21 October, 2020

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Presidential Election: A New President & The Politics Of Balances

By Asanga Abeyagoonasekera

Asanga Abeygoonasekera

The recent Sri Lankan election witnessed the Rajapaksa brothers – Gotabaya and Mahinda – coming to power. Gotabaya, former secretary of defence and a technocrat with little political experience, was elected president while Mahinda, former two-time president who ended the protracted civil war during his term 10 years ago, was sworn in as prime minister. The new president faces the twin internal challenges of balancing nationalist and liberal values and introducing a new political culture with emphasis on meritocracy and technocracy. On external relations, past Sri Lankan leaders have leaned towards a single power for economic support and this superseded everything else. It will be interesting to see if Gotabaya’s foreign policy will be different from that of his brother and the other leaders, and if he will be able to balance the triple sphere of influence – India, China and the United States – with his ‘neutral’ foreign policy focus.

Introduction

“We have not lost in this election. In a way we have won the Southern vote; we just did not receive the votes from North-East and the upcountry… I will ensure I will look after all of you.” These were the departing words of Mahinda Rajapaksa after his presidential loss in 2015. The president who left office came back to power after four years, this time appointed as prime minister by his brother – Gotabaya Rajapaksa – a historical political incident where two brothers share the Executive and the premiership.

In 2015, votes from the ethnic Tamil-dominated former war zone in the north of the country and Muslim-dominated areas played a key role in President Maithripala Sirisena’s victory. It took four years for a Rajapaksa to seize back the top seat by winning a significant percentage of the Sinhalese voter base. The new president, Gotabaya, secured 52.25 per cent of the votes with a 1.3 million lead, a historic victory without many votes from the North-East. As articulated by the newly elected president, “I won from the Sinhalese votes; I expected more votes from the Tamil and Muslim community which I did not receive. I want them to join now.” He has appealed to them to be a part of his grand vision to create a prosperous nation with a new political culture, with meritocracy and technocracy emblazed at the helm.

Reasons for Gotabaya’s Victory

There are three distinct reasons for Gotabaya’s victory. First, the Sri Lankan economy has been badly managed and the direct effect of rising costs was felt by the entire country. Second, the flaws in the bipartisan model introduced in 2015, which gradually evolved into a complete loss of mutual trust between the Executive and prime minister. Finally, it was the national security threat that arose from the extremist terror attack on Easter Sunday earlier this year. Following the attack, the people’s trust in the government eroded significantly and reached its lowest ebb when a Parliamentary Select Committee1 highlighted serious intelligence gaps and administration flaws in the government.

In the 2019 presidential election, Sri Lanka was at a crossroads, pitting the neo-liberals against the nationalists. As a symbolic gesture, the colour of the new presidential flag depicts dark brown, signifying the rich soil of the nation. The values stem from the deep South – the scarf was the symbol the Rajapaksas used to depict their closeness to the soil, and this had much more strength than any other political slogans used by their opponents. “I am from a southern Sinhalese Buddhist family and I was educated at a Buddhist school ‘Ananda College’. I will ensure principles of Buddhist values will be at the forefront in my presidency”, said the newly-elected president at his inauguration at the Ruwanwelisaya Buddhist shrine, the place where the ancient Southern Sinhalese Buddhist King Dutugamunu who united the nation left a magnificent edifice to the entire country.

Adopting Global Best Practices

While embracing history is significant, it is also important to explore whether history has punished societies that have not evolved. Alexis de Tocqueville came from another nation to praise America’s embodiment of progressive political ideals. Nations should adapt best practices and embrace the values of progressive development in other nations. Leaders should be quick to adapt best practices and values from them.2 Many politicians in Sri Lanka’s recent past spoke about bringing inspiration from the Singapore model but their words ended up only as empty promises.

The newly-elected president could enact this change. Perhaps, as a reflection of this change, Gotabaya, within his first week in office, reduced the number of cabinet portfolios and established a committee for future appointments at all government institutional levels.

