9 August, 2020

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Sri Lanka’s Possible Post-Election Scenario 

By Eelaventhan Manickavasakar

Eelaventhan Manickavasakar

Sri Lanka’s General election which is due on August 5th 2020 is pitting four main parties, UNP, SLPP, NPF, JVP led by Sinhalese leaders Ranil Wickremesinghe, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sajith Premadasa and Anura Kumara Dissanayake along with several other independent groups including the extremist BBS led by chauvinist Gnanasara Thero. For the voters in the North and East, the main political parties are TNA, TNPF and TPNP led by Justice Wigneswaran which is first time testing its strength and popularity. A total number of 20 parties and several independence groups and more than 300 candidates are in the field in the Jaffna District.

It is a disturbing feature to note the entry of candidates from the UNP, SLFP and SLPP of Mahinda who all contributed and caused the miseries and sufferings of Tamils, and being instrumental in the commission of genocide against the Tamils, denial of fundamental rights and Justice.

The election campaign has reached its final stages and leaders of the parties based in the South PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa are vigorously campaigning targeting the majority vote of Sinhala-Buddhists. As expected, the confirmed pledge of these leaders is to make Sri Lanka exclusively to cater for the interests of Sinhala Buddhists by fulfilling their demands to establish a Sinahala-Buddhist State. This partisan genocide process agenda by implication strikes at the minorities Tamils and Muslims to make them non-entity without equal rights. As such, an agenda is set in motion involving the marginalization, assimilation and final elimination of the identities of Tamils and Muslims, their race, language, religion, culture, history and tradition.

In this respect each leader has founded his campaign exclusively on the platforms of Buddhists and Sinhalese at a frenzied pitch to better their political fortune and out beat their rivals with no concern or consideration of the problem and issues faced by the Tamils and Muslims. PM Mahinda Rajapaksa who promised 13+ is now calling for the removal of the 13th Amendment and 19th Amendment which to some extent provided some protection for the Tamils and the function of a democratic government The possible removal of these Amendments would be a body blow to the existence of Tamils as well as to the basic structure of a democratic government.

The lurking danger and fear is that a two-third majority for the present Government would make these changes possible and so also the ushering of a full fledge dictatorial rule by Rajapaksas who will unleash their executive powers without any checks and balances The worst affected in the scenario would be the Tamils and Muslims including journalists, human rights activists, critics and all opposition parties and groups. All in all freedom of the press and freedom of expressions will face the guillotine. In short, democracy can expect to have its death knell paving way for an entrenched family dictatorship unless it is dislodged by popular uprisings which is not usually relished and taken up by the complacent and docile Sri Lanka’s population. Sri Lanka’s parliament and the dictatorial discriminative democracy has been functioning as double barrel gun for the minorities and they will remain so until the minorities are permanently silenced.

Besides, even a simple majority Government of Rajapaksas will not spare the Tamils from hardships and undue interferences in their daily lives as the Government will embark on a full scale militarization of North and East. With the military taking control of civilian administration, keeping the Civil Service Department away in their functions, a climate of fear and insecurity would take hold and envelop the North and East due to military surveillance, road checks and possible arrests and detentions under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism act [PTA] of 1979. With the above scenario unfolding the conduct and actions of Members of Parliament elected from the North and East would not be expected to be defying and confronting the President Gotabaya’s and their military rule on the civilians in the North and East.

It is predicted that Tamil National Alliance [TNA] which has a zero performance having drawn a blank record since 2009 might capture the majority of seats in the North and East while the other seats will be shared by other parties and possibly one or two independent groups. Obtaining one or two seats by any party or group can never play a dominant role or even launching mass agitation or protests unless they agree to function as a united front with clear objectives and agenda. There is also the possibility that these parties and groups could be bought lured by the ruling Government’s offers of perks and privileges Simply stating a party with one or two Members of Parliament cannot don the role of crusaders or heroes for the Tamils unless they are prepared to sacrifice their comforts even their lives for the just causes of the Tamils.

Tamil National Alliance possibly with more Members of Parliament is not expected to perform anything worth not even the simple tasks expected from a leading party. Their 10 year performance from 2009 – 2019 is simply deplorable and disappointing. Their achievement during this period are nil except unconditional cooperation and flirtation with the “Good Governance” from 2015 to 2019. Speeches, statements and rhetoric in and outside Parliament are not tools to achieve our demands, instead what is needed is initiation of mass protests and agitation and participation with the civilian protesters who scored some successes in the East and Vanni when they foiled the attempt of Buddhist Monks and Sinhalese from seizing their lands to build Buddhist Vihara.  Tamil National Alliance is now a spent force surviving on its dwindling base support and might disintegrate when Sumanthiran takes control of it or when he accepts a ministerial post.  Justice C.V. Wigneswaran stated his desire to work with TNA  after the elections is confirming his endorsement and support for TNA though he criticizes TNA for electoral gains.

The stark truth is that currently there is no Tamil leader who possesses the strength, political will, determination and sincere to the causes and courage to lead the Tamils’ struggle for equality to live with dignity and confront the Buddhist leaders and halt their agenda of elimination of minorities to establish a Sinhala-Buddhist State bearing in mind that no Sinhalese Government will ever deliver a just permanent political settlement for the Tamils.

History has shown that the Tamil leaders right from S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, G.G. Ponnambalam, and now R. Sampanthan could not defeat the wiles and guiles of Sinhalese leader’s strategy and diplomacy but instead got themselves entrapped in the web of deceits, broken promises and Pacts including hand outs by the Sinhalese governments since 1948.

One should learn the history to avoid repeating it.

*M. K. Eelaventhan – Former Member of Parliament of Sri Lanka

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Latest comments

  • 7
    8

    Thanks for the outstanding article that is timely considering the election; Sri Lanka elections usually have full of violence. This election is tarnished due to the heavy military presence and interference and it is doubtful whether it may be a fair election.

    Sri Lanka is another example of failed and flawed democracies that is worse than authoritarian governments as they boast freedom, rule of law and Justice but crimes against humanity committed with impunity and political interference is at an unprecedented level;

    Only God can help the innocent civilians as after WWII, so called International Community is spineless and wasteful, Powerful nations are selfish, business oriented and no fairness or justice!

  • 6
    8

    Eelaventhan Manickavasakar,
    Why is TNA with a blank record since 2009 predicted to capture the majority of seats in the North and East?
    When you run down TNA, aren’t you running down those Tamils who elect them time after time.
    Are the Tamils so forgetful that you have to remind them of our history.
    Manickavasakar, don’t harbour such apprehensions. They remember. They remember how desperate you were to regain your seat that you lost due to too long a holiday that you took!

    • 8
      0

      Mr Nathan
      The Tamil people who vote for TNA do so , may be because there is no real alternative. They are still under the misapprehension that TNA will bring Federalism , which will never happen in SL. Not in your life time or in the next generation.

      • 4
        1

        umberto

        “They are still under the misapprehension that TNA will bring Federalism , which will never happen in SL. Not in your life time or in the next generation.”

        I wonder whether TULF brought in 13th Amendment.
        Why do you foolishly expect TNA to bring in Federalism?
        Are you suffering from any delusion that the Sinhala/Bautha state voluntarily amended its Official Language policy?

        I suggest you revisit your memory lane.

        • 0
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          Native Vedda
          Did you read what I wrote, Where did i say TNA will bring Federalism! I wrote people are under the misapprehension that TNA will bring Federalism. NOTE the word MISAPPREHENSION!!!
          Furhermore I wrote Federalism will never happen in your life time or in the next generation. Please read the text before commenting. I know you are along standing commentator in CT but you have to read the text before jumping in. Thank you

          • 1
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            umberto

            Nothing personal.
            Tell me how JR was persuaded to pass 13th Amendment?
            Was it Amirthalingam who got JR to amend Official language policy?

            Both were done for them by outsiders when the time was right.
            Do you believe Sri Lanka single handedly won the war against LTTE.

            Outsiders and VP won the war for MR and GR in the fulness of time.
            Similarly many things may happen, don’t dismiss anything.

            A group of progressive liberal young politicians may consider restructuring the entire state. Everything is possible including Federalism not because of Tamil demand but because devolution is the right choice for moving the country away from unworkable unitary rotten system.

            Outsider could speed up the whole process.
            My point is don’t dismiss anything.
            The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change.

      • 0
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        umberto,
        Where have I said that Tamils voted for TNA expecting them to deliver Federalism to them.
        Spare me of your harassment, please.

  • 9
    2

    ‘Tamil leaders….could not defeat the wiles and guiles of Sinhalese leader’s strategy and diplomacy…..’
    .
    And yet they relish calling the Sinhalese modayas, strange.

    • 3
      4

      Don’t mention that Tamil leaders could not defeat the wiles & guiles of Sinhalese Leader’s strategy and diplomacy. When Ranil Wickremasinghe was in difficulty it is Sampanthan & Sumanthiran who rescued him. This time they cannot keep on dragging. Even Gota said any one who speaks of Federalism will be imprisoned & G.L.Peiris also said Sampanthan is one of the dangerous people to Sri Lanka. Such statements signals the inability of the Sinhalese leaders and they fear Modi and the West if they speak against Federalism. It is up to the Tamils to send the TULF in toto which is certain to find a solution. But the issue is whether there will be curfew soon after the elections which provides a possibility for tampering with the ballot boxes.

    • 2
      0

      Stanley – could not agree with you more

  • 6
    2

    Mr EM
    You have described the current plight if Tamils in SL very elegantly. Well you have quoted “A total number of 20 parties and several independence groups and more than 300 candidates are in the field in the Jaffna District.” If that is the case then, in my opinion, the Tamils in the North and East get what they deserve. There is no unity, no purpose, it is as if they are very selfish and or ignorant bunch of politicians. I hope the people will reject all of them—–but it is not possible. Hope some outsiders contest and win all seats in Jaffna district. Are there any NPP or SJB candidate among the 300?

  • 5
    1

    Excellent analysis: The voters in Sri Lanka should vote for the honest and dedicated individuals without party politics. The country has seen so many scandals, scams, corruption and polarization among the communities. It is up to the intellectuals to guide the voters to vote for the honest and dedicated candidate who will think of the country first.
    As for the Tamil voters it is time to get rid of old codgers who have gone to parliament and did nothing for the people and they all engaged in hate politics and fooled the Tamil voters promising political solution withing one year and fooled them for 10 years. Tamil voters must elect young energetic voters who will be able to express the sufferings of the people to the UN, world and diplomats .Sending candidates with no knowledge of global situation and knowledge of political science will be useless and wasteful.

    • 1
      4

      You Kumarathasan Rasingam are proof that when you open your mouth all doubt about your stupidity is removed!

      • 1
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        N
        If the theory is that “when you open your mouth all doubt about your stupidity is removed!” will it not apply to all believers in that theory?

  • 0
    0

    The danger is not only to 19A and 13 A, but to 16A as well.

  • 1
    2

    Dear Sir

    Thank you for the summary. One has to read this summary with the great article by MR K Navaratnam published by CT that summarises what took place under FP/ITAK/TULF/TNA since Independence
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/black-july-1983-reflections-on-the-anti-tamil-pogrom/

    The only think that article does not capture is the exponential increment in the death and misery of Tamils based on their leadership/path that they imposed(dictatorship) first foremost through stage speeches/party publications and then this failed with the masses since 1970 through thuggery using a Leadership requirements they never had in the first place. Your article captures this very well.

  • 1
    1

    On the other side of the argument I am seeking clarity you meaning someone to make the FP/ITAK causes as the Tamil causes and have the desired results even after the historical blunders or looking for a leadership that diplomatically navigate a brighter future away from the past “Management” decisions that has caused the entire project to crash to date as devastatingly as Mr KN has correctly listed?

    I can tell you we had Leaderships that choose to do all this was killed by the FP/ITAK/TULF/TNA a very long time ago based on Tamil people electing people and being served by the “same missing leadership” day in day out for 24/7 for many years?? the fact they choose a path that is different fundamentally to the FP/TULF choosing to cohabit with others in our Island does not make it a “Turncoat” path but a path intellectually chosen based on the previous management decisions/blunders and to undo the mistakes to up-to date with times…..not always living 1948 and talk about it until 1958 and talk about until 1970 and create some more until 2009 and now 2020.

  • 0
    1

    When a CEO/Management committee screw up a company based on their management policies/decisions/style they leave except in our case the same management choose to kill all their employees with their families inclusive and demanded blood and continue to demand blood?? is how I will summarise your work and Mr K N’s work when read in conjunction.

    What we are not making it clear to the public is what we want the TNA to do is to fix their blunders/admit to their blunders openly so the new Management/Leadership can undo some of them?? this new management you are looking for will not be and should not be following previous management thoughts or styles but progressive/futuristic so they can carry the burden handed over by the TNA and then to meet todays need??

  • 0
    1

    Todays need specially in areas of the North and East are “not” the “Tamil” only needs of the “constituents” but a different one as this composition also has changed irreversibly (in my view rightfully so however have been speeded up by few hundred years due to the FP/TULF blunders. A slow and Natural process has been and will be speeded up due to the Management Blunders by the FP/ITAK/TULF/TNA a decision any intelligent governments will make based on the ground realities).

    So electing a leadership/management/in our case representation of Member of Parliment has to be based on ground realities and who can represent their daily economical needs/national planning (not Tamil this and that) is the reality?? Tamils live down south are served by their elected MP without any reference to Tamil/Sinhala/Muslim etc?? Once you let this National Question hallusination out of the way one can see many many ways how to serve humanity better be it Jaffna or anywhere else in the world??

  • 0
    0

    In fact we do not need party politics for while as the current economical needs of the people have been neglected for 70 years by the Tamil elected representatives taking National Question has killed us all quite literally?? I very much hope the new GOSL will ban this National Question rights and demand any political parties without National Economical plan can not be registered/representing the masses any longer in SL will solve all the issues for good. Muslim issues are huge and can confirm any so called Tamil Politics and National question lot will not be able manage this for a starter?? Any such talk can only be considered insult to Tamil intelligence. The question what do we have and how to focus on generation what we need fit for purpose??

    • 0
      0

      For the benefit of the “common man” of Sri Lanka if any of the divisive/ghetto parties from any denomination who cared for their voter base they have crafted through brain washing/non factual discussions/thuggery would have called off their ventures by now having witnessed the carnage a horror of a life all SL’s faced in the last 40 years. It was not to be?

      As you have correctly highlighted the number of candidates contesting in Jaffna to represent a population of few hundred thousand tells us a different story?? This tells us being a politician is like applying for a job one does not have to deliver anything during the tenure/no pre qualifications required/no policies explained to people in simple terms as to what is their economical plans and coasting/just go and regurgitate what we have been reading in Media back to the people…..gives one a lifestyle with pensions no other job will ever give as all other jobs comes with a job scope and you have to work all your life to get a pension??

      This is life of luxury not many other Nations have in their democracy ever? we are an exception.

  • 4
    2

    It is true that Sinhala political leadership will not give any political solution or economic development to Tamils or Muslims. It is also true that Tamils or Muslims cannot get anything from a Sinhala majority parliament. However, it is also true that Sinhala political leadership will surrender to the internal or external force because they are politically and economically weak.
    There was no excessive military power used when the portuguese or Dutch or British took the power of this land. It was a surrender. British left this island not because of the military defeat of the British. It is just because of Gandhi’s independence struggle in India. Even, when India sent IPKF to Srilanka, Srilankan political leaders just surrendered. Indian army left because of LTTE, not because of Srilankan military. North East was under LTTE control for three decades, Srilanka couldn’t do anything and surrendered to LTTE and went for a peace talk.
    Tamils and Muslims are living in this island for a long time as Sinhala. There may be up and downs but it is not an end.
    Mahinda was slave for China. They needed the help of USA, China, European Union, British, India to defeat LTTE. Now Gota has signed a slavery deal with USA.

    • 0
      1

      Ajith,
      Why should Sinhala politicians give political solutions to ‘Para’ Demalu and ‘Para’ Muslims?
      They are free to live in this country because Sinhalayo gave them citizenship but nothing more than that.

      “It is true that Sinhala political leadership will not give any political solution or economic development to Tamils or Muslims.”

  • 4
    4

    The way ‘Para’ Demalu who are the descendants of slaves brought by colonial parasites insult and humiliate Sinhalayo who accommodated them by giving citizenship when they were abandoned in Sinhale by colonial parasites is really disgusting.

    “It is a disturbing feature to note the entry of candidates from the UNP, SLFP and SLPP of Mahinda who all contributed and caused the miseries and sufferings of Tamils, and being instrumental in the commission of genocide against the Tamils, denial of fundamental rights and Justice.”

    • 2
      0

      EE
      You don’t need ‘Para’ Demalu to insult and humiliate Sinhalayo, You are there to do it. Bravo Mahidapala.

      • 1
        0

        Dear Umberto,
        .
        Please dont waste your time with EE who is born racist for some pathological reasons.
        :
        Who is this guy actually ? Lately you Umberto added that you truly know that EE should be that ULTRA RACIST Mahindapala ( who should now be in his early 80ties).
        :
        However, if this man got married to a TAMIL wife, then it should not be a marriage, but a CIVIL war inside his family right? How can a human being ever be this much RACIAL. As one who has not lived in the country for a long period, I dont think I have ever met any ULTRA racist other than this Eagle Eye.
        His arguments are far from the school knowledge of a person. He repeatedly comes with the arguments that the tamils in Srilanka are brought by colonial masters for their plantation labour. ? how infactual all these have been ?
        :
        If EE is 100% Mahindapala, how can a graduate/former editor to DN behave this way if he is not MUTATED during the decades ?

    • 0
      0

      Dear EE

      What does Para Tamil means please?

      • 2
        0

        Not what a Tamil imagines that it means.
        ‘Para’ means alien in Sinhalese.

        • 0
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          Thank you SJ. I always wondered.

          My Father used to send me to study Sinhala in my Village Karainagar to a lovely teacher……she was really good in spoken and written Sinhala and her Sinhala writing was amazing. That was in 70’s.

  • 1
    0

    There were around 32 Armed groups operating in the North-East region from the Mid-80s.

    We now have more than 300 souls competing in the North -East region to get themselves elected for two dozens of possible seats in Parliament!

    The fault lies in ourselves said the Bard; Not in our stars !

    • 0
      0

      Well said Plato

  • 2
    0

    “Tamil National Alliance possibly with more Members of Parliament is not expected to perform anything worth not even the simple tasks expected from a leading party. Their 10 year performance from 2009 – 2019 is simply deplorable and disappointing. “

    . This former FP/TULF politician, now living in Canada as a pensioner, was part of the problem that he had described. He just regurgitated what is already known and didn’t state his current plan or how FP manifesto can be achieved for peaceful, happy, united country. SJV devised the best plan in 1949 and it is still valid. The tragedy is that educated Sinhalese leaders are misappropriating it for their own agenda.

    . EM has also, with all him knowledge, confused with Tamils and Muslims. The issue in Ceylon/Sri Lanka is an unresolved dual linguistic national problem, oppresion one language group by the other, and not a religious one. Muslims are a minority like the Christians, and not a people with right to self-determination. They came in as traders and their duty is to the ruler, otherwise trading will be disrupted. Muslims are also Tamil-speaking and whenever the national linguistic problem is resolved amicably, their human rights should be respected across the country, be that be south or north or anywhere in between.

  • 2
    1

    “Wigneswaran stated his desire to work with TNA after the elections is confirming his endorsement and support for TNA though he criticizes TNA for electoral gains.”
    – Eelaventhan

    I have not heard Justice Wigneswaran express a desire to work with the TNA or him ever, “confirming his endorsement and support for the TNA.” It could be that he may have stated that if elected he is willing to work together with Tamil MPs including the TNA if they are so inclined – I believe, to proactively pursue Tamil objectives for self governance and justice and resist any attempt by the Rajapaksas to establish an autocracy!

    Let’s remind ourselves the reason why Justice Wigneswaran left the TNA – because he had serious idealogical and policy differences with the TNA. Mr. Eelaventhan’s insinuation that he is simply opposing the TNA for electoral gains is demonstrably wrong and unfounded!!!

    Usha S Sri Skanda Rajah

    • 4
      0

      USSSR
      “I have not heard Justice Wigneswaran express a desire to work with the TNA or him ever, “confirming his endorsement and support for the TNA.” “
      The writer must have gone through a brief version of Rip Van Winkle syndrome when CVW was performing his prolonged acrobatic feat of keeping his feet on more than one boat at a time.
      Forget TNA. What is his political difference with Gajendrakumar P?

    • 0
      0

      Rather sadly CV’s somersault from TNA was due to his lack of knowledge of the political landscape in the North and East when he was drafted by Mr. Sampanthan; it doesn’t drastically affect if he lacks same for the rest of the country as well.
      .
      CV, as a former judge coupled with his close connections in the south, was brought in by TNA, to be part of the TNA, to ameliorate the devastated Tamil psyche at the provincial election time. He betrayed that trust and the covenant in many ways with TNA once elected, essentially due to his lack of admin and political skills.
      .
      CV demonstrated that he is NOT a dishonest person for his personal financial gains; but amply demonstrated that he was not suitable as an amiable politician to all the Tamil people.
      .
      Ceylon Tamil community has been reduced to the present predicament, ever since Sir Pon Ramananthan’s time, who was the first Ceylonese Solicitor General in 1903, for trusting the Sinhalese leadership, and being let down by them. It was the Oxford educated SWRD who spoke about a federal system in a speech he delivered in Jaffna on July 17, 1926.

      • 0
        0

        FMO
        CV may not have stolen money but was not clean in the appointments he made to the NPC.
        He also wrote a minute to Modi requesting pardon for the accomplices of Premananda in murder committed in an ashram. He denied it initially, but went quiet when confronted with a copy of the page.
        He manipulates the youth to push his agenda and has a Hindutva agenda in mind.
        As for people who let down the Tamils, you should also list of all leaders starting GGP, SJVC, AA et al. who knowingly made false promises.

    • 0
      0

      Usha!
      I think you are right. If at all TNA removes its face mask and wears the true federal transparent mask, (without Sumanthiran, Sambantharand Sritharan, 3s’s), together with Gajendrakumar Ponnambalm ane even Douglas? and Sangari could form an alliance to press for a Federal Constitution. But, unfortunately, Tamil alliances are always short-lived, in that, every Tamil wants to be a leader even before achieving their goal, .the purpose of the alliance is forgotten. As long as ‘ I’ is at the forefront we perish.
      (‘Nan’ Cheththal Nam Valalam’) The Sinhalese have studied our weakness well.

  • 1
    0

    The Unity among Tamils is at stake. To many political Parys. This similar to too many freedom fighting groups such as LTTE, POLITE. EPRLF. EPDP. EROS etc All those groups have common magic word EELAM. It is a dream among the Tamils of Sri Lanka. Please remember that so long as there s no unity and everyone wants to to be the leader the objective cannot be achieved. Sri Lanka won the war because many countries including India supported them on the guarantee given to them to resolve the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka. These countries did not know that Singhala politicians cannot be trusted. We know about Rajiv- JR pact. we also knew Banda SJV pact. Pacts and agreements are on paper and finally, it finds its way to WPB. The Sinhala political parties will never give up its ethnic policy. That is the trump card to win the elections. We have seen how Gota used it in the Presidential election The Flag of Sri Lank is a symbol of violence with a lion carrying a sword. But They call the country a Buddhist country. All these are political gimmicks. one thing is certain unless the ethnic crisis is resolved The economy of the country will worsen and the country will be treated like a Pariah country internationally and investors will hesitate to invest Tourism will be affected

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