10 December, 2019

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The Battle Royal For The Post Of Leader Of The Opposition

By Rusiripala Tennakoon –

Rusiripala Tennakoon

The tussle between Sajith factor and Ranil factor in the Parliament vying for the Leader of Opposition post is intensified and assuming grim dimensions. So much so that many have started contemplating a breakaway situation as imminent. Whatever the parochial political inclinations of promoters of such a move are, it is a pity if the grand old party breaks into two groups at this stage. Unlike the historical events where leading personalities decided to break away and form new political caucus , the current development in the UNP if materializes is going to be a true polarization where the rays may be separated,  resulting in serious divergence, having different vibrations.

In the context of the actual anatomy of the Party its innate architecture is quite complex. The structure is per se dictatorial due to the bossy and autocratic domination of the party activities by its  current leader. The party majority is long used to a quite lenient disposition towards the decisions taken or dictated by the leader. The broader political outlook and  policy commitments remained confined among a chosen few and almost all others subjugated unopposed. The rhetoric and frivolous stands on unimportant issues by those in the outer circle were indifferently disregarded and permitted by the inner circle to make them feel the satisfaction of some contribution of their own, while the core carried on their missions unnoticed. Many unsuspecting juniors were collaborated into various exposures without much grandeur. All the while the center was concentrating and adhering to a well guided program dedicated to a commitment to standardize and rationalize the global economy to ensure a control and monopoly of the free market. The leader was supportive and represented the interests in the establishment of a neo-liberal configuration for the State facilitating at every given turn the global expansion of capital allowing the decision making to be vested with foreign interests. This seriously affected the independence and sovereignty of the Nation while the others played the role of onlookers with innocent rationalization, by attributing creditable motives to rather harmful acts. 

As an example of this phenomenon I wish to quote how a very junior political figure of the UNP now identified with the Sajith camp openly declared  at a recent TV debate where I too participated, stating that he advocated and authored the Vision 2025 program of the UNP with the help of HCID. Perhaps he was unaware that this (HCID) ie. Howard University’s Center for International Development was an institution financed by multi- million dollar currency speculator businessmen, George Soros. Perhaps he also did not know that George Soros advocates a new world order in which, “ sovereignty of states must be subordinated to international law and international institutions” while  funding the so called color-revolutions and regime change around the world! This is a clear example of what the  unsuspecting UNP juniors were subjected to by their masters.  It was clear to few who looked at things incisively, but not clear to many gullible, where the party was leading to.

 This trend in the UNP into a parting of ways surely will create two groups. One dictated by foreign dictums and another indigenous group on the line of thinking of the old leaders like DS , Dudley and Premadasa. Besides this political dichotomy, there is another area of concern related to the selection of a leader of opposition in the Parliament.  I wish to quote some writings by others about what is signified by “ the leader of opposition” under a Westminster system of Parliament.

Some identify a leader of the opposition ‘as a member of the Council of States who is, for the time being, the Leader in that House of the party in opposition to the Government constituting the greatest numerical strength and recognized as such by the Chairman of the Council of States’.

According to the Indian Model the”Leader of the Opposition”  is identified as that member of the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha who, for the time being, is the Leader of that House of the Party in Opposition to the Government having the greatest numerical strength and recognized, as such, by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha or the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.[1][2]

 In UK ,””The Leader of the Opposition is a title traditionally held by the leader of the largest party not in government in a Westminster System of parliamentary government. The Leader of the Opposition is seen as the alternative Prime Minister, Premier or Chief Minister to the incumbent and heads a rival alternative government known as the Shadow Cabinet or Opposition Front Bench.”

In U.S. politics, the minority leader is the floor leader of the second largest caucus in a legislative body.[1] Given the two-party nature of the U.S. system, the minority leader is almost inevitably either a Republican or a Democrat. The position could be considered similar to that of the Leader of the Opposition in Parliamentary systems.

