23 September, 2020

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Stakes At The Parliamentary Elections

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Over 15 million are registered as voters and around 75 percent of them most probably would be voting at the scheduled parliamentary elections on 17 August. Although the 20th Amendment was proposed in Parliament, it was clear from the beginning that the next elections would be held under the prevailing PR system. This means preferential competitions within parties or coalition of parties, in addition to the bitter competitions between political parties. Under the circumstances, keeping electoral violence at a minimum should be a priority. Already, the first death is reported due to electoral violence from Ratnapura.

The Dissolution

Strictly speaking, the present Parliament had a mandate until April 2016. It is best for any democracy to allow the representative institutions to function their full terms. In that case, the early election may appear as something not so democratic. While this is true in principle, the dissolution of Parliament became imperative given the increasing chaotic situation within it. It is not so long ago that some members opted to sleep at night in the well of that august body.

Early dissolution of Parliament also was a promise given to the people by the newly elected President in January. The promise was to dissolve it after 100 days. Instead, the Parliament was allowed to function over 150 days for one or the other reason.

 Maithripala and Mahinda| File photo

*Maithripala and Mahinda| File photo

There was an apparent contradiction between the mandate the President received and the composition of the Parliament. This was primarily the result of the former President’s decision to go for elections prematurely, to gamble his ambitions for a third term. When it failed, the contradiction was created. This does not mean that the mandates would always be harmonious if the elections for the presidency and parliament are held proximately. But the likelihood undoubtedly is higher and good for democracy. 

It is a known fact that the former President controlled his party supporters in Parliament as a gang. Anyway, the term of the Parliament was too long, previously fixed for six years. According to the new norm of five years, the legitimate period of the Parliament was already over. The proceedings were completely unproductive.

20th Amendment

There were sincere attempts to pass the 20th Amendment before dissolving Parliament. However, the gazetted draft was quite a mess irrespective of its good intentions. It could have become messier if it went into the committee stage. For the last 19th Amendment, the agitated opposition proposed over 70 amendments. If that were the case for the 20th, they could have completely killed the electoral system.

This is apart from it being unfavourable to minority and minor parties particularly without a two ballot system. Therefore, the dissolution of Parliament was a good thing without dragging the country into an ignoble mess.

Free and Fair Elections

Election is the most important mechanism in a representative democracy. Voters are the kings, at least temporarily. When they hold the ballot, they can make an informed choice if the other conditions are in place. It is mainly up to the Election Commissioner and the Police to ensure a free and fair election. It is unfortunate that the Election Commission is not set up as envisaged in the 19th Amendment. There were obvious disruptors within Parliament for good governance and for the implementation of particularly the independent commissions.

It is possible that the ‘ghost voters’ are still in the electoral lists. Their presence was obvious when the figures of the registered voters, the population and voter turnouts were analysed for the last presidential elections. It is possible that they might lie low or become inactive under the present circumstances. However, the democratic parties, civil society organizations and election monitors should be vigilant.

The March 12 Movement has put forward a manifesto which can ensure a sound parliament if all parties adhere to the conditions when nominating candidates. Some of them are about ‘not being a criminal,’ ‘free from bribery and corruption,’ ‘free of anti-social trades,’ and ‘not abusive of authority’ etc. These are the most difficult things to come by given the created political culture in the recent past.

Reportedly, all parties have signed the manifesto, including the President, but Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) has not signed or not invited to sign. If the parties don’t adhere to these principles, then it is up to the voters to ensure the conditions, by not voting to them.

Voter Intelligence

Traditionally, voter intelligence in Sri Lanka has been quite high. The average voter knew how to select the best candidate/s out of rogues. This has considerably dipped after the introduction of preferential voting. Similar distortions have occurred during the civil war period. There have been extreme polarizations of electors on ethnic and religious lines.

It is evident that the situation has changed at least partially leading up to and after the January elections. After a long time, minority parties in the North, united with the parties of the majority (South) against the former autocratic President. They may have to contest separately given the electoral system at the coming elections, but their solidarity for the promotion of democracy and good governance would remain intact.

