21 September, 2020

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Some Run, Some walk, Some Crawl And Some Stand Still

By Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

Tilvin Silva of the JVP made an interesting point at the commemoration of comrades slain in 1988-89: ‘Mahinda has already run half the race.’  The constitution favors incumbent. Authorities turn a blind eye on the abuse of state resources and indeed the institutional arrangement is so poor in terms of checks and balances that this is a ‘given’.  Citizens have, sadly, resolved to shoulder-shrug in a ‘par for the course’ sense. And then there’s the Opposition: broken, confused and running around in circles.  So yes, Tilvin has a point.

Mahinda Rajapaksa has been running for re-election since January 2010. He had the J R Jayewardene and Chandrika Kumaratunga presidencies to figure out the fate of a lame duck incumbent. His decline would begin on Day 1. He must have started plotting the 18th Amendment the moment he was re-elected.  He had the numbers in Parliament. He got it passed.

There was of course what appeared to be a hiccup in the form of the former Chief Justice, Sarath N Silva raising the issue of ineligibility. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake referring to this as well as the Supreme Court’s dismissal of the objection, claims that even a schoolboy would know that the President was ineligible.  This means that for four years, Anura as well as the JVP had the political maturity of toddlers.  After the SC determination, Silva says ‘nothing can be done now except defeat him’.  It is almost as though he brought the issue up to ensure that Rajapaksa would not be stumped on nomination day.

Sections of the Opposition briefly flirted with the idea of a Chandrika come-back. Ranil Wickremesinghe is reported to have supported the idea.  If this is true it only indicates that he doesn’t believe he can defeat Rajapaksa. Dayan Jayatilleka got it right when he said that if anyone can do worse than Ranil it is Chandrika. She was President for 11 years and has nothing to show for it.  She played hide and seek with the LTTE and came off second best.  She has nothing concrete to show compared to what Rajapaksa can brag about. Rajapaksa, moreover, presided over a comprehensive victory over terrorism.  Track records will be compared.  In any case, Silva’s antics have effectively dumped the Chandrika Candidacy idea in the bin.  She can keep out of things or she can support an Opposition candidate.  She would be a liability more than an asset in the latter case.

Mahinda sepeechMahinda has things to show. That counts. It counts more than things that begin with ‘If I am elected…’  He has his liabilities and handicaps but to make these count the Opposition has to start running, to take from Tilvin’s observation. Right now, though, while Mahinda has got off the blocks and is half way towards the finishing line, all the running that the Opposition seems to be doing is ‘in circles’.

Mahinda has the show-tell advantage. He has the regime-fatigue handicap. He has the incumbency edge, but has to deal with the fallout of non-deliverability on several issues. Abolishing the executive presidency is a non-issue for the average voter, but law and order is an in-your-face matter.  He has failed there and he can thank the thugs and crooks he has indulged or cultivated for this.  His coalition has not seemed as solid as it used to be.  There has been audible grumbling about the ‘Clan mentality of the Rajapaksas’.  These haven’t resulted in major cracks.  The Opposition, with its own confusion and fractures, is a hardly attractive place for dissenting voices to relocate.  As of now, only the JHU seems uncertain or supporting him for the third time.  There is no guarantee that a possible JHU exit would precipitate an exodus that is significant.

The weight of the ‘JHU factor’ will depend on whether they support someone put forward by the UNP or whether they decide to contest separately.  A JHU candidate would be a spoiler but it is hard to say who gets spoiled.  If Ranil is contesting, the Ranil-Mahinda gap could be so wide that the JHU would be a non-factor.  Such a candidate might get a few disgruntled votes from both sides. A Karu Jayasuriya candidacy might succeed in obtaining JHU support.  Whether this would translate into victory is left to be seen.

The Opposition right now appears hell bent on making most of the above irrelevant.  What the voter is seeing is a bunch of self-serving politicians under-cutting one another. Sajith Premadasa is playing spoiler. He knows he can’t defeat Rajapaksa and therefore he doesn’t want anyone else, particularly Karu Jayasuriya to have a shot the presidency.  He backs Ranil because he is banking on turning Ranil’s probably defeat into an edge in ousting the man as Party Leader.  He is balking from supporting Karu, perhaps thinking that he has an outside chance. Ranil holds the cards: he decides who will contest.  If he feels he can’t win then he would want to put forward a loser. Karu doesn’t know who to trust. The Opposition’s self-appointed spin-doctors are not helping by throwing other names into the hat:  Arjuna Ranatunga, Chandrika, Ven Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero and even Maithripala Sirisena of the SLFP (he has since ‘opted out,’ clearly signaling that the rank and file of the ruling party doesn’t want to gamble on an iffy Opposition candidate).

The JVP ran with Silva’s objection and is now left without a slogan. ‘Boycott’ seems to be the face-saving option, but this might result in further erosion of vote base in a possible General Election following the probable Presidential Election in early January.

Tilvin, then, is describing only part of the unfolding political. Mahinda is not only half way there, the Opposition is running in the opposite direction.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

 

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Latest comments

  • 6
    1

    Malinda Senevirathne’s eventuall goal is he himself.

    His job as the one writing supporting articles to the incumbent govt is his ladder for raising him along that path.

    hum..did useless degrees. Now this.

    What if, in case the the govt fails ?

  • 5
    2

    I’m not setting out to attack the writer, but some of the points he’s made here are laughable.

    “This means that for four years, Anura as well as the JVP had the political maturity of toddlers”- so… the JVP should’ve started protesting against a Presidential Election that was only informally announced a month or so ago, four years ago? Malinda, this is real life, not a science fiction movie. The JVP is a political party, not a set of kattadiyo to see and predict the future. Not at all defending the JVP for their blunders, but to imply that they should’ve started saying MR was ineligible from 2010 itself is a joke.

    “If this is true it only indicates that he doesn’t believe he can defeat Rajapaksa.”- isnt this the general consensus among the populace anyway? RW can’t seem to catch a break- if he puts himself forward, he’s deliberately sabotaging the opposition effort and destroying the hopes of the people; if he puts someone else forward, he’s a pathetic loser with no confidence in himself. Christ.

    “Dayan Jayatilleka got it right when he said that if anyone can do worse than Ranil it is Chandrika. She was President for 11 years and has nothing to show for it. … Rajapaksa, moreover, presided over a comprehensive victory over terrorism. Track records will be compared.”- Track records SHOULD be compared. As inefficient and useless as CBK was, the woman never took corruption, nepotism and lawlessness to the current levels. Nor did she go round shooting the country’s citizens at protests. Track records will be compared? Good. If not Mullativu, at least Weliweriya should be in people’s minds. Dayan Jayatilleka notwithstanding, the people got it right when “kamak na, yudde dinnane” became a humorous catchphrase to describe the kind of goings-on that have become common under this regime. Last time I checked, it’s not only Dayan that votes.

    There follows two paras after this where you talk about MR’s problems, and not one mentions the shooting and killing of civilians. People don’t forget massacres over the war ending and highways.

    “As of now, only the JHU seems uncertain or supporting him for the third time”- as a party, yes. Although again, very interesting that there is no mention of the Leftist trade unions deciding to abandon their party lines en masse and go against MR in the election.

    “…even Maithripala Sirisena of the SLFP (he has since ‘opted out,’…”- Sirisena has no choice but to publicly deny all of this. The man clearly wants to avoid an early grave. What is this, journalism for toddlers?

    Also, has it occurred to anyone that the opposition is deliberately not letting out details about the common candidate and is creating confusion deliberately? After all, this regime isn’t above murder, blackmail, or even highly publicized arrests of opposition candidates (Fonseka, Cinnamon Lakeside, Army). If I were the opposition, I’d keep the reveal as late as possible, lest the party had agreed to foot funeral expenses.

    Another one of Malinda’s very questionable “mokatada me enna hadanne?” articles.

    • 1
      2

      KP, a brilliant demolition job. Well done.

      Malinda Seneviratne is a shill [Edited out], singing for his breakfast, for his Master Mara [Edited out].

      I predict Malinda will cease to exist by February 1st.

  • 0
    2

    He will become a diaspora. But the problem is still people will be looking for him to give him a good meal!!

  • 0
    1

    We need at least 10 common candidates to defeat MR.

  • 1
    4

    Rani’s meet & greet photo with the London LTTE Rump delegation was tabled in Parliament.

    “Keslwatta Kid” changed his mind and made a public announcement that he will back CBK or Karu J in that order.

    The incumbent in the mean time is cranking up his campaign with massive blows to front runners in the CC Coalition.

    After pointing out the abuses of the Presidential and PM powers by the ex Prez and his cousin ex PM to help the LTTE. the incumbent directly accused the Royal Norwegian Govt of funding Prabakaran and the LTTE from year 2000 to 2008.

    He accused the Prabakaran’d chief mentor, Eric as the main driver of the LTTE campaign to destroy the country.

    And Solly is now going to be the main witness to give evidence to soon to be launched Ms Pillai’s Investigation in the Hage.said the Prez.

    With these accusations, will Ranil be suitable to be even the Junior Minister of
    Buddasasana..

    • 1
      0

      that why I strongly urge Mrs K A Sumansekera to be the common candidate for all the hard and low work her hubby does!

  • 2
    1

    Malinda Seneviratne

    RE: Some Run, Some walk, Some Crawl And Some Stand Still,

    Malinda, Some Run, Some walk, Some Crawl. Some Stand Still, Some Shill and Some Whitewash.

    Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor , Shill and Whtewasher of Rajapaksa Dynasty of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at http://www.malindawords.blogspot.com

  • 1
    2

    .
    Tamils liked VP for his stand against Sinhalese State Terrorism, and he ruled Tamils for over 20 years until his death.

    Sinhalese like Rajapakse’s for their stand against Tamil Terrorism, and they have no other choice but to vote for Rajapakse’s

    :-)

  • 3
    1

    No to third term please. We might end up with Millitary junta or mugabe. Both equally bad.

  • 1
    0

    Malinda’s article gives a fair picture of the current state of affairs re presidential race.
    Leadership of UNP should be have most realistically being the larget party in the opposition.
    The common candidate should be from the UNP but acceptable to all opposition groups and such person can only be Karu J. If the constituition is to be amended within the limited time frame
    and powers transferred to Parliament he would be the ideal person to carry out this function
    And depart from politics.

  • 0
    0

    Malinda S keeps on writing to CT in spite of severe criticism by CT readers. Yet this is not media freedom. To show that media freedom is still exist in Sri Lanka, what Malinda S should do, is to fight for lifting the ban on CT and to publish all critical comments written in publishable language, in the newspaper edited by him.

  • 0
    0

    Typical laptop journalism with sumane adding his two cents worth. They deserve each other, those two!
    Rajpaksas biggest need to win is so that he can’t be prosecuted while being head of state. Why don’t you pandankarayas address that fact instead of callling evryone except the Rajapassas liars?

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