Sri Lanka’s economic geography matters as much as its political geography. Most past leaders failed to capitalise on the nation’s economic and political geographic significance due to their narrow political principles and their belief in protectionist measures, thereby missing the opportunity to leap forward and be part of the global economy and its value chains. Even Singapore defines her geography by international connectivity.

The balance between national and liberal values is clearly visible in the Singaporean context. Sri Lanka should develop its capacity to concentrate and harness the flows of goods, services, resources, money, technology, information and talent which will make it grow into a large nation, just like Singapore. For this, Sri Lanka has to go beyond the ultra-nationalist spirit to embrace what is out there in the world.

The strategy of the new president comes during the significant time of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The author was present in Davos when Professor Klaus Schwab, Chairman of the World Economic Forum, released his book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution,3 in 2016, during which time Sri Lanka’s gross domestic product growth rate was at 4.5 per cent. The economy is expected to grow at its lowest rate of 2.7 per cent in 2019. Political instability, followed by a weak security environment, was a significant factor that has pulled the entire country down. When compared to nations such as Bangladesh in the South Asian region, which has managed to stabilise its economy with an eight per cent annual growth rate, the Sri Lankan economy would need a quick recovery, with a particular increase in foreign direct investment inflows.

Value of Democracy and Technocracy

Will Gotabaya be able to manage the delicate balance between ultra-nationalist and liberal economic values? Seen as an efficient administrative technocrat with little experience in politics, will he embrace the values of the rich school of democracy in his government? How will he embrace his brother’s pro-China foreign policy? And will he be able to create a balance between the triple spheres of influence –between India, China and the United States? These are some questions the new leadership will face, and Gotabaya will need to use all of his statecraft to answer them in the coming months.

One significant internal value the new leader may wish to follow is technocracy. Sri Lankans are in search of a better government that could balance democracy and technocracy – an area in which the previous regime failed miserably. The gap was clearly identified by Gotabaya and he has promised a government with values of technocracy and meritocracy under his leadership. In both his election manifesto and at his inaugural speech, these values were re-emphasised by the president.

Technocracy is the model and policy prescription that was put forward as a solution for modern democracies by Parag Khanna, a professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore – he published a book on the same subject.4 He explained that there is a lack of technical experts to solve complex government problems in a democracy. Technocracy, as a form of leading governing practice to efficiently govern a polis (the ideal city), was introduced by the Greek philosopher Plato as the most preferred form of government, which should be led by a committee of public-spirited “guardians”. In such a system, the most qualified technical experts are chosen based on merit to govern the nation. This is a model adopted by progressive nations such as Singapore. According to Parag, “Technocratic government is built around expert analysis and long-term planning, rather than narrow-minded and short-term populist whims… Real technocracy has the virtues of being both utilitarian (inclusively seeking the broadest societal benefit) and meritocratic (with the most qualified and non-corrupt leaders). Instead of ad hoc and reactive politics, technocracies are where political science starts to look like something worthy of the term: a rigorous approach to policy.” What Sri Lanka clearly needs is to steer in this direction. Indeed, the island state’s new leadership has already recognised the importance of this model. Accordingly, the “pubic-spirited guardians” will be chosen to address key complex issues not adequately addressed before.

Foreign Policy Management

Gotabaya is the second leader after Sirimavo Bandaranaike who managed to become the head of state without much political experience. While Sirimavo’s domestic policies had limitations, leading to an erosion of the economy, her foreign policy imperatives were excellent.