Now let us take a look at the actual position of Parties recognized in the Parliament of Sri Lanka. The current Parliament consists of members elected at the last general election of the Country on 17th August 2015. The configuration recognized parties by the Commissioner of Elections  and successfully returned seats from their respective groupings and parties  as indicated below;

1. United National Front for Good Governance an alliance of 11 different political parties;     106 seats

2. United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance comprising of 17 different parties;                                        95 seats

3. Janata Vimukti Peramuna;                                                                                                                    06 seats                                                                          

4. Sri Lanka Muslim Congress;                                                                                                                   01 seat

5. Elam People’s Democratic Party;                                                                                                          01 seat

6. Tamil National Alliance comprising of 4 different parties;                                                               16 seats

Total number of seats in Parliament with the National List seats                                                     225

Now which group should be recognized as the main opposition alliance or party? Obviously when the UPFA forms the government and the largest alliance UNFGG does not contest against that position the UNFGG should be the Opposition group out of the recognized parties who contested the election. The divisions in the UNP become immaterial because the speaker has to accept the parties and party groups that contested to get into the Parliament and not the individual components in the alliances. In fact there is neither a UNP nor a SLFP that could be recognized by the Parliament. The question of SLPP which emerged as a separate political party subsequently does not arise at all.

Accordingly under the contemplated division within the UNP the numerical strength calculation should actually manifest as a division in the UNFGG and not only in the UNP for the purpose of Parliamentary recognition to decide on the position of a Leader of Opposition.

Will the Speaker uphold this principle stand or act in the manner how he chose to permit an impromptu confidence vote to oust Mahinda Rajapaksa presented by a member of the JVP.

The unprecedented large majority of the mandate given by the voters of the country in the election of Gotabya Rajapaksa as the President of the country for a period of 5 years should be addressed with utmost respect in this instance. The Parliament continuing with dates numbered should be allowed to continue till the first date it becomes eligible to be dissolved under the much criticized provisions of the 19th amendment authored by the RW government. The position of the leader of the opposition  in the context will only be a redundant decoration in this very short lived parliament not worth fighting about. 

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Latest comments

  • 6
    0

    The battle is between two old ‘Royalists’ who both claim leadership on basis of family. ( uncle was the leader or father was the leader ). Even the other contender Navin is of similar mode.This is the comedy of South Asia

    On the government side, we have the Rajapakse dynasty, equally degrading to any sense of democracy and fair play.

    Yet the Rajapakses have a more mix and motley follower group whereas under Ranil the UNP became a Colombo centric girly-men organisation.

    By hogging the leadership for 25 years Ranil has perverted the UNP, limited its top leadership talent.Had he left after a few electoral defeats ( about 20 years ago) the UNP by now would have found a good leadership culture.

    Ranil has only attracted con-men , pretenders and doddering fools. Even the speeches of the new leadership is very immature. Not that Ranil is any better. He sounds so phoney.

    The same is true in the Rajapakse camp. We are led by mediocre men who are there only because they were born is a particular family.

  • 2
    2

    Do we really need a Leader of the Opposition? Coming soon – murder, rape, robbery including night races. President Gotler has already placed an order for the import of white vans! Cheers!

  • 1
    1

    UNP is THE capitalist party. In general the top most capitalist party is based on total self interest, devoid of any patriotism or ideology. Therefore it will NOT break into pieces. It is ideology based parties that split, number of pieces being proportional to the commitment to the ideology. In the LEFT direction of the spectrum how many small parties are there? Along with LTTE how many separatist groups were there? Why? Because they are based on some ideology such as socialism or separatism. Always these groups are at each other’s throats than jointly posing a threat to those who are opposing their ideology. They show no mercy at others who have slightly deviated from their ideology due probably on practical or personality considerations. Remember how the Tamil separatist groups totally decimated one another leaving only the strongest? Being close to an idelogy your life is at a greater risk physically or politically.

