Colombo Telegraph

The American Midterm Elections Vis-à-Vis The Sri Lankan Constitution

By Ramona Therese Fernando

Ramona Therese Fernando

The American Midterm Elections saw the Democrats taking hold of the House of Representatives. This means that they will have great voting/vetoing power in the chamber, overriding and/or reducing a Republican President Trump’s policies concerning health care, taxation and immigration. Trump yet retains the executive power. Although Republican, he is thoroughly socialist in many issues and has given due diligence to his constituents. The economy is booming and from updated airports to nutritious school lunches, many things in the US have balanced out for the better of the nation. The congress, in true constitutional fashion will learn to compromise and work with the Republican President, and democracy would have been served yet again. 

Enter Sri Lanka: Money of the struggling Lanka Masses was spent on Midterm elections so that their representation could have been balanced out in Parliament. Did the midterm elections where the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) scored the highest votes, obtain any higher voting/vetoing rights in the Sri Lankan parliament? Did the SLPP take over the house? No, the parity of voting solidly remained with the United National Party (UNP) who were hardly voted in nationally by the people. Indeed it has been proved time and time again that it is there to serve Western capital and not the capital of the hard working Masses of our land. The midterm elections should have put things in better democratic perspective, but it did not. It is away from the democratic principle the country should be governed by. The newly-fangled articles of the Sri Lankan constitution drawn up by the UNP is therefore illegitimate. It is deeply flawed. Dissolution of the parliament was the only solution out of this conundrum. President Sirisena did the needful. 

The West will retaliate. We know that the Western interests cannot be pushed away too lightly. We will be squeezed out with sanctions against us. Yet, the West too is struggling with their economies, and it is their trade that we seek out in the end. However they gave us little to no help during our time of terrorism, and the West is not letting up in their demands for Sri Lanka’s divisions into federal mergers and states, hence weakening our success as a nation.  

Yet, even with the recent change of Lankan government, there is a hardly a push towards China by them, unless we are sanctioned against.  Even the UNP gave in to the Chinese interests in the land. The new government via Sirisena and Rajapaksa will certainly follow the same pattern of the previous one, except that they will say NO to Federalism. They will surely work with India, but minus any impeding land bridge that Wickremesinghe was eagerly awaiting to architect. Balance of payments would be met with adequate and fair taxation, and a step back from rabid investments via land deforestation, pollution from unnecessary industry, and outsourcing of menial labor jobs to the Middle East – one of which the Masses pay dearly for their so-called free benefits.

Yes, we will be a little bit away from Western interests and move in just a little bit more with China. Will that bother the West much? We are certainly not an oil-producing country which has to be truly controlled for its interests. Therefore, we can deduce that it is the need for West to uphold their show of control and saving face. After all people like Wickramasinge showed them he was all for boosting up their sense of entitlement.

In short, all Sri Lanka wants is to be a united land, with a sense of tradition and history for the sake of posterity. Even the Tamils have realized this. They, that caused a lot of havoc for our land for the sake of a certain chauvinism, will certainly not want to see the land disappear into another Puerto Ricco or Diego Garcia for Western oligarchs to retain their wealth. Even Tamils know that the land has to retain some flavor of ethnicity for it to be viable for their age-old interests. The times Puerto Rico and Diego Garcia were converted into the hell-holes by the West, environmental destruction and rights of natives were not too much of a conceptual understanding to the Western mind. In this day and age, we need to approach Trump and other Western leaders to better compromise trade and loyalty deals. We have to reassure them of our sincerity. It is believed that President Trump hasn’t a clue about what is happening in Sri Lanka as he is concerned about trying to balance out his midterm issues. It is felt that the foreign policy towards Sri Lanka has been left to follow the Obama-Clinton structure. 

If they don’t listen to us, a few years of austerity measures will do wonders for our land. (One would caution about going excessively with China due to retaliation from the West). When Sirimavo took over government in the 70’s, life was tough. However, if she was allowed to remain, her socialistic-nationalistic government would have built the country up slowly but surely to simple and dignified heights. Instead, the capitalistic-minded UNP took over a country too soon, with no non-renewable resources like oil (the very item that creates capital so easily for other countries). It created gross inflation that produced a 1% elite and 1% aspiring elite. The rest of the Masses fled to labor-camps in the Middle East for sustenance.

But now, a Neo-Lankan system has been born again. Rajapaksa is much toned down. He has sorely learned from the overreaching follies of his previous presidency. Sirisena will take the ultimate lead. He has shown true courage and shines as the great patriot of Sri Lanka. It is a truly a blessed event that has dawned upon us. We hope it will prevail. 

References

“Midterm elections: How do they work, when are they and what do they mean for America’s political future?” (Independent. P 6). https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/midterms-2018/midterm-elections-explained-what-are-us-when-2018-trump-date-vote-a8531836.html

YouTube. “Only the Will of the People is Legitimate.” Tamara Kunanayakam. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZ18cbbgWAo

History. “Puerto Rico’s Complicated History with the United States – Over a century ago, the U.S. prevented Puerto Rico from gaining autonomy. SEP 22, 2017.” https://www.history.com/news/puerto-ricos-complicated-history-with-the-united-states

YouTube. “Diego Garcia.” Messymomentmedia. Published on Oct 28, 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxVao1HnL1s

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