In the long run, it would be good if Sri Lanka could adopt a compulsory voting system. I am saying this for the first time. The voting is not only a right but also a duty. Compulsory voting is another means of curtailing voter impersonation.

Too Many Parties

There are too many organizations accepted as registered political parties; 66 of them altogether. Some of the office bearers of these parties even cannot be found. This is an apparent weakness in the electoral system. Democracy does not mean everything is free for all. There should be some strict rules in accepting a political party for registration. A persistent membership, proper organization, credible office bearers, record of reliable activities and legitimate funds could be some of them.

There is no much point in accepting a political party for parliamentary elections unless that party has some representation in provincial councils or local councils. Political party registration for provincial councils or local government could be more relaxed. This does not mean that no political group can function as a political party for ideological or other purposes. There can be unregistered political parties.

Who Would Contest?

The main battle at the elections would be between the UNP led ‘relatively democratic’ forces and the political formations rotating under the Rajapaksa hegemony. I use the qualification ‘relative’ advisedly because within that camp too there are undemocratic and/or corrupt tendencies.

It is still not clear whether MR would contest directly or indirectly from the opposite camp. What he has declared from Madamulana just few hours ago is “we will contest.” It is unlikely for him to get nominations from the SLFP or even the UPFA. If Maithripala Sirisena’s (MS) standing (not to mention powers) is of any worth he should be blocked.

At a personal level, it would be foolish for MR to contest. He would soon be a septuagenarian. He entered parliamentary politics in 1970 and completed 45 years. He was a MP, a Leader of the Opposition, a PM and then the President. If not for his attempt for a third term, he could have ‘ruled the country’ until next year. He has certain things for his credit, and certain other things for his discredit. The best thing for him would have been to gloriously retire. But some people cannot obviously change their ‘genes’ or habits. MR apparently is such a person.

Apart from perhaps his genes, there are strong political compulsions at least to contest as a ‘national list’ candidate from another front. The compulsions come from the political forces that he himself created. He obviously changed the SLFP particularly at district and local levels. From a people’s party, he tried to change it into an Arachchi party of course with a popular appeal.

It would be interesting to investigate the socio-economic or class forces behind these changes at a later time. These are the roots of authoritarianism as well. Some indications of these social roots can be gleaned from now telecasting tele-dramas like Meedun Amma or Sath Pathini.

Role of Sirisena

There are some who have expressed the view that President Sirisena should be neutral at the coming elections. The argument is too formalistic. MR obviously retreated when he handed over the SLFP and thus the UPFA to the President. MS has and should seize this opportunity. The task is to democratize the SLFP and if possible the UPFA. This an important task of democratization of the country.

Last few months, MS has been toiling like hell ‘collecting jumping frogs into the proverbial lahe’ (washing vessel). Both collecting and washing them are difficult tasks. Whatever the results, President should lead them at the elections. It is true that it is better if he could have handed over this task, for example, to CBK and be neutral. But CBK has her own limitations (age) and follies (unsavoury speech) in addition to male opposition against her based on misogyny.

President can become neutral and truly independent after the elections.

It is also important to have a countervailing power to the UNP, within the democratic camp, through a ‘democratic’ SLFP because the UNP is not spot clean. Far from it. The unfortunate bond issue is one example. Ranil Wickremesinghe also has not changed his bad habits or ‘genes.’ As Dayasiri Jayasekara happened to express at a recent Satana, not only the Sinhala horu (rogues), but also the English horu should be dispelled under democracy and good governance.

However, if the President Sirisena embraces Mahinda Rajapaksa and makes him the prime ministerial candidate or the leader of the SLFP/UPFA group contesting the elections, it would be a blatant betrayal of the January victory of democracy.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    3

    Agree absolutely, except for one little reservation about the “frogs”. We want few of them around after August 17th, but removing Rajapaksa may be as much as we can realistically expect from Maithri. Frog removal is a task that we, the voters, have to perform.

