19 September, 2020

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The Hour Of The Voter

By Malinda Seneviratne – 

Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

After weeks of speculation the Opposition has come up with a name.  A solid one too. Maithripala Sirisena. It’s a name calculated to split the major partner of the ruling coalition, i.e. the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). Some MPs have already crossed over. Other defections are on the cards.  It is a time of speculation, of risks and of calculations.

It boils down to ‘winnability’. In an ‘iffy’ situation the risk is naturally greater.  The ruling coalition will not twiddle thumbs. The initial surprise and of course dismay will soon shift to closing of ranks, damage control and eventually counter-punch; the last literally as well, if the antics of a UPFA strong-man in Kalutara on Friday (immediately after Maithripala announced his candidacy) are anything to go by.

Already sweet sounding terms such as good governance, democracy, rule of law, constitutional change, abolishing of the executive presidency etc., are sounding hollow as people unable to contain individual ambition talk of ‘high posts’ in a post-Mahinda scenario. Maithripala’s first press conference as candidate lost a lot of gloss when it became as much a candidacy announcement as it was a blueprint regarding Ranil Wickremesinghe’s political future. It was also, as Dayan Jayatilleka argues well in an article titled ‘The Sirisena surge – and why Mahinda is still way ahead,’ about Rajitha Senaratne unrilling his political autobiography and Chandrika Kumaratunga’s ‘prolonged and self-justificatory lamentation’.

Mahinda MaithriEarly setbacks notwithstanding the coming weeks will see intense politicking by both parties and their respective backers because everyone involved has much to win and a lot of lose. It’s investment time, clearly.  The problem is that if you just count Parliament, there can only be 224 ministers.  People can speculate of course, but people must understand that there will be hundreds of others who will also be calculating.

It is in this context that it makes sense for politicians at lower levels (provincial councils for example) to think money instead of position. The going rate for a provincial councilor is said to have moved up from Rs 10 million to Rs 25-35 million.  Rest assured, those ‘on offer’ will be going the way of the highest bidder. It goes without saying that those who are ready to bribe will not be averse to take bribes in return.  This being the case, we can take the democracy rhetoric out of the equation. It is not about lofty ideas. It’s about personal glory. Perks. Frills. Tidbits. As has always been the case, one might add.

Those in power will not let go. Those out of power want it badly. The voter has to choose between such persons. Track records will come into play. Personalities too. Friends of each candidate will be looked at closely. What is promised will be considered. Gratitude will come into play. Punishment for wrongs done will also be factored in. The crimes and virtues of coalition partners will not be forgotten. There will be talk of devils, known and unknown. Some will weigh the virtues of political stability against the need to correct flawed structures.  ‘Doability’ will be assessed. All this in the coming weeks.

And there will be those who will try to convince, cajole, trick, intimidate and cheat the voter. And there will be those who will be suckered into voting for those who promise the undeliverable, those who auction non-existing resources and those who promise heaven over hell or heaven over a would-be hell as the case may be.

It is an exciting time, no doubt. All the more reason to be alert. Politicians, after all, are made of promises. This is the month of the voter. Let the voter strive to be a hard purchase.

*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

  • 12
    2

    Darth Insidious at it again. The subliminal message is Maithreepala is promising the undeliverable, he is supporting Ranil, his first public appearