biryani??
      “CHEAP AS CHIPS AND NOT EXPENSIVE MANOEUVRE” – meaning, cost to buy votes to elect oneself to office!!
      PRESIDENT TRUMP IS MAKING SL NEXT DESTINATION!
      Ashamed!!
      They are trying to dislodge/remove someone elected by these scumbags who received a Bribe, for “Bribe taking and looting Tax Payers money”??
      BRIBE TAKERS ACCUSING BRIBE GIVERS OF BRIBE TAKING AND LOOTING WEALTH OF COUNTRY??!!
      POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK!!??

  • 4
    0

    The Daily Mirror said today:

    ” UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will take oaths as the Prime Minister at 6.30 pm today his party confirmed.

    Wickremesinghe who held closed door discussions with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last evening, will take oaths as the new Prime Minister following the resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday.

    After taking oaths, Wickremesinghe will visit a temple in Colombo and thereafter assume his duties. (Jamila Husain)”

    So, it is a decision that made by Gotabaya as a President. The question is: Will this end the Aragalaya protest? Will this end the Gotabaya executive Presidency? Will this resolve the economic crisis of the Country? Will this resolve the corruption problem? Will this bring the communities together or divide further? Will this bring all the culprits who were responsible for the crimes of humanity? or Will it save the Rajapaksa family and bring back them to power again and same the same old Fundamentalism and racism?

  • 3
    0

    The President is currently in the position of an inexperienced heart surgeon who after having rashly undertaken a tricky open heart surgery realizes halfway through the operation that he is clueless about how to proceed further. The patient is lying on the operating table with his chest cut open but the surgeon is stymied and mulling his options. If he does not hand over the job to another heart surgeon and remove himself from the Operating Theater pronto, the patient will definitely die!

    • 2
      0

      Our leaders have all been inexperienced heart surgeons, attempting to cut the patient in half – some of them – or is it one third?

      The Surgeon has dismissed his advisers and is going to hand over to Ranil W. It makes sense to stick around without leaving the scene in order to explain in detail the mistakes he had made.

      Or hand over the Presidency with its unfettered powers to another inexperienced heart surgeon.

  • 2
    0

    (Part I)
    Sunil J Wimalawansa,
    Your reference,
    “It would be CHEAPER FOR THE COUNTRY TO SHUT DOWN THE PARLIAMENT UNTIL FEBRUARY 2023. A saving of multiple billions of rupees otherwise wasted to maintain worthless parliamentarians.”
    That’s illegal and ultra vires the constitution of Sri Lanka??
    WHOEVER, DOES IT IS COMMITTING SEDITION AND TREASON!!!
    The parliament is the supreme body and representative of the people’s sovereignty in Sri Lanka!
    Your suggestion above to shut down to save money is preposterous and would amount to self-serving solution, perhaps for ‘lack of your favourites in parliament’, may dare say!
    The sovereign body cannot be evaluated in partisan terms
    FULLY AGREE THAT THERE ARE UNDESIRABLES IN THAT AUGUST ASSEMBLY, CREPT IN DUE TO CORRUPTION OF BOTH THE POLITICIANS AND THEIR ELECTORS?? NO OTHER WAY!!
    FIRST AND FOREMOST STEP TO ERADICATE THOSE VULTURES:
    1. Please educate the voters, NOT TO SEEK NOR ACCEPT (EDUCATE them – voters – to SHOW “UTTER DISDAIN”, IF EVER OFFERED BY POLITICIANS AND THROW IR BACK AT THEM –
    a. The Rs. 5000 currency note (equivalent to USD 13 and 7 cents!!),
    b. ¼ Bottle of Gal arrack from Synergy,
    c. The Chicken Biryani bath parcel – cheapest than other 2 Beef, Mutton!

  • 3
    0

    (Part II)
    2. Ensure, the nomination list of political parties and individual nominations:
    a. Scrutinise to identify worthless scums and thugs
    b. Take action to eliminate them from the contest!!
    So cheap to Corrupt and buy votes from SL voters, I am ashamed!!!
    Also applies specifically to the 6.9 million foolish voters at November 2019 Presidential and 2020 General election to be more knowledgeable and despise worthless bribes such as above and vote blindly to elect worthless worthies!!!
    People must think clearly and execise their franchise, rather than being “foolish enough like above”!!
    This time perhaps 2½ years from election, we will succeed find rectitude and are lucky this time??!!!
    May not work every time there is a future election and ‘OUTCOME GOES AWRY’???
    NO CHRISTMAS EVERY DAY!!
    Implore you, to target them and do it as urgent business, to inculcate care and knowledge based voting, instead based on POLITICIANS’ PROMISES AT RALLIES, which is hollow and directly proportional to the volume and number of claps politicians get from their speech!!
    Shutting down Parliament is Human rights violation and utter foolhardy!!
    THE ONLY WAY TO WEED OUT THE SCUMS is to EDUCATE, EMANCIPATE AND ENHANCE KNOWLEDGE of the electors!!

  • 2
    0

    That indignant and outspoken democrat AKD says that ‘6.9 million voted to defeat Ranil, his appointment is a total disregard to that mandate.’
    .
    This is the same 6.9m who voted for GR to be President. Ergo AKD wants GR to remain as President!

    • 1
      0

      Hi Paul,
      Good morning.
      “This is the same 6.9m who voted for GR to be President. Ergo AKD wants GR to remain as President!”
      My take is, a case of, ‘VASI PATHTHATA HOIYA’!! Use to once own advantage the same, but different circumstances, providing to achieve a drastically different outcome!!
      I do not want to use it, fearing, some may feel it is a ‘racist’ comment??!!
      Nevertheless, unless it is spelt out in pithy Sinhala edict the full effect of it is not well conveyed or fully blossomed!!
      That’s my dilemma at the moment??!!
      I will pause for some time, take a deep breath, rethink and then decide, whether I want to spill out that popular adage or not, for a later occasion??!!

      • 1
        1

        M
        This 6.9 M cliche is used by several here, mostly out of bitterness about an electoral defeat.
        Some imagine that they will appear wise by calling the 6.9 M voters fools in various words.
        The system offers very little choice and far less opportunity to discuss issues thoroughly.
        The choice to several was between a lot that wasted opportunity to produce results by silly quarrels and another that seemed better focussed, despite its major flaws.
        *
        Do you remember how the two election campaigns went? Sajith wasted more time attacking Ranil than to expose flaws of his opponents.
        Who with any intelligence will be convinced by such a scatter brain campaign?
        Can one who cannot handle differences within one’s party lead to unite the country?
        *
        BTW
        The saying is ‘vasi paththata goviya’ (the farmer is on the side with the rain).

        • 0
          1

          SJ,
          “Do you remember how the two election campaigns went? Sajith wasted more time attacking Ranil than to expose flaws of his opponents.”
          YES, I do!!
          How? Campaign any other way?
          The ‘supposed Leader’, didn’t know UNTIL ALMOST YEAR LATER, there was an opposition “MOLE”, within the inner sanctum of his party, leadership grouping, unknown to Leader Sajith???!!!
          What a Leadership???
          May be she (who changed colours to “Kurrakkan”) was the original owner of the’ TELEPHONE’ symbol and party registration!!! Immaterial! Strategy should not be exposed to the opponents, to be of any success??!!
          I have one word, that is, “All convoluted words spewed, with NO material effect!!??
          The ‘Old Man’, (Pater- night school educated and later in the shadows of St. Josephs’ College) was streets and miles ahead of him, sad to say!
          Sajith, much below expectation of all concerned!! No patch on the old ‘Suchcharita’ Stalwart??!!
          His words, pauses and emphasis had meaning good or bad immaterial, did not mince his words, but carried in full force to the recipients – The masses??!
          That’s a Himalayan difference to the finalé!
          No wonder he won 1989 at the height of the Insurgency and mayhem – the people stood by him!!

        • 0
          0

          SJ,
          Thanks for the correction on the old adage! Timely indeed without delay.
          All in all, I think, GOTA MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE, and perhaps “god made sure Sajith did not accept in time”, to save the agony for Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans; specially the poor masses!!
          Sure, Harsha, Rohan, Sarath F, Cham pika R., are all on SJB side, but I cannot think his leadership quality would have surmounted “THE NEED OF THE HOUR”??
          It would have been another year wasted in Vain!!
          Kudos to Gota!!
          That’s my take!! Time will tell.
          I’m sure many may in their wisdom disagree and that’s democracy.

  • 1
    0

    President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, like his brother, has lost the confidence of the people who elected him. Temperamentally and intellectually he is a poor choice for the post of president. He has a foul mouth and gets angry.

    Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is a lesser evil compared to Gotabaya. Why Mahinda agreed to nominate him for the presidency is a mystery. Today an ungrateful Gotabaya has thrown his brother Mahinda under the bus to save his own skin.

    What Sri Lanka needs today is a progressive, democratic, secular and federal constitution that will last for centuries. A good constitution will ensure political stability and political stability is sine qua non for economic prosperity.

    Political parties have used religion to further their political agendas. These short-sighted strategies have always caused harm in the long run. This is the main reason for the present mess.

    luxury vehicles. Buddha wanted Bhikkus to practice the Eight Precepts. They are:
    Abstaining from killing.
    Abstaining from stealing.
    Abstaining from sexual activity.
    Abstaining from telling lies.
    Abstaining from intoxicating drinks and drugs.
    Abstaining from eating afternoon.
    Abstaining from entertainment and beautifying the body.
    Abstaining from using luxurious furniture.

    Today the Bhikkus have become sorcerers, astrologers and practising witchcraft and quackery.

    So let us keep religion and state separate.

  • 0
    0

    Rajapashas gone ! From where ? From the Government ! And to Where ? To the opposition !
    They are still M Ps , one should not forget . And the games they played at the last minutes !
    Deputy speaker election , thuggery out in the Galle Face and now the selection of Ranil as
    P M and Nandasena stay put ! Clear signs of not fully giving into any pressure until some
    meaningful force is used to throw out the remaining hurdle that is Nandasena ! They are
    shamelessly and arrogantly playing games with people’s mandate ! They are ,
    dead bodies , throwing open challenge to the very people who voted them foolishly to do
    what they can !

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