    Soma

  • 3
    0

    What a joke this author Gonpala is! He is talking about lack of democracy in UNP, while the party he supported SLPP is a family run mafia. Further he is talking about alliance when his own leader Mahinda on whose feet he falls every time he sees him, cannot be even be in the Parliament as he contested under UPFA and moved to SLPP which is not a party in the Parliament. As per Article 99 13 (a) Mahinda Rajapakse cannot even sit in the Parliament as he would have lost his seat when he took the membership in SLPP a party that did not contest the last general election, this was televised on TV. He always talks about Peoples Bank loses but, he has forgotten the bad debt that multiplied at Bank of Ceylon when this joker was there. What a CROOK this guy is.

  • 3
    0

    Yes, we need a strong government to a country to be stable, we also need a strong opposition to keep that government checked & balanced.
    .
    Majority of the time we were lacking 2nd, not the 1st.
    .
    Can UNP become a strong opposition under RW’s leadership? Highly unlikely
    .
    All this aside, the country is stealthily & steadily heading towards a military state & the opposition led by the Royal Lady Boys are no where to be found

  • 1
    0

    Rusiri, My advise to you “try hard, not just keep trying”. Two rounds (appointments ) are over, even Murali got with his last hour Dosara. , you still no luck. Poor Soul.

  • 1
    0

    Susiripala,
    Even though the life span of the current parliament is very short, the position of opposition has a huge significance for two reasons: 1. The majority belongs to the opposition. This is important b’cos the opposition has the numerical power to control cabinet appointment (PM included) and passing new bills. 2. As for UNP, whoever holds the opposition leader (O L) post will become the party leader. If Sajith become the O L, the change will have a significant effect not only on activities of the new Gvt, but also on the nature of the future UNP.

    In any case, I must say that whenever I see writers like Susirpala use meaningless political terms like “neo-liberal” along with an “oxymoron term “monopolistic free market” exclusively to describe UNP economic policies while ignoring similar characters such as cutting taxes to encourage foreign investments stated in GoRa’s election manifesto, it automatically sends a signal of inherent stupidity of the majority of SL intellectual community who still cannot overcome the wrong influence of failed left-wing ideologies. As a matter of fact, it was MaRa regime that depended heavily on the so-called “neo-liberalism”when he invested heavily on “white elephants vanity projects” with borrowed capitals while cutting education & health budgets as deeply as possible. In the same way, if GoRa try to cut taxes he also will have to cut welfare budget in more than half. How can a US citizen is expected to implement ant-American trade policies at all?

    I strongly believe that this kind critics influenced by utterly failed ideologies are the biggest impediment to any progressive economic plans in SL.

  • 1
    0

    Susiripala,
    Even though the life span of the current parliament is very short, the position of opposition has a huge significance for two reasons: 1. The majority belongs to the opposition. This is important b’cos the opposition has the numerical power to control cabinet appointment (PM included) and passing new bills. 2. As for UNP, whoever holds the opposition leader (O L) post will become the party leader. If Sajith become the O L, the change will have a significant effect not only on activities of the new Gvt, but also on the nature of the future UNP.

    In any case, I must say that whenever I see writers like Susirpala use meaningless political terms like “neo-liberal” along with an “oxymoron” term “monopolistic free market” exclusively to describe UNP economic policies while ignoring similar characters such as cutting taxes to encourage foreign investments stated in GoRa’s election manifesto, it automatically sends a signal of inherent stupidity of the majority of SL intellectual community who still cannot overcome the wrong influence of failed left-wing ideologies. As a matter of fact, it was MaRa regime that depended heavily on the so-called “neo-liberalism”when he invested heavily on “white elephants vanity projects” with borrowed capitals while cutting education & health budgets as deeply as possible. In the same way, if GoRa try to cut taxes he also will have to cut welfare budget in more than half. How can a US citizen is expected to implement ant-American trade policies at all?

    I strongly believe that this kind critics influenced by utterly failed ideologies are the biggest impediment to any progressive economic plans in SL.

  • 4
    1

    Dirty MaRa GoTa faction is raising its ugly head finally to dismantle UNP. Once it is done, two third majority is guaranteed for deadly Pohottuwa at the upcoming general elections.

    Ranil and Royal kalliya is a curse to the nation. They have paved way for the murderous Madamula regime to ascend.

    It is over to intelligent Sri Lankans both home and overseas to mount pressure for resolve the leadership issue and find an amicable solution within the UNP.

  • 0
    3

    Both Sajith & Ranil should resign (It’s politically unethical either of them to claim for leader of opposition) from their positions as Sajith failed to win the election & it was Ranil who proposed Sajith for presidential candidature.

    However as the majority in the house is UNF; the appointment of SLPP member MR s the PM isn’t appropriate.

    But the reasonable argument that the current parliament content doesn’t represent actual peoples’ voice or in other words it has unreal representation the best choice should be going for fresh mandate for the house.

  • 4
    0

    In the present political setup,it is just not the post of Leader of the opposition that is redundant, but the man who is dying to become the Leader of the opposition Ranil Wicremasinghe is also redundant!

  • 1
    0

    i am wondering whther it is better to divide the party as UNP country party headed by sajit and UNP urban party headed by whoever they feel is the most popular among urban voters.Both the parties can work together as an alliance as is happening in australia where the liberal party and the national party which is a rural party have always been in alliance.If they had not been together they would never have been able to rule the country as the labour party would have beaten them.

    In australia the urban folks are more than 80%.So the liberal party dominates the government having the PM and the deputy PM is from the rural party.In sri lanka the rural folks are more than 80%,so sajits party will dominate the urban UNP party,but the main thing is they both together will have better chances of ruling the country.At the moment with sajit whose heart is with rural folk and ranil and co who thinks that the country bumpkins are yakkos,the infighting is very damaging.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Plato
    Yours seems to b the only relevant and logical comment on this article by rusiri.Most fellows appear to think the title refers to Royal College! Poor souls pity their knowledge!
    People who do not understand the writing should not jump to comment.
    As usual there are some who look as if they have some scores to settle with Rusiri about his Exposing some big rackets in the PB
    Time will prove what is going to happen to those culprits specially those responsible for the PB
    Can of worms
    The chap who has retorted either on his own or being influenced by the culprits from the PB days looks to b fully ignorant of history
    There were no allegations against or any bad comments in this country about positions held by Rusiri
    It is better not to attempt to sling mud at people.
    P UK Jayantha

  • 3
    1

    Rusiri, do you know anything about the Swiss Embassy staff.???? A official complaint is lodged. Democracy within UNP can wait. Dont you think so ??????

  • 2
    0

    Whatever internal squabbles UNP comes out unscathed. Its the SLFP that broke into two.How many parties are there in the SLPP. Now they are fighting for ministries.Why not write on that. Anyway Rusiri will have to apply for top jobs showing his paper qualifications. This could be an additional Qualification.

  • 4
    0

    Upali , you say the UNP is unscathed. !Under Ranil’s ghostly leadership its vote base has gone down from 45% to near 30% . Take the Northern vote out, you will see the sad UNP reality.

    Only butterflies ( Akila,Sagala etc) and pompous old fools like ( Charitha, Chanaka ) find it exciting.

    Having wine with Ranil at a 5 star hotels ( and may be pretending to be authorities on wine !) they feel they are in heaven ! But the rank and file UNPer is in hell !

    Chiv, you say that UNP democracy can wait ! If there was democracy in the UNP and Ranil was kicked out 20 years ago, there will be no Swiss Embassy incident and no white vans.

    For the Rajapakses Ranil is a gift sent from heaven !

    With this utter failure there ,coming to power is so easy for the Rajapakses.

  • 0
    0

    Kebab, I am sorry I really, did not mean it was UNP , what I meant was Rusiri should get his priorities right. Trust me Ranil is a total failure.

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