18 June, 2018

Blog

Revival Of National Unity Government Is Still Possible 

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

President Maithripala Sirisena’s speech at the commemoration event for the late Ven Madulawave Sobitha Thero, was another indication that all was not well within the unity government. The venerable monk was the person who welded several disparate political parties and civic groups together to challenge the might of the Rajapaksa government. The previous government exemplified the Rule of Men and not the Rule of Law, which its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission warned against. Its leaders still show little or no remorse for the violations of law and human rights in the past. The commemoration held in the venerable monk’s honour was intended to be an occasion for remembering what he had stood for and the promises that those who had worked with him made regarding good governance and against corruption. Instead of which, President Sirisena made it into an occasion to severely criticize the outcome of that endeavor.

At the outset of his speech at the commemoration event, President Sirisena expressed his disappointment that he had not been invited to the commemoration event. The president stated that he had not been invited for the event or that such an invitation had reached him. The initial assessment of the president’s speech was that he had been piqued by being marginalized at the event. However, the president’s outburst on the occasion of the commemoration event may not have been driver solely by emotion. The fact that the executive committee of the SLFP along with the SLFP Central Committee, and the All Island Working Committee was set to meet four days later suggests that there was another calculation underlying the president’s public stance.

At this crucial meeting of the SLFP at which officer bearers of the party were elected, several of the key positions went to the breakaway group of 16 SLFP parliamentarians who recently left the government and now sit as an independent group in parliament. This group has pledged that their intention is to reunify the SLFP which is currently split, albeit unequally, into two factions, one of which is loyal to President Sirisena while the other accords primacy to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. The local government election results of February 2018 showed that the faction led by the former president is by far the dominant faction.

Main Obstacle 

The intention of the group of 16 is to strengthen the SLFP which has fallen into third place behind the UNP and the newly formed SLPP that is led by the former president. They are all members of the SLFP who have accepted the leadership of President Sirisena. But they do not see a future for themselves or for the SLFP if it continues to remain divided with a section of the party loyal to the president and another to the former president. This concern has become more urgent as the next set of presidential and parliamentary elections approach barely 16 months away. Their stated goal is not to amalgamate the party under the banner of the SLPP headed by the former president, but to reunite the SLFP which is presently under the leadership of President Sirisena.

The president’s speech at the commemoration event made it clear that he was on the side of the SLFP more than with the government which he bitterly criticized. The implied message of his speech was that he is prepared to leave the coalition with the UNP if he could reunify the SLFP under his leadership. The president both criticized the policies and practices of the government head heads and also referred to efforts to undermine him politically from within the government. Given the results of the local government elections in February 2018 in which the newly formed SLPP headed by the former president fared better than both the UNP and SLFP, reuniting the SLFP is a priority aspiration of President Sirisena as well as the group of 16.

President Sirisena’s goal would be to lead a reunited SLFP and not be the leader who led it to irreversible decline and marginalization from its long history as one of the two main political parties which has given the country’s politics a two-party character for over six decades. However, the chief obstacle to this aspiration would be the former president, and other leaders of the former government who now lead the SLPP, who would not wish to yield the position that the SLPP has obtained through their charisma and campaigning over the course of the past three years. It is this contradiction that can prevent President Sirisena from achieving his ambition with regard to the SLFP. It is also the crucial factor that makes the continuation of the National Unity Government still possible.

Continuation Possible

The challenge for the UNP leadership is to negotiate an agreement with President Sirisena which includes those parliamentarians of the SLFP who continue to remain in the government. The best option for the country to ensure the late Ven Maduluwave Sobitha’s vision of good governance and non-corrupt government would be for President Sirisena and the UNP leadership to come to a negotiated settlement regarding power sharing between the two parties. Negotiations regarding power sharing are not new to the country as they have been engaged in to seek a resolution of the ethnic conflict in the past. A successful effort at reaching a power sharing agreement between the UNP and SLFP could be an inspiration for the power sharing that likewise needs to take place between the government and ethnic minority parties.

The news media has reported that the President is engaging the country’s two main political groupings, the UNP and the Joint Opposition at the same time. He continues to keep his options open. Despite his concern for his own political future, the value framework that the Ven Maduluwave Sobitha set in 2015 continues to motivate the president and needs to be protected. While the group of 16 are attempting to reunify the SLFP another group of SLFP parliamentarians who have remained in the government as ministers are reported to be engaging with UNP leaders to discuss the formulation of a common development programme and matters related to future elections, including the upcoming Provincial Council elections which the president has pledged will be held this year.

President Sirisena’s May 8 speech to parliament set out many accomplishments and plans of the National Unity Government that need to be explained to the general population. The problem is that most of the people in the country are either unaware of what the government has accomplished in the past three years or are overlooking them because they are not visible and material. Likewise the plans of the government for economic development and national reconciliation have been made but not yet explained to the people. The continuation of the National Unity Government is important so that the gains made in terms of restoring the rule of law and improving human rights are protected for the well-being and future development of the country.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 7
    1

    oh pl. JP spare us you tosh!

    We need to invite Mr. Mahatir from Malaysia to come to Lanka, and lock up bondscam Ranil, corrupt clown Sira and Mahinda and Gota Jarapassa and all their cronies!

  • 1
    4

    I’m happy if the two reunite again, it would be in the interest of the country

  • 4
    1

    This author should read Prof. H.L. Seniviratne’s article, and Fr. Peris Support letter in Island on new non-political party to save Lanka from Bondscam Ranil and Sira and Jarapassa and cronis.
    New out of box solutions are needed today, not corrupt old political criminals of Diyawanna Parliament of morons.

    Father P. supports lawyer and anti corruption activist Mr. Kodituwakku for Prez. like Macron in France,
    Me too, shall join the Force!

  • 2
    1

    JEhan PErera:: YES, it is possible if the voters are too that DUMB. President Sirisena is hiding the PCOLI report and he is allowing the another corrupt nationalist MP, KAru Jayasooriya, to give out the COPE committee members list. That is how president Sirisena is honest and cheating the voters. All are FRAUDSTERS.

  • 2
    0

    Jehan PErera: How about the 118 MPS that the Yahapalana aka Unity govt.

    • 1
      0

      The title alone suggests Johan Perera is on another planet.

  • 1
    1

    UNP with it’s market oriented policies and SLFP with it’s socialist policies are like Chalk & Cheese. There is no point in increasing the divisions within the ruling government by inviting those who have no confidence in the Prime Minister.

  • 2
    0

    There is nothing to review to destroy Sri Lanka. We have had enough of this Yahapalanaya government. If there is any thing to review that should be decided by the people of Sri Lanka through democratic vote. That is democracy. What we need at this hour is the Parliamentary and Presidential elections.

    The UNP and SLFP MY 3 factions have proved beyond any doubt that they can not govern the country to drive for prosperity. What we need is a strong government run by people like Lee Kwan Yu or Mahathir Mohamed. [edited out]

    • 3
      1

      Sunil,
      Elections won’t change anything and it will not produce people like Kwan Yu or Mahathir Mohamed. As it is, people have no choice to elect other than electing the same old power greedy politicians. Giving one thief to another master thief is not the solution. People have to identify a new blood personality and develop that blood personality who can unite the people to challenge both thieves . There is enough time (500 days) to do that and it is the time for civil societies to search for that new blood.

  • 0
    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
      1

      Percy the disturbed and pathetic brain dead racist

      Brilliant.
      Keep up your good work.

  • 2
    1

    Signs of desperation eh JP? First solve the mystery of the 100 Day Programme ?Sirisena says he is against it. UNP says it is not their creation, Itis Sobitha then who is responsible. Any of his golayas around to answer.

    • 2
      2

      Pervy

      Why confess now?

      Pervy meaning-Behaving or appearing like a sexual pervert

      • 3
        2

        Stupid Tamil Vedda
        What’s your problem you communalist. Not happy with the
        plugging you received first time round? OK give me a moment, and keep all those orifices well oiled in the meantime.

        • 1
          2

          Percy the pervy

          “OK give me a moment”

          Are you looking for the hot iron rod that Savagendra used to explore VP’s anus? Just after ending of the war Basil collected all the metal pieces and sold them for good price.

          • 1
            2

            Be a little patient Tamil Vedda. Don’t jump the gun. Wait for your turn for that hot rod. What will you not do in the name of Eelam.??!! Do you still have cyanide capsule?

  • 1
    4

    Percey

    We have a load of Tamil racists in ct why ct promote and nurture them I cant understand and believe

  • 1
    3

    Jehan Perera has reformed a lot lately, Is he a new Patriot?

  • 2
    2

    There is so and too much pro Tamil stuff in ct. Sinhalese, let’s leave ct

    • 1
      0

      Luke,
      No point in leaving CT. Sinhalese police and military should leave Tamil Nation.

  • 0
    0

    Jehan, you have said:
    .

    “The best option for the country to ensure [the continuation of] the late Ven Maduluwave Sobitha’s vision of good governance and non-corrupt government would be for President Sirisena and the UNP leadership to come to a negotiated settlement regarding power sharing between the two parties.”
    .
    It may be that you and I are both desperately, desperately, sorry that Yahapalanaya is falling apart.
    .
    But just how can this coalition possibly measure up to Ven. Sobhitha’s vision when these guys are all proving either to be utterly corrupt or totally incompetent? Almost definitely they are both.
    .
    There’s no point kidding ourselves any more.
    .
    The one hope has to be that Nagananda’s message can be got across to all Sinhalese and at least some Tamils and Muslims. Guys like you, Colombo based and sophisticated, ought to help put together the message in an acceptable form.
    .
    Please stop blinding yourself to the reality. It helps nobody.

  • 1
    0

    By now we have to accept that democracy is not about getting majority votes but ALSO governing with checks and balances. This has to be constructive checks and balances, NOT self-survival checks and balances.

  • 2
    0

    President Sirisena won the elections not because of his popularity. SLFP which he left did not support his candidature. It was the UNP/TN/SLMC/JVP which campaigned for him. It is his move to lead the SLFP that has made him unpopular among the people. He now has less than 25 MPs supporting him. Even this motley crowd may desert him at the next elections. The 16 MPs who voted for the No confidence motion against the Prime Minister will eventually join hands with Mahinda Rajapaksa. There has been no other politician who has become so unpopular in such a short time. His behaviour or his speeches is not presidential at all. His tirade against Ranil blaming him for providing helicopter transport to ex-president is childish. It is common courtesy to afford such facilities to a president who lost the elections. He now says the 100 day programme was silly. Many will to agree with him. The 100 day programme including the enactment of the 19A was solid achievement. His stance that he will not put any soldier to face trial for war crimes shows how out of touch he is with geopolitics. The same goes to his opposition to the participation of foreign judges to investigate war crimes. It was when he was acting Defence Minister that hundreds of LTTE cadres who surrendered to the army on or around 18th May, 2009 have gone missing. Strictly speaking he also should be put on trial for committing war crimes.

  • 1
    0

    Don’t rush. we have to watch Jehan Perera closely. He was accused of separatist links in the past. Has he given them up and become a true patriot, only time will tell.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.