On foreign policy, the newly-elected president spelt out his policy in his election manifesto to “maintain friendly relations with other countries from a standpoint of equality”, and to “adopt a non-aligned policy in all his foreign dealings and work with all friendly nations on equal terms”5. His clear position was that, “We will not be part of any big power rivalry, we will take a neutral position.” Even before his maiden visit to India, Constantino Xavier, a foreign policy fellow at Brookings India in New Delhi, explained that “Gota will play the China card, but Beijing is now less inclined to repeat the large financial investments it did five or 10 years ago, due to growing domestic opposition and international scrutiny.” Further looking at Indo-Lanka foreign policy in the context of the greater global strategy at play in the Indo-Pacific, Xavier stated, “Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi’s ambition to shape the Indo-Pacific great game will fail unless he gets Gotabaya to play ball and keep China at bay.”6 It would be wise for India not to use its closest neighbour in such a manner as described by Xavier, since a strong and deep Sino-Lanka relationship is also an essential element in Sri Lanka’s foreign policy.

China’s deep economic and infrastructure-driven diplomacy on the island state cannot be discounted. From South Asia, Sri Lanka was an initial partner of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – a strategic step taken by Mahinda during his presidency. China’s goals were explained by President Xi Jinping in his congratulatory letter to the newly-elected president: “[T]o deepen our practical cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, to start a new chapter of China-Sri Lanka Strategic Cooperative Partnership and to bring more tangible benefits to our two peoples.” During his visit to India from 28 to 30 November 2019, Gotabaya bluntly and rightly expressed the importance of the strategic asset of the Hambantota port leased out to China during his interview:7 “[The] Sri Lankan government must have control of all strategically important projects.” Viewing the lease of the Hambantota port as an unfruitful exercise, he elaborated on its long-lasting strategic implications “…these 99-year lease agreements [that the previous government signed] will have an impact on our future.” The Hambantota port and Chinese infrastructure diplomacy have had many concerned that Beijing was indulging in ‘debt diplomacy’. Gotabaya has, however, rejected the claim of a ‘debt trap’ in his same interview—“It is also wrong to say there was a debt trap”—and that the Hambantota port was leased out due to the government’s inability to finance the borrowings from the Chinese.

The total Chinese loan percentage is much less than the sovereign bonds and the debt issue is more of a ‘middle-income trap’ rather than a ‘Chinese debt trap’. The country has advanced from a low-income to middle-income status, and no longer qualifies for concessional loans from international institutions. Andrew Small, Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund’s Asia Program and a renowned China expert, analysed the Sri Lankan debt trap as a “data point rather than a trend”,8 stating that the “perception that China plans to build military bases through debt-diplomacy is inaccurate”.

Having said that, the new president will have to astutely exercise his ‘neutral’ foreign policy posture at a time of geopolitical significance in Sri Lanka’s surrounding environment, especially the Indian Ocean, where neutrality has its own complexity. Sri Lanka should not accept binary choices when it comes to the Indo-Pacific or the BRI. It should be part of both strategies and it should reap maximum benefits for its people.

Conclusion

Gotabaya is seen by the general Sri Lankan public as a leader who is capable of delivering on his promises. During his term, Gotabaya will be faced with the challenge of balancing competing priorities. He needs to introduce technocracy and meritocracy into the country, but he needs to balance this by carefully making deep changes to the existing system. He will need to balance nationalist and liberal policies, adopt best practices that will connect Sri Lanka to the world and make the small island gravitationally a large nation. For this, Gotabaya will need to balance his ‘neutral’ policy stance with regional and global geopolitical dynamics.

End Notes 

1.  PSC Full Report https://www.parliament.lk/uploads/comreports/sc-april-attacks-report-en.pdf

2. Marty Linsky, Harvard Kennedy School, Practice of Adaptive Leadership, Harvard Business Press; 1 edition, 18 May 2009.

3. Klaus Schwab, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, https://www.weforum.org/about/the-fourth-industrial-revolution-by-klaus-schwab

4. Parag Khanna, Technocracy in America, https://www.amazon.com/Technocracy-America-Info-State-Parag-Khanna-ebook/dp/B01LX46FXZ

5. Gotabaya’s election manifesto https://gota.lk/sri-lanka-podujana-peramuna-manifesto-english.pdf

6. How India should deal with Gotabaya’s Sri Lanka by Xavier, Hindustan Times, 19 November 2019, https://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/how-india-should-deal-with-gotabaya-s-sri-lanka/story-GkOygslgsitytFjvF3QKaJ.html

7. Gotabaya interview with Suhasini Haidar, The Hindu, 30 November 2019, https://www.thehindu.com/news /international/need-more-coordination-between-delhi-colombo-says-gotabaya-rajapaksa/article30125809.ece

8. Asia’s new geopolitics, Business Recorder, https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/06/20180611380847/

*Asanga Abeyagoonasekera is the Director-General of the Institute of National Security Studies, Sri Lanka under Ministry of Defence. He is the author of Sri Lanka at Crossroads (2019), published by World Scientific Singapore. 

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Latest comments

  • 5
    5

    Achilles heel of Gota is the ethnic problem of sharing land and power in an effective and just manner. On this he has started on the wrong foot with the assumption that development will neutralize the Tamil agitation for their right to rule themselves. His argument that there are laws which ensure equality and justice is hollow, because it is clear that the laws are discriminatory and the exercise of these laws in executive and judicial sectors are discriminatory. Secondly government does not have money to embark on any major development for the Tamil areas, and any funds available will be first used for the benefit of Sinhalese and what is remaining will only trickle to benefit Tamils. His flat denial to implementation of 13th amendment in full as asked by Modi saying that Sinhalese are against those provisions, shows that there is no equality in Sri Lanka as the destiny of Tamils depends on the whims and fancies of Sinhalese. Without Tamils being granted their inalienable right of their land and power there is no justice. Without Tamils enjoying the same rights and privileges as Sinhalese living in safety there is no dignity for Tamils. Without all these being guaranteed there will be no peace. If Gota is really interested in reconciliation with Tamils, he should abandon his swollen headed idea of development as a solution to Tamil aspiration, and work with Tamil representatives as well as India to usher equality, justice, peace and dignity to Tamils as per Modi’s message. He must be told in no uncertain terms that he cannot play the fool like how his predecessors did. If he does not heed advice, he may face a worse ignominy than what JR received for being stubborn.

    • 5
      1

      Mr, Asanga: INSSSL has failed to offer any useful analysis about the Easter Sunday carnage and the foreign hands behind it, but seems to provide unsolicited and dubious foreign policy advice instead. Have you heard of lily pad bases?!
      It seems that you are confused re. the mandate of INSSSL which is to analyze and comment on National Security and threat to it rather than Foreign Policy! Here your are laying out some potted version of what Gota’s foreign policy, should be — to save your job and/or get more foreign trips?!
      There are already foreign policy think tanks in Lanka so please understand the mandate of INSSSL is national security so pl. do the job you are paid to do. Do not waste state funds, or go home!

    • 2
      3

      Dr G S
      “On this he has started on the wrong foot with the assumption that development will neutralize the Tamil agitation for their right to rule themselves.”
      There is only one way I have found that will neutralize the Tamil agitation.
      Those +50% Tamils (all Tamil speaking people irrespective of their religion, caste or the date of arrival scattered across the island) must be clearly made to understand that a ‘solution’will invariably involve physical relocation of all of them into a Homeland defined within North East.
      Not a single family will move out voluntarily AND those already inside will be unwilling to access a single incoming family.

      Soma

      • 4
        0

        Soma, Pakistan separated from India, but there are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan. Similarly Singapore separated from Malaysia, but there are more Chinese in Malaysia than in Singapore. It is easier to annex those lands where Tamils live to the proposed Tamil homeland than to relocate Tamils to north and east. If I who lived in Colombo for 44 years moved out, why cannot the others. Even Tamil Colombo Chetty police officer and Tamil Baratha embassy worker want to move out.

        • 0
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          Dr G S
          “If I who lived in Colombo for 44 years moved out, why cannot the others”
          Why did you avoid saying where did you move INTO?
          .
          I have met many Indians who almost curse Mahathma Gandhi for retaining the Mus;lims. They were only 92 million at the time which has now exploded beyond 200 million. I want to forewarn the Sinhalese over the necessity of a negotiated settlement at the outset and forewarn the Tamils (all Tamil speaking people) over the necessity of avoiding a potential Rohingya like situation in the future.
          .
          Dr. GS, the moment you start justfying leaviing the +50% Tamils presently living outside NE as they are you are falling into a very hypocritical situation in regard to racist, discriminatory, genocidal nature of the Sinhalese and destry the whole rationale for a Homeland.

          Soma

    • 2
      1

      G Sanakaralingam,
      I’m not a GoRa fan; also, my opinion about the minority issue, particularly Tamils vs S/B, well expressed in my comments to various essays. I firmly maintain that devolution of power can be achieved without 13 A which has become a white elephant. My reasoning is that, S/B Vs Tamils is only one facet the minority problem; Muslims also has an issue with both Tamils & S/B; and minority religions also face some difficulties. Put all together, I believe that everything boils down to two mutually inclusive issues: Basic HR under democracy and economic well-being.

      Therefore, I agree with your opinion that GoRa has started on a wrong foot of continuing on the same failed MaRa policy of “concrete & asphalt diplomacy” in N & E. If the Gvt can make sure that all communities must get their land back, must be given the opportunity to feel like at home by making all necessary accommodations to communicate in mother tongue and build confidence that living conditions will be improved, most of the hopelessness can be eliminated. Implementing 13 A will not guarantee any of these. Rather, it has the potential to make things even worse! In other words, I believe that the demand by some Tamil leaders for land & police powers under 13 A is as impractical as GoRa’s approach.

      • 4
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        DP, if you say that devolution can be achieved without 13A, could you spell it out please. Yes there other countries which have achieved devolution without 13A, but they have an equivalent or better mechanism through which power has been devolved. Problem of 13A becoming a white elephant is the application of it for all nine provinces. If per 13A you merge neighbouring provinces, into three regions (North and east being one), and confine ministries at the center for those subjects not devolved, then it will not be a white elephant. You are a typical Sinhala racist who is finding excuses for not allowing Tamils their right to rule themselves. If you think that basic HR under democracy and economic well being will put down Tamil aspiration of self rule, then you are sadly mistaken. Bringing Muslim factor to deny Tamils their due is a convenient method to deny Tamils their right. Government may make sure that Sinhalese and Muslims will get their lands back but it will never be in the case for Tamils. In 1984 Manal Aru was ethnically cleansed by the government asking Tamil residents of 36 villages to vacate the area within 24 hours. Later the area was colonized by Sinhalese and the name changed to Weli Oya. Will the government expel the Sinhalese and resettle Tamils in their original places. In 1958 Kantalai which was a Tamil majority town was completely ethnically cleansed. It is the same with several villages in Trincomalee and Vavuniya districts where the process was started in 1958 and is still continuing. Will the government permit settling of Tamils in large amounts in eastern province to bring back the ethnic balance as per at the time of independence with Tamils 65%. (CONTD).

        • 4
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          (CONTD) How can you say that implementing 13A will not guarantee any of the rights while making matters worse, without implementing it fully for considerable period of time and then make the assessment. None of the past government did that and to add insult to injury brought amendments to sabotage devolution. If you believe that police and land powers demanded by Tamil leaders is impractical, you must give reasons to substantiate. Look at the states in India, where land and police powers are fully devolved to the states. If India and even Pakistan could do it, why it will not be successful in Sri Lanka. To hit the nail on the head, it is Sinhala racism that is standing in the way for devolving police and land powers to Tamils. It is the Sinhala claim to the ownership and reign of the entire land which is the root cause of the problem, which seems not to abate despite archaeological and genetic evidence point out that Dravian Saivites were in the land before the emergence of Sinhala Buddhists. This is the reason that BJP has put forward a two state solution, one for Hindus and one for Buddhists. 13A is part of Indo-Lanka accord which Sri Lanka cannot abrogate unilaterally and India has the right to intervene if any provisions of the accord is not fulfilled by Sri Lanka. 13A is not a white elephant per se, but made into one by Sinhala racists to deny Tamils their rights. There cannot be peace without justice and there cannot be dignity without equality. It is exactly what Modi has conveyed in his message to Gota for reconciliation with Tamils. .

          • 0
            0

            Gnana S,
            I understand the meaning of your argument. It is no different from anti-colonialism but the the self rule didn’t bring expected results, particularly in SL. Even in India, self rule started bring economic progress only much later when Indian politician understood the errors in their economic model. Even then, Indian self rule doesn’t provide equal protection to the poor, the low castes, and to minority religions. India may take many more millenniums to reach a full social equality.

            Even in SL, still there are many rural poor S/B communities that don’t experience the benefit of the self rule. With much more stronger caste system, worse can happen to low caste & poor Tamils communities under a strong 13 A. That is what I meant when I say that self rule may not guarantee economic progress and/or social equality.

            I’m not racist; despite my inheritance by birth -which I cannot discard – in my thinking, I don’t even consider myself as belonging to any particular race. The political system I’m advocating has no racism at all. Rather I believe in race-less political party system in which leadership must be offered based on the ability to perform as a national leader; not based on religion or race. For example, I think that Harin Fernado is very talented guy but it is unfortunate that his name is not considered for the UNP leadership b’cos of his religion. If Obama, a black man, who had first family relatives in Kenya, could become the US president, why not a minority member do the same in SL on the basis of merit alone. I think that the sectarian ideas like yours delaying, if not thwarting altogether, SL reaching such an advanced stage.

      • 1
        0

        Besides the point of ethnic reconciliation, I also suspect that this essay is an effort to white wash China. If so, considering author’s position to influence Gvt policies, this could be considered as “Red Flag”. It is a well known fact that key individuals in the current Gvt and associates of GoR/ MaRa are Chinese spies!

    • 0
      2

      Keep on dreaming for another Seventy years.

    • 0
      1

      The country belongs to all, and there is no question.of granting special privileges to any particular group. If any one feels they have been given less rights than others then they can fight to be treated equally and it’s justified, but under no circumstance that country be divided.

      The issue is instead of working with the majority and getting the lively.hood of the people improved and infrastructure developed, like the late Mr Thondaman of the up country Tamils did, the politicians try to play decisive politics under the guise of rights to their people perhaps driven by the underline hidden agenda of geo political considerations of their masters up west.

      It’s your issue if you prefer to be alienated with the Singhalese and live as one group, but that is not a justification to divide the country. The majority, including the moderates are united as shown by the mandate given to the President. The country is indivisible and that’s the bottom line.

  • 3
    4

    The much mentioned dual in this article, is the nationalist and the neo-liberal policies. The Singaporean example is quoted. Did it, have to choose between two such seemingly opposing policies? The simple answer is do what is good for Singapore, free from any ideology. WORK FROM FIRST PRINCIPLES. To talk of any country, it must exist and exercise its sovereignty to the fullest extent. Can Sri Lanka do that? Very rarely. President Ranasinghe Premadasa chased away David Gladstone. President Mahinda Rajapakse got down Minister’s David Miliband of UK and Bernard Kouchner to his lair in Medamulana to serve King Coconut and made it clear to them that their efforts to safeguard Vellupillai Prabhakaran is fruitless. (Both Presidents were Sarong wearing ones.) Singapore caned an American boy for vandalism and hanged the Macdonell house bombers years before and rarely shows any mercy for the condemned. Are all these examples of Nationalism? NO. It is the exercise of sovereignty, which is inalienable in any manner. The biggest challenge for any Sri Lankan leader is to build a Sri Lankan nation free from all ethnic and religious consideration. Towards that among many essentials, meritocracy, rule of law (rule by law) efficient state machinery (that includes cures for law’s delays) free from corruption stand out. Singapore passed all that. Its fourth terminal in Changi is reminiscent of the fourth industrial revolution propounded by Klaus Schwab. Yes! It has “disrupted” Singapore for the good as described by no less a person than Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. WE? Possibly the Ms. Francis has come to the CID to give a statement to it, only to be whisked away immediately afterwards from a special plane to “Confœderatio Helvetica” without being charged in court and recant the statement in mount Alps.

  • 8
    1

    As someone in 50’s and working in tech for the last 25+ yrs I find this ‘technocrat’ word for Gota puzzling.

    Technocrat: ‘a member of a technically skilled elite.’

    This O/L qualified Gota was to join SL Army using Mrs. B’s political connections with the family and then did a IT course in a private institution in Colombo and pretend he worked in ‘Tech’ in USA though the popular belief is he was a gas station attendant or a clerk as they call in USA which is more like a ‘coolie’ compared to a ‘techie’.

    Drawing on walls as they do now will not make you a technocrat. So Gota the Technocrat is our answer to a Gates/Jobs/Musk etc?

    This is the same Technocrat give orders or blessing to abduct a visa officer from Swiss embassy and then make a drama all over and bear in mind all this happened he had a grudge against the top detectives who solved all the political killings in the country.

    On top of this how come our Technocrat appoint rogue/corrupt 3rd class like SM Chandrasena a former security guard and ‘puss mafia’ boss and others like him.

    • 0
      1

      The visa officer fiasco is stage managed to discredit the government by the losers and their masters and and they have got into a mess trying to Get away from it. The white van phobia cannot be marketed anymore and a expired story. The majority don’t buy it right? The yahapaluwas failed to prove it and cannot cling on to it anymore.

  • 2
    1

    Biggest challenge Prez. Gota has is not balancing between China & India relations, but uniting all communities in SL. The reason I see this as the toughest challenge is that the foundation of his victory was quite opposite.

    • 2
      2

      Mr Mohd
      In order to do that Muslims en bloc
      should vote for Gotabhaya in coming elections.

      Soma

  • 4
    6

    From the point of view of Native Sinhalayo the greatest achievement of President Gotabhaya Rajapakse’s victory is shattering the myth held by Demala and Muslim communities that they are the ‘King Makers’ in this country. When these two ‘Para’ minority communities pushed Native Sinhalayo against the wall, they rose against them. Sinhalayo will maintain this momentum at the General Election and show these minority communities that the days of ‘Tail wagging the Dog’ is over.

    Sinhalayo will insist on scrapping 15th Amendment introduced by the traitor to reduce the cutoff point from 12.5% to 5% at the request of M H M Ashraff of the SLMC before the 1988 election.

    • 6
      1

      Eagle Eye – “greatest achievement” you said, Congrats, and you’re great as always!!! Okay now that you have achieved your utmost possible in last 70 years, can I run my business without fear?

  • 2
    0

    Sri Lankan economy would need a quick recovery, with a particular increase in foreign direct investment inflows.////

    Some part obtained letter not be involve in like direct investment inflows
    The First Amendment is not set with limiting amendments .Even the high authority is not beyond the reach of the Amendment Changes, it will continue even to 100 Amendments if people requirement are not met if not marginalized attacked is stopped.

  • 2
    0

    The author of this piece is someone who works under the Ministry of Defence. The end notes are quite impressive or so it seems.
    The twin values of the New President Gotabaya Rajapakse is Technocracy and Meritocracy says the author.
    But he was more well known for his Autocracy during a decade of his salad days from 2005 to 2015.
    As a President he is now more powerful; Will it be easy for him to shed his autocratic past.Besides he has spent a better part of his life in the Military. So Democracy, in all probability, will be a casualty!

  • 2
    2

    I agree with Eagle Eye regarding 15 th amendment to the constitution. This amendment should be abolished. Premadasa never understood the consequences of this dangerous amendment.

  • 0
    1

    Any security considerations need to consider how and what ways western countries or NATO exerts their influence on us. China and India can not forget that they are big countries and west is trying to dismantle those countries and Sri lanka is an important center for that. HYBRID WAR is active in Sri lanka. IT uses every possible avenue. SO, those who protect the country think about that. How are they going to protect the culture. do, they allow youth to go for Drugs, liquor, Beach parties, sex and irresponsible lives. Dismantling Asian way began even before the Sri lankan Independence. HyBRID war is the key word.Kings who defeated whole Asia finally went to non violence. Buddha encircled the whole Asia with non-violence. ROman kingdom was behind the Byzanthian kingdom. I told those for the long term objectives. Eventually NATO which goes for TRADE and WAR will fail.

  • 0
    1

    Good article. Nice terminology on how to balance good Democracy, Nationalism and Neo Liberalism..

    The epitome of all the above , the UNP had to cart supporters from far away places in the North and the South with a bottle Arrack, Bath Packet and a thousand Rupiah note as inducement to hold its Candidate’s inaugural Rally in Colombo….

    Will those supporters understand all this Terminology?.

    Srilanka has been strangled by the Hindians with their 13A, the British by their demand for a Two State Srilanka, UN sanctioned War Crime Trials, EUs GSP Plus ,and the US.s MCC.

    The strangulation which Dutugamunu mentioned before he ventured to retake Srilanka from the Indians was nothing in compared to what President Nandasena is facing..

    China is the only country which can help Srilanka to lift its Economy and its Growth.
    It was proved beyond doubt from 2009 to 2015 when the Economy grew at 6 % plus on average.

    With Dr Ranil in charge and pleasing all those Masters of Strangulation , the back fell off our Bottoms..with the growth slumping to a miserable 1.6 % this year.

    Hope China will make a significant and a ground breaking gesture like writing off some the Debts which will allow President Nandasena to make a rapid recovery of our Economy .
    And lift the Living Standards of the great majority who have been hammerd by the previous Lot..

    • 0
      1

      As there is inflation too, if the growth is 1.6%, net growth should be minus or economic contraction. That is growth minus inflation

  • 5
    0

    What about the ‘unbalance’ of the UNP ?

    Looks like its ghost like ‘leader’ wants to remain leader to ‘reorganise’ the UNP ! !

    This whole political system never was designed to have such a sick, insensitive and manipulative leader.

    In a sick society like in Sri Lanka , a germ like Ranil can continue forever !

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    Hey. We pohottu guys under Gota will make this a truly Sinhalese Buddhist country. Mslims, Tamils, and Christians should better get used to it.

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    Kebab please dont leave MS. He says he will “rise like a Phoenix”.

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    If people think seventy years is too short of a time line for any changes “The tunnel never ends to see any day light”. In medicine a word of caution, repeatedly mentioned “Hope is good but Denial is not “

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    Chiv, I agree that MS should retire.Having been the President he should not be a MP now.

    But at least MS became President in his first attempt.

    By having the courage to contest and defeat the Rajapakses he may have saved the country from a family dictatorship in 2015( MS did not hide behind a Sarath Fonseks but faced the Rajapakse juggernaut)

    Also, there is no major corruption case against him unlike Ranil who is guilty of the Bond scam and associated with many others like the Turkish barge racket.

    Also , those who followed MS, ( SLFP) are again in the government as Ministers.

    Where is the UNP and its followers ?

    Analysing the reasons for the defeat for the 35th time ! The big Jonah , the elephant in the room is right there , but they don’t see it.

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    A GOOD ESSAY.YOU ARE DG ,INSTITUTE OF NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES; WERE YOU SLEEPING WHEN AN ENVIRONMENT TO OCCUR MAY 2019 DISASTER DEVELOPED.
    LIKE THE SON;LIKE THE FATHER

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    Kebab, point well taken. This explains the pathetic situation we are in now. With the same old people around, “Do you think another seventy years will make any difference” ?????

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    “Sri Lanka at cross roads” was before elections . “Sorry Lanka on highway or my way , is post elections.

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