20 September, 2020

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Reign Of The Rajapaksa Rājya

By Lucien Rajakarunanayake

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The voters of Sri Lanka have with a huge majority cleared the path for a monarchy in the country – the Kingdom of the Rajapaksas – or Rajapaksa Rajya.

The chairman of the victorious Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) says the resounding victory is an achievement without parallel in any country at any time. It brought a two-thirds plus majority in a parliament of 225 members. It is certainly unparalleled in the world where a democracy based on universal franchise has voted to establish a monarchy after seven decades of democratic governance, bringing in the reign of the Rajapaksas – those who support the Royalty.

Its exceptional status globally is how a democracy can move into a realm, ensuring the sovereignty of a single family, moving from universal franchise to a grand revival of the royal or Rajya Rule, that Sri Lanka has had in its history of more than 2,000 years, before democracy came towards the end of British colonial rule in the 1930s. The calls for the revival of the monarchic traditions and feudal trends is not unheard.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, twice President and current Prime Minister, brother – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and all others in this realm of dominance have gained their peak of power, just as the Royal rulers of the past. The bloodline of the Rajapaksas who dominate the SLPP membership in the new parliament are brothers, sons, nephews and cousins, both old and young, who make the pedigree of the new realm – also possibly not seen anywhere else.

It is a political saga that has beaten all previous political leaders. Getting two-thirds from an election based on proportional representation is certainly bigger than JR Jayewardene’s 1977 five-sixth majority in the old parliament, with lesser seats and elected on first-past-the-post.

The Rajapaksa Rajya now has the power given by the people to have a new constitution, the main call of the SLPP in the polls campaign, with no draft or any details of what the constitution should be, its political goals or aims in governance. One target of the SLPP and Rajapakas is the amendment or removal of the 19th Amendment to the present constitution, adopted by the last parliament, which reduced the authoritative powers of the Executive Presidency, and gave more power to Parliament in the cause of wider democracy.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in his last presidency – 2009 to 2015 – obtained a politically and functionally purchased 2/3 majority in parliament, to remove the two term limit for the President, and extend it to any number of terms; removed the independence of important institutions such as the Elections, Human Rights, Police, and Judicial Service commissions, and bring them under the president’s direction.

Those with faith in democracy, or the sovereignty of the people through the ballot, must now begin to think of how meaningful this sovereignty is or will be once a new constitution is enacted or the 19th Amendment removed. The 19A brought back the presidential term to two, and revived the independence of many state institutions, ensured the Right to Information, and increased the age limit for a president to 35 years from 30, which would have benefitted a younger Rajapaksa in the waiting.

The thinking on a new constitution could very well seek to change all these pro-democratic changes of 19A, and bring in aspects of governance that have much to to with constitutional dominance of the Sinhala-Buddhist majority, as well as amendments, reductions to or removals of the powers of the Provincial Councils and curtailment of already limited minority rights.

There are shortcomings in the 19A which require consensual agreement among parties in parliament. But the availability of a huge two-thirds plus majority to the Rajapaksa Regime does not promise much of such consensus. The one hope the people can have is the need for a national referendum to adopt a new constitution. But, the pro-Rajapaksa thinking of the people that saw the rise of this new regime, has little hope for democratic awareness on the substance of a new constitution.

The Rajapaksas can take pride in their achieving such a decisive victory in a wholly free and fair election, organized so well by an independent Elections Commission, with a polling in excess of 70 percent, and at what hopefully is the tailend of Coronavirus trail. Such pride is not likely to last long as the search for wider dominance over government and people becomes the goal of the realm.

Let’s make no mistake, this search for dominance by a Rajapaksa Regime is what the people wanted, the reality of this electoral democracy. This is what a huge majority showed they wanted in three elections – the last Local Government poll in 1918, the Presidential Election last November, and this General Election.

Sri Lanka has come to the deeper and even deadly political reality of majority rule through the ballot. We have given hope to all political leaders who seek overall dominance away from the democratic values of universal franchise. Sri Lanka will go down in the annals of modern politics as a country that elected a Kingdom from an electorate of citizens, who have shown a desire to be the vassals of the realm. This is clearly what the voters wanted and they have every right to enjoy this victory of democratic choice.

What about those who have been defeated in this rise of a new kingdom. The biggest defeat came to the Elephant, the powerful jumbo of politics, the symbol of the United National Party (UNP) from 1948, which has been thrown even beyond the wild; not winning a single seat in this election. In the UNP’s traditional stronghold of the city of Colombo, even a single lame elephant has not been elected. Looking back at the trend of politics, the leaders of the UNP – Ranil Wickremesinghe and Ravi Karunanayake – both from Colombo, must understand why the people turned against them so harshly and decisively. Mr. Wickremesinghe who obtained a 500,000 plus majority in the 2015 election, could not even get 5 percent for election this time. The UNP gave leadership to the promise of Yahapalana or Good Governance in January 2015. What did it do in the fight against corruption, by the Rajapaksas, that brought the UNP-led alliance to power?

The various institutions of government that are meant to deal with corruption were so slow, weak and twisty in fighting the forces of corruption and fraud, other than many and lengthy days in Remand Custody, without a single member of the previous Rajapaksa regime punished under the law. The people have now shown who needs punishment for this political crookedness. The emergence of the Rajapaksa Rajya is certainly the result of the hugely farcical moves in supposedly fighting corruption that the UNP, and Maithripala Sirisena-led SLFP, shamelessly displayed, through a near five year domain of political cheaters.

The humiliating defeat of Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP shows the people have certainly taken revenge and more for what was done with the two Central Bank Bond Scams.
The voters have avenged those who had crooked deals with a dodgy Governor of the Central Bank, who and which was wrongly under the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe; and the nefarious benefits that the ever forgetful Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake obtained from the Perpetual Swindlers on Treasury Bills. The voters have not forgotten the warped move on a Volkswagen factory and many other moves by the leader and key members of the UNP.

There are many who think the huge defeat of the party with the symbol of the elephant, could be due to the curse of the wild elephants so threatened with death today, on those who have been crookedly silent on mounting dangers faced by the elephants in our jungles today, while using it as a political symbol. Let’s hope the defeat of this political elephant, may lead to the public looking with more concern and sympathy for the elephants being killed so often, with their wild terrain shrinking daily.

It is also noteworthy that a majority of those 145 elected to the SLPP team in parliament, and most of the 19 nominated members of this team, are persons with huge allegations of corruption, many with cases against them in a hugely delayed legal system, and those who were ever willing to be supportive of the corruption of the Rajapaksa government from 2009 to 2015, which corruption led to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s defeat in January 2015.

The winners of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB – United Peoples’ Power) will certainly have to build their own place and positions in the parliament under the new Rajya. Its leader broke away from the UNP on the issue of leadership, with Ranil Wickremesinghe hanging on despite overall failure. There are questions about the leadership capability of Sajith Premadasa, son of former President Ranasinghe Premadasa; but the voters of Colombo stood with him strongly, as they did with his father many years ago. Does the SJB have a line of leadership that can effectively criticise, oppose and also advise the powers and beneficiaries of the Rajapaksa Rajya? One must not forget that most backbench members of the SJB bowed down and even supported the larger corruption of the UNP leaders. There is a major need for a clean opposition, away from the dangers of being dominated by a realm of massive power.

It will be good if the key memes of this Opposition spend more time in the library of parliament, to read and learn more of how the weighty opposition leaders of the past such and NM Perera, Colvin R de Silva, Dudley Senanayake, MD Banda and others, performed in dealing with different governments, in the early years of universal franchise.

They will have a major role to play in opposing moves for undemocratic changes to the constitution, and keep the voice and minds of the people alive on the rising issues of economic hardships, rising unemployment, the hardships faced by the agricultural and fisheries sectors, and the rising needs and demands of the youth. The Rajapaksa Rajya, with its huge power in parliament, will certainly seek to race through policies that will have strong links to fraud and corruption, as seen in the past.

The opposition members of the minority parties, so much smaller in this parliament, will also have to rethink their goals and strategies, in a situation when majority dominance has been the overall message of the voters. The results did show increasing differences among the political parties of the Tamil minority, and divisions among the Tamil people too. The Muslim parties must also do more study how they must represent the Muslim people in the new political and wider national context.

The old State Council was called the Rajya Sabhava in Sinhala, when we were under the British monarchy. The next parliament will certainly be a new and definite House of Royalty – Rajamedura. The Opposition will have to learn the new behavior and traditions of a Rajamedura or Raajasabhava of the Rajapaksa Rajya.

Sri Lankans must begin to settle down under the new Regime so decidedly elected by the voters of Sri Lanka, with majoritarian dominance through the power of universal franchise, so close to the current trend in our closest neighbour, India. The sovereignty of the people to the sovereignty of the Rajapaksas — Rajapaksa Rajya. Vandana, Vandana!

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Latest comments

  • 10
    17

    Not unprecedented at all. look at Singapore, Malaysia.

    • 7
      1

      Whenever we see them, they are in the mood of putthing their arms in front of them, in the gesture of worshiping, but is their any single person in that MEDAMULANA family be considered as serious and strong buddhist ?
      :
      Not even their domestic dogs and cats would be seen as violent free. This time what happened to the people was they were made believed that COVID crisis they managed as no other even going beyond AMERICANS. There were the propaganda in local media through that two launderies. Hiru and Derana TV channels.
      :
      Our people are even more stupidier than appeared to be, what I heard from a GERMAN who was then close Rajakshe family, and even lived decades long srilanka for some helping programme to the poor. He said to me lately, Rajakshes are born criminals, and woul dnever think twice before going to do harm to own people. They only focus on their pocket filling tactics for a family dynasty after MAHINDA Jarapakashe.
      :
      Our problem is whole lot of poor people being caught by their tricks being played on their dragging their votes- poor man’s most valuble oranment I would say. From now on, what we could see it anything according to their thugs and their actions.

    • 1
      1

      There are rumours that over 50% of the state funds will be allocated to the ministries of the medamulana high criminals’ ministries. This was the question also prior to 2015, because ballige puthas made any decisions, about the country during their tea meetings and ruined collosal amounts of statefunds making the very nation eternal debtors to Chinese and other firms.
      :
      We from Europe yet today, did not hear a single word pleasing and about Rajakshe era being dawned to the country. In contrary to that, my friends kept travelling to the country from UK feel the security in Srilanka will no longer be strenghtherend by Rajakshes, but they would breed more of that that Tanglle rapist, a rajakashe family man who once killed a fiance of a russian tourist, a british national, but upon the plea made by PRINCE charles only, some sort of justice was served in that regard. So, even if lovely ones would have been day light murdered, PEOPLE would not utter a single word, … being that brainwashed, … for pleasing their high criminals. However, my wish is these criminals to get what they divinely deserve sooner than later. From the apperence on, MR looks as if a heart attack would kill him tomorrow, but wait and see.

  • 27
    7

    “Reign Of The Rajapaksa Rājya” are you sure
    its going to be fun in the coming days.
    Presidents Task Force vs the Prime Ministers Cabinet
    Will the President order the cabinet to be accountable to the PTF
    Will Mahinda, after master minding both the presidential election and the General election., go ahead with abolishing the 19th Amendment and hand over the power to his brother.

    The battle between PTF and Cabinet is coming sit back and enjoy

    • 3
      9

      Rajapaksa Raajya? Sri Lanka Sinhalese Aryans Kingdom, Parliament Election 2020, Sinhalese Aryans voted 97% Sinhalese MPS to parliament. Sri Lanka belongs to Sinhalese Aryans and bygone days it’s named Heladiva (Helayans means Sinhalese Aryans, Sri Lanka))

  • 14
    7

    ‘The voters of Sri Lanka have with a huge majority cleared the path for a monarchy in the country – the Kingdom of the Rajapaksas – or Rajapaksa Rajya.’

    Its too early to celebrate to start with. Looking at rejected votes indicate need for answers. Looking at the number of votes obtained by some of the candidates too cast doubts.

    Analysis of the votes obtained will speak volumes. Nothing personal, but the results are not genuine.

    Further, the haste at which election was held, not allowing observers, no violence as tradition warrants all sounds suspicious. The conspirators capitalized on the divisive politics, but failed to wipe out signatures.

    Sri Lankans are too innocent for conspiracies of this nature. Intelligent community should check this out before celebration.

    If the verdict that it is genuine, the people and the politicians will deserve the outcome.

  • 16
    1

    We have question why people of Sri Lanka appointed Rajapkses tainted with corruption and family rule. People don’t care about the corruption they seem to want Sinhalese Buddhist recognition. Rajapkses exploits this notion again and again and people can’t but believe them. Also When Tamil and Muslim parties demands their communal rights , end results will be stronger Rajapakse regime.
    Other factor was Ranil Wickramasinghe who came to power promising punishment against corrupt politician did double deal with Rajapakse family and protected them. He also protected corrupt people in his own side like Ravi, Allosius.
    Good thing is SJB now has less corrupt people and they can build up better party.
    My fear is Rajapakse will abolished all independent commissions paving way to autocratic rule.

    • 11
      3

      Tamil and Muslims ( In reality ethnic Tamil Muslims , as Muslim includes Malay Borah, Memon and many others who are Muslim by religion but of different ethnicity. Islam is a religion not an ethnicity ) have every right to demand for their just rights, that is now being denied to them by a racist Sinhalese majority and government , as this is their land too not just Sinhalese land , as many falsely believe. Demanding your just rights in your own land is not communal , What the Sinhalese are doing is racist and communal. 1/3 of the island has always been inhabited and ruled by Tamils . The Sinhalese never had any say in these lands , until the British gave them and the hapless Tamils to them on a platter in 1948. Therefore calling the island a Sinhala only land is a travesty and a big lie. The British had no right to have done this and now sitting mum and encouraging Sinhalese racists.

      • 3
        7

        Rohan25,
        “as this is their land too not just Sinhalese land , as many falsely believe. Demanding your just rights in your own land is not communal”

        Get the hell out without uttering blatant lies. This is the land of Sinhalayo and Vedda Eththo. All the others who live in this country are aliens who were given citizenship by Native Sinhalayo. They can live as equal citizens but have no right to talk about their rights.
        ===
        “The Sinhalese never had any say in these lands , until the British gave them and the hapless Tamils to them on a platter in 1948.”

        British did not give any Tamil land to Sinhalayo. British colonized Sinhale and they returned that to Sinhalayo in 1948.
        ===
        As a descendant of a slave from Hindusthan, may be you do not know the history of Sinhale. Except for few remnants from Dravida invaders, there were no Demalu in Sinhale before colonial rule. Colonial parasites brought millions of Demalu as slaves and dumped in Yapanaya and Central highlands giving a headache to Native Sinhalayo.

  • 12
    1

    Brilliant piece Lucian. A British Governor in then Ceylon in 1910 said if power is given to self administer it will be managed by a few families. How far-sighted. Checklist: Senanayakas, Bandaranaikes, Jayawardenes, & Rajapakses. Among the exceptions, Dahanayaka, Wijeykoon, Maithripala Sirisena, Premadasa (until the son joins)

  • 11
    5

    All this time from independence the island’s Eelam Tamils had their identity but had no just rights , very soon under this monarchy of one race , one people they will soon loose their ancient 2500 year old identity and their remaining lands. Fake historians and Sinhalese extremist Fascists , backed by the Archeological Department will be soon running around the North and East with concocted history and fake relics , claiming everything to be ancient Sinhalese Buddhist . No one will oppose them , as the west and India have given the greenlight and overt and covert support for this genocide.

    • 13
      4

      The TNA has been an utter failure , especially under that egotist Sumanthiran. They achieved nothing and were also allowed not to achieve anything. The biggest contributor to the War criminal Rajapakse victory is that idiot Pirapakaran. A powerful , talented , charismatic man who was able to achieve so much and lead people. A man who could have achieved so much for his own down trodden people , like he set about doing so , at the beginning. Had the goodwill and support of the world for this. However lost his way later, due to stubbornness, arrogance and wrong advise. Became a megalomaniac, did not understand the world post Sept 2001. How to make realistic deals( Federalism instead of separate state) from a then position of strength and made many enemies of all his former allies The worst his he was the cause of bringing these racist war criminal Rajapakses into power. In the end instead of helping his own people like he set to do , he only made their position worse and damned them to horrible fate and became the best friend and asset for the Sinhalese, especially the Rajapakses. Instead of achieving dignity and safe guarding the identity , lands of the island’s Tamils, he only has done the opposite , made their position worse and put powerful , crooked war criminal Sinhalese racists into power to damn his people

    • 2
      4

      Right from the Independent Sri Lanka ruling by Sinhalese Aryans. According to the latest report by CIA 78.9% Sinhalese Aryans, 11.22% Sri Lanka Tamils, 4.2% Indian Tamils, 9.2% Sinhalese Muslims and 0.5% others (Malay & Burgers). In the year 1701 Sri Lanka’s (Ceylon) Sinhalese Aryans Population 85%. Cambodia belongs to Cambodians, Malaysia Belongs to Malays, Korea belongs to Koreans, Thailand belongs to Thai people, Japan belongs to Japanese, China belongs to Chinese, Nepal belongs to Nepalese, Iran Belongs to Iranians and the entire middle east belongs to Arabs even Sri Lanka belongs to Sinhalese Aryans.

  • 9
    0

    Part 1
    The intelligentsia of the Sinhalese society seem highly worried about the loss of democracy as we have come to know in Sri Lanka. The fear is that a permanent one party rule may be in the offing and will be the death knell to the “government of the people, by the people, for the people, .” rule. It is a justifiable fear.
    But if you look at Malaysia and Singapore this fear may not be totally justifiable. There is one party rule in Malaysia and Singapore ( except in the last election in Malaysia.) People in both these countries do not feel that they are not free. Minority ethnic groups in both these countries are treated better than in the multi party Sri Lanka. In Malaysia indigenous non Malay ethnic groups are also treated as ‘Sons of the soil’ called Bumiputhras. In those two countries elections are held every five years to ensure people are happy with them.
    If you spend time in Tamil areas of Sri Lanka today, you will find that ordinary people are least worried about who rules Sri Lanka. Their main worries are safety (from security forces and armed thugs), food, clothes, shelter etc.

  • 6
    1

    Part2
    To prove it they have elected at least five MPs who support the ruling party. Support for ITAK/TNA who usually represents Northeast Tamils is dwindling. Tamil people think that the approach to tackle their issues, as a block is not suitable any more. The government party is the beneficiary of this thinking this time.
    There is another point to note is that this was a free and fair election where most of the mainstream people and a fair section of the Tamil people have handed absolute power to the government party leading to a political system found in Malaysia and Singapore. The reasons for this change among majority community is similar to the reasons why Malaysians decided on one party rule.
    There is one blot in the otherwise free and fair election. This seems to have happened in the Jaffna district. Apparently the order of preferential votes was adjusted at the counting centre. Hope it’s not true. If true, hope that it was done with good intentions. This seems to be the only negative incident in the entire election process. Government may not be the only unseen hand involved. Who are the others? We will never know.

  • 7
    0

    The absolute majority is definitely mind boggling. Change has to happen and the people have voted.

  • 1
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

    For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 2
    2

    Sinhala racism completely bulldozed Tamil racism, Muslim racism and moderates. At least 10 Tamil and Muslims from SJB are likely to crossover to Rajapaksa regime. Is there anything left in the country for 160 parasites to feast upon?

    Rajapaksas will be forced to tear the existing constitution and introduce a Sinhala Buddhist constitution. If they don’t they all go home the next time.

  • 7
    0

    For those observers who think Sri Lanka has matured, have a look at the road toll statistics. Every single day, around ten people die on the roads almost always due to people wanting to get ahead when totally inappropriate. Hundreds are crippled for life. Has this trend accelerated or decelerated? Look at the notion of discrimination. Policemen stopping drivers can openly remark “Muslim neyder?” while implying that they’re lower. Has this happened in earlier decades? No. Now people have voted for what the author says is a kingdom. How consistent is that decision with the issue of declining social values? Is that a similar trend or not? Party policies or records have less to do here than social values.

  • 2
    0

    A comment that I would like to add to this piece is that in reality Sajith and the SJB are the UNP – or a part thereof – by another name. Consider:
    a) ALL key leaders – Sajith, Madduma Bandara, Tissa Attanayake. Imthiaz Bakeer, Harin Fernando, Eran Wickremaratne, Malik Sam’wick – are all hardcore, traditional, born and bred UNPers
    b) If there had been no leadership split everyone would all been together in one UNP – we would never have seen a SJB. The fight was about which leader can pull more votes; NOTHING to do with policies.
    c) There is no set of policies or programmes distinct from the UNP expounded by the SJB.
    d) Those who see a new mass people-oriented, non-liberal SJB that is distinct from the UNP are just dreaming; or worse no they are manufacturing false theories for a living
    e) Finally and conclusively, the SJB-vote was the traditional UNP vote bank which marked Telephone instead of Elephant. It is NOT a different or distinct mass of people.

  • 5
    0

    Rohan 25 – “The biggest contributor to the War criminal Rajapakse victory is that idiot Pirapakaran.”

    I agree wholeheartedly. Pirapakaran in other words betrayed the entire Tamil community.

    • 3
      1

      Prabakaran one of the human butcher in this world. He killed innocent Tamils, Politicians, Muslims, Sinhalese, Buddhist Monks, Preist, etc.

  • 1
    0

    What did it UNP do in the fight against corruption, that brought the UNP-led alliance to power?

    Let the new Government fight against corruption, that brought the to power on Aug 05, 2020.

    Late R. Premadas introdused most powerful warriors they are patience and time that is Importance of punctuality denoted by the clock tower that he constructed in all juctions. Last 5 year Lost time is never found again, The new goverment must understand Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.

  • 7
    0

    Leaving politicians aside, what does this say about he voter?

    “Former UPFA Deputy Minister Premalal Jayasekera, recently sentenced to death over a killing at Kahawatte, Ratnapura, in early January 2015, would be gazetted as an SLPP (Sri Lanka Podujana Peramauna) MP, Election Commission and Parliament officials told The Island yesterday.

    Jayasekera polled 142,037, the second highest number of preferential votes in the Ratnapura district.”

  • 3
    2

    I heard that Chinese now love this new addition to their take away menu. Sri Lanka. They called the appetizer Mahi Loo the main Kota pai loo and the desert Basil loo. They also love their new drink Chingka loo

  • 1
    0

    Lucien is a very senior journalist, perhaps now a guru of the gurus of young who took to the profession. He prefers to describe that the voters are for the establishment of a monarchy (virtual). Sri Lanka has a history of voting an existing regime out even resoundingly because of the conduct of the outgoing regime. Did people vote in 2015 to establish the utopian “Yahapalanya”? Speaking for myself I was disgusted of the opulent conduct, especially of the three presidential princes. The dismal failure of the “Yahapalana” set up needs no further description. In the same negative sense, the “Yahapalana” record was not to face elections. Its approach to revive a dissolved Parliament and continue postponing the elections without limit in the face of the COVID 19 virus too enraged some of the voters describing this as the “ruddy limit”. Lucien talks of political crookedness and the revenge of the voters. Yes! The same fate awaits the present lot if it chooses to go the wrong way. It cannot afford to give the Nelsonian view of wrong doings by their supporters as it did prior to 2015.

  • 1
    0

    Lucien is correct in describing this election as “The voters of Sri Lanka have with a huge majority cleared the path for a monarchy in the country – the Kingdom of the Rajapaksas – or Rajapaksa Rajya.”

    When looking at the East Asian Countries, most of them grew at impressive rates under such regimes. The people who are disappointed with the low growth performance of rogues in democratic governments elected during the last 70 years, appear to have decided that such a rule should be given a chance. I only hope Sri Lanka will still have an icing of being a democratic country under the Rajapaksa rule.

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