    Maithri commented on it himself when, on April 23rd, he said that many a freed slave finds the new responsibilities devolving on him/her rather daunting. The admirable Ven. Sobhitha meant the same when he said that people were not concerned with serious issues of governance, but with “jobs”, and with wangling school admissions.

  • 4
    3

    “There are too many organizations accepted as registered political parties; 66 of them altogether. Some of the office bearers of these parties even cannot be found. This is an apparent weakness in the electoral system. Democracy does not mean everything is free for all. There should be some strict rules in accepting a political party for registration. A persistent membership, proper organization, credible office bearers, record of reliable activities and legitimate funds could be some of them.”

    just ask them to pay every year 100000 rupees before 31st january or cancel their registrations.If anyone tries to register in an election year double it to 200000.That will get rid of time wasters.

  • 9
    4

    Dr. Laksiri Fernando

    RE: Stakes At The Parliamentary Elections

    “Early dissolution of Parliament also was a promise given to the people by the newly elected President in January. The promise was to dissolve it after 100 days. Instead, the Parliament was allowed to function over 150 days for one or the other reason”

    1. Maitripala Sirisena, lost his credibility by going beyond the 100 days. Had he done it he could have disrupted Mahinda Rajapaksa schemes, and his well publicised visits to the Temples for an extra 50 days.

    2. He Stooped arrests and jailing of Crooks, Robbers and criminals. Maitripala Sirisena became Spineless and a wimp. By NOT giving the nominations to MaRa and his Crooks, Robbers and Criminals, he can regain some of the lost credibility. He is damaged, but can recover, if he becomes a statesman, instead of becoming a spineless wimp. He did not shoot when he had the loaded guns in front of the Crooks, Robbers and Criminals.

    The above 2 Items only for those with Common Sense. Dor Mahinda Rajapaksa Shills,Cronies, Crooks, Robbers, Criminals and those supporters with IQ of 65 and below, it does not matter.

    Voter Intelligence

    “Traditionally, voter intelligence in Sri Lanka has been quite high. The average voter knew how to select the best candidate/s out of rogues. This has considerably dipped after the introduction of preferential voting. Similar distortions have occurred during the civil war period. There have been extreme polarizations of electors on ethnic and religious lines.”

    This is really a major problem. The average IQ of sri Lanka is 79, while that of Singapore is 108. Education is needed, and so is the Common Sense Phamplet Sri Lanka just like what Thomas Paine did for America? I thought you were going to write it? What Happened? This Request was made over 9 months ago!

    • 0
      0

      Amarasiri – In your last para you have said that The average IQ of Sri lanka is 79 while Singapore is 108, so Mr Arjun Mahendran, Governor CB
      who is a Singaporean, must be a smart guy and not only fit to run the CB but the finance ministry as well. Ranil should make him the finance
      minister.

  • 4
    4

    “Reportedly, all parties have signed the manifesto, including the President, but Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) has not signed or not invited to sign.”

    Why was he not invited to sign.That should put him in a bind.If he signs it can be pointed out in the election campaign that he is no practicing what he preaches by appointing thugs and criminals as candidates.

    If he refuses to sign then he is again in a bind because it can be pointed out to the people during the election campaign that the known devil has not become the unknown angel as tissa vitharana claims.

  • 4
    3

    “Traditionally, voter intelligence in Sri Lanka has been quite high.”

    ha,ha,ha.Are they still waiting for the rice from the moon?

    The MP’s are the peoples reps and represent the people in every way.The bullets could not find duminda silva’s brain,but the people are supposed to be intelligent according to the author just because his preferred candidate won by a whisker in january. Ask our amarasiri about IQ.

  • 2
    0

    Unless an Election Commission with supervisory powers over the police and armed forces is appointed by the Constitutional Council, there will not be a free and fair election.
    Already, one person has been reportedly killed in pre-election violence.
    The army is already intimidating village officers with threat of compulsory “military rehabilitation”.

    • 0
      3

      Election Commission with supervisory powers over the police and armed forces is appointed by the Constitutional Council, there will not be a free and fair election.

      A dangerous idea.

      In the past, Tamil govt agents gave orders to Sinhala Army to open fire on innocent civilians.

  • 1
    2

    “Traditionally voter intelligence in Sri Lanka has been quite high”. I don’t think so. I would rather categorize it as “Impulsive” and “Emotional”. We have to go a long way to be “aware” and “foresee” the future with an analytical approach to a better future for a nation and a country. Having said that, I believe that the “New Voter” is somewhere closer to such an approach and expect a change in the future. The days of “Eta Ata”(eight pounds of grain); “Dharmista Samajaya” (Just society)”Handen Haal” (Rice from Moon); have gone; BUT recent introductions of “Sil Redy” (Devotees Clothes); “Three Roda Tire” (Three wheeler tires) “Kuda” (Umbrellas) “Oralosu” (Wall Clocks) “Badu Malu” (Grocery Bags)etc. got somewhat thrown out with the “Yahapalanaya” (Good Governance). Yet that”Yahapalanaya” too got into trouble and was becoming a “Joke” of the day and started adding to our vocabulary words such as “Yamapalanaya”; “Yakagepalanaya”; “Jarapalanaya” etc. purely because of the way our leaders started handling the government affairs. However, in good time that word was able to retain its true meaning, because the Parliament was dissolved.

    As regards the “Multiplicity” of political parties, as suggested there must be strict conditions of their operations and continuity. I would like to add, if any political party fails to secure a “Minimum” percent of the voter turnout, that party must be struck off the register. We know some parties do exist and they are up to all hidden corrupt activities during the election times. That too will stop for good if strict conditions are laid down for their continuity in the political field.

    • 0
      3

      He has said that voter intelligence was high until the preferential system was put in place.

  • 5
    1

    The same beggars from both sides will get elected again and it will be the same old faces.

    Hopefully oldies and hypocrites like Vasu, Dinesh, Dew, GL and Tissa will be kicked out who are good for nothing politicians.

    We need new faces and educated ones to be elected.

    • 2
      1

      Jagath Fernando

      “We need new faces and educated ones to be elected.”

      I sincerely hope and pray that we don’t see new fae-ces like Dayan S, Bandula J. (BIJAY), MAHINDApala, Rajkattapal Abeynayake and the list goes on and on!

  • 2
    0

    We are tired of English & Singhala rogues consisting UNP & UPFA we vote JVP this time.

  • 1
    0

    Dear Dr. Fernando:
    I do agree that we have many “name board political parties.”
    There should be legislation that any registered political party not
    contesting any elections within five years should loose it’s official recognition/
    registration.
    If and when that happens, that party has to seek re-registration giving reasonable
    explanation why that party should be re-recognized as a registered political party.

  • 0
    4

    MR and Brutus Sirisena before the back-stabbing…

    Philipi awaits.

  • 2
    1

    Dear Prof:
    Hope you are coming around with that painful treatment.
    Anyway.You type………He obviously changed the SLFP particularly at District and local levels.From a peoples party,he tried to change it into an Arachchi party ofcourse with a popular appeal….

    MaRa had a long term ambition to obliterate the Bandaranaikes. MaRa quite rightly sensed that the Bandaranaikes were the SLFP and Vice-Versa.He therefore set about this exercise,especially after the defeat of the LTTE; Grandiose dreams of Dutugemunu and even a relative of Lord Buddha[Jackson Anthony!] stories ,MaRa thought,will confer upon him that status,including Aristocracy.
    He was of-course bowled out by the Top-spin of a Bandaranaike[Chandrika] when he went for a big hit on Jan:8th.

  • 0
    3

    So Dr Lucksiri is as desperate as the ex ex President Mrs Kumaranatunga bandaranayaka to stop Rajapkasa…

    What a coincidence.

    The tide which started in Nugegoda has swelled in to a sort of a Tsunami by the time it reached Matara..

    Even Dr Lucksiri’s favourite President Bodhi Sira won’t be able to stop it, let alone our Samurdhi PM Ranil.

    With Surendran and the Reverend on board, the UNP must have lost , a great number supporters who do not want a Bantustan in the North , which is going to be ruled by a Special TNA Minister from Colombo…

    Even the non Kotalawalas among the Elite are pissed off with Ranil’s golden hand shake with Singapore Mahendran.

    Which netted the SIL a sort of a life time income stream from just one Tender.

    In addition, stopping all development work which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of Dalits losing their incomes is the other biggest achievement of the UNP Yahpalanaya.

    Galleon Ravi trying to refinance these projects from the West with commissions in USD will also be detested by the thinking Elite who understand Economics.

    May be Lucksiris want to stop Rajapaksa ,

    Can Ranil do it for them, unless he organizes an Egyptian Spring…

    • 3
      0

      Sumanasekera you Idiot:

      Do you know what a Tsunami does.

      It destroys everything in its wake.

      Tamil Tsunami washed away all the THUGS CRIMINALS and CROOKS. But unfortunately they were washed ashore in Hambanthotta.

      But the origins of the next Tsunami that is about to hit Sinhala Lanka is in the HAGUE. The tectonic plates have already started to move because of the intense heat in the Earth’s core produced as a result of sheer number of Sinkalams turning up to greet Mahintha causing molten rock in the mantle layer to move.

  • 1
    2

    K.A Sumanasekera

    “Can Ranil do it for them, unless he organizes an Egyptian Spring…”

    Egyptian Spring to People struggle to Fundamentalist brotherhood to Army to Army Commander to USA. This is what you want, ultimate surrender of this island to the USA via many other actors.

    Good that Gota is no longer in direct control over the defense establishment. As an American he would be more American than the born American who had already taken the oath of allegiance to the United States of America.

    The principles embodied in the Oath:

    Support the Constitution;

    Renounce and abjure absolutely and entirely all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which the applicant was before a subject or citizen;

    Support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;

    Bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and

    A. Bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; or
    B. Perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; or
    C. Perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law

    • 2
      0

      Grandad:

      I am ashamed you are a Tamil.

      • 1
        1

        kalistani

        “I am ashamed you are a Tamil.”

        I am happy you still remain a stupid Tamil as it happened you share your DNA with your brethren Sinhalese and Tamils of Tamil Nadu.

        • 2
          0

          Grandad:

          Dont try to blough your way out of this. You are trapped and caught you will reamiln with the tag of “I am STUPID Tamil” thinking I should have covered my tracks. But I am going to remind you Morning Miday and Eveening. Three times a lady Quote ” Lionel Ritchie”.

  • 4
    0

    Dr.Fernando:

    Reading your Article sounds like you are all at Sea and that might be because you are Lethargic after Radiation Treatment .

    Let me pick some holes.

    **** Nineteenth Amendment enacted on the 28 April 2015 was to annul the 18th Amendment while replacing the defunct 17th Amendment to establish the Independent Commissions and remove the Executive Presidential powers and limit the term of office of the President to five years while the President continue to function as the Head of State and Head of Security Forces
    Twentieth Amendment Proposed is to change the Electoral System.

    1)Although the 20th Amendment was proposed in Parliament, it was clear from the beginning that the next elections would be held under the prevailing PR system. This means preferential competitions within parties or coalition of parties, in addition to the bitter competitions between political parties. Under the circumstances, keeping electoral violence at a minimum should be a priority. Already, the first death is reported due to electoral violence from Ratnapura.

    *** I am at a loss to understand the connection between the current system and the violence and how the Proposed 20th Amendment would save lives.

    2) Strictly speaking, the present Parliament had a mandate until April 2016. It is best for any democracy to allow the representative institutions to function their full terms. In that case, the early election may appear as something not so democratic. While this is true in principle, the dissolution of Parliament became imperative given the increasing chaotic situation within it.

    *** There is a Contradiction here. But surely if the Nature and the Shape of the Institutions have changed then the changed nature dictates that you need to seek Fresh Mandate. The chaotic situation was man made although with good intentions. ie allowing a minority party( UNP)to call the shots.

    3) Early dissolution of Parliament also was a promise given to the people by the newly elected President in January. The promise was to dissolve it after 100 days. Instead, the Parliament was allowed to function over 150 days for one or the other reason.

    *** Surely the delay was not intentional but the things promised were not humanely possible.

    4) There was an apparent contradiction between the mandate the President received and the composition of the Parliament. This was primarily the result of the former President’s decision to go for elections prematurely, to gamble his ambitions for a third term.

    *** I am not sure where you are heading and you sound confused. The election that took place was to elect a President an not a Parliament.
    So what is the problem.
    5) When it failed, the contradiction was created. This does not mean that the mandates would always be harmonious if the elections for the presidency and parliament are held proximately. But the likelihood undoubtedly is higher and good for democracy.

    *** I think the correct way to interpret this non existent Contradiction is to separate the functions of the President and the Parliament.

    President to dictate Policies.
    Parliament to effect it and carry it through.

    6) It is a known fact that the former President controlled his party supporters in Parliament as a gang.

    *** Because he was a DICTATOR. May I add born DICTATOR and that is why he bit the Dust.

    7) Anyway, the term of the Parliament was too long, previously fixed for six years. According to the new norm of five years, the legitimate period of the Parliament was already over. The proceedings were completely unproductive.

    *** If you read back you will see that you are trying to have the Cake and Eat it. One or the other please.

    8) This is apart from it being unfavourable to minority and minor parties particularly without a two ballot system. Therefore, the dissolution of Parliament was a good thing without dragging the country into an ignoble mess.

    *** What you are suggesting might affect the Minor Parties in the South where they are submerged. But it wouldn’t have any impact on Minority Parties such as TNA in the North and East which are predominantly Tamil.

    Free and Fair Elections:

    *** If it was possible to Dethrone the “King” I don’t think it is a worry under the prevailing conditions but that doesn’t mean we can be complacent.

    9)It is possible that the ‘ghost voters’ are still in the electoral lists.

    *** They are few and far between. We have got Tight Nets to catch them.

    10)Reportedly, all parties have signed the manifesto, including the President, but Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) has not signed or not invited to sign. If the parties don’t adhere to these principles, then it is up to the voters to ensure the conditions, by not voting to them.

    *** Under English Law you can enter into a Contract Verbally and you are bound by it. So if Mahintha enters the Fray he will be bound by it.

    11) Voter Intelligence:

    *** I have already explained and all you need to do is sell enough Whistles to be blown.

    12) It is evident that the situation has changed at least partially leading up to and after the January elections. After a long time, minority parties in the North, united with the parties of the majority (South) against the former autocratic President.

    *** The unity you are talking about was only in soul( meeting of the mind to beat a common enemy) but not in body.

    13) In the long run, it would be good if Sri Lanka could adopt a compulsory voting system.

    *** How will you enforce it. What will be the punishment for non compliance.

    14) There is no much point in accepting a political party for parliamentary elections unless that party has some representation in provincial councils or local councils.

    *** That will be discrimination. How will you justify barring a party say for example a Party only interested in Climate Change with no interest in getting involved in local affairs. .

    15) Who Would Contest?

    *** Everyone except Mahintha & his cronies.

    16) At a personal level, it would be foolish for MR to contest. He would soon be a septuagenarian. He entered parliamentary politics in 1970 and completed 45 years. He was a MP, a Leader of the Opposition, a PM and then the President. If not for his attempt for a third term, he could have ‘ruled the country’ until next year.

    *** Lust for power is AGELESS.

    17) Role of Sirisena:

    ** That depends on how the election is fought. For example if is
    UPFA vs UNP. He cant be on the side lines.

    18) President can become neutral and truly independent after the elections.

    *** It amounts to asking the Leopard to change its spots.

    19) It is also important to have a countervailing power to the UNP, within the democratic camp, through a ‘democratic’ SLFP because the UNP is not spot clean.

    *** It looks like you already know the outcome. Can you whisper into my ears. I am dying to know.

  • 0
    2

    Kali.

    This is not the way to get into an academic argument.Prof:Laksiri should not be treated like this.The issue here is not Sinhala or Tamil.Prof:Laksiri,I could assure you will get over this and continue to present those fine essays.

    • 2
      0

      Plato:

      It looks like you are also confused. So it is a Cofusion Galore.
      You are confusing a PhD with Professorship. As far as I know he is not a Professor. To become a Professor after your PhD you have to submit a
      volume of research work.

      As for your grievance about the merit of my Criticism for your information this is an Intelectual Argument and as an Intellect I am sure he can stand up for himself.
      So as a Lay person why dont you back off.

    • 2
      0

      Plato:

      The issue here is not Sinhala or Tamil.

      *** What makes you think the Issue here is not Sinhala or Tamil.

      The RISE & FALL of Mahintha the THUG is due to the Tamil issue. So whether you like it or not for me anything that concerns the fortunes or misfortunes of the THUG is a Tamil Sinhala Issue.

      Once MR is punished for his crimes against Humanity and confined to a life behind bars I will be prepared to move on. NOT UNTIL THEN.

  • 0
    0

    Like many regular readers, I respect the expressed opinions of Dr.Lakrisiri Fernando highly. I appreciate his fidelity to the democratic process in keenly and regularly participating in the national discourse. His opinions are generally free of racial-religious prejudice and worthy of serious consideration.

    Unfortunately, in the present article I am compelled to disagree with him as he states “traditionally, voter intelligence in Sri Lanka has been quite high. The average voter knew how to select the best candidate/s out of rogues..” This may be true as far as going to the polls is concerned – where Sri Lanka records impressive figures. But, as to their voting wisely and rationally, I am afraid there has always been a predictable shortcoming here. It is for this reason, undoubtedly, Mahinda Rajapakse, as he went to his home village, after his defeat told the the large that had gathered there in Medamulana “the Tamils and Muslims voted against me” This can be interpreted to mean “you know who your enemies are” This, to me, is hardly voter intelligence. This is appealing to the lower instincts of a people whose thinking is deeply influenced by racial-religious – certainly not intelligence. These two factors are the dual features that shaped the direction of all General Elections from 1956 to the day. Remember, after 5 years of stability, impressive agricultural performance and a reasonable economy Dudley Senanayake’s able and liberal administration was wiped out in 1970 on the promise of “rice from the moon” A country whose majority was duped by this perfidy was to stand in queues for a loaf of bread for a long time. They were punished if they cooked rice in their homes on two days of the week.

    In the circumstances, Laksiri, I am afraid Rajapakse and his lackeys will home on a delusionary LTTE, the Tamil diaspora, Tamilnadu, India
    and falsehoods on NPC/CM Wineswaren’s call for the presence of only
    “reasonable presence of the armed presence” to fool the usually gullible majority Sinhala voter. Predictably, I fear the Sinhala voter will swallow this “guli” and go for the bathgotta, a bottle of arrack and a Rs.1,000 note.

    If the Southern Sinhala voter is to return the Rajapakses or his cringing,salivating nominees on August 17 – after ten years of stealing the family silver and tiresome familial rule that bankrupted this country and indebted generations to come, well then, Sir, the majority deserve what is in store for them.

    No wonder The Tamil Nation begs to be free from this recurring madness.
    I suspect soon the region and the world at large will be forced to help the Tamils to protect their present and future from 6 decades of
    majoritarian fascism.

    Kettikaran

  • 0
    1

    Would Laksiri Fernando write in comprehensible English. ‘ There are too many organisations accepted as registered political parties’; Traditionally the voter intelligence has been quite high’. I would urge him not to use the prefix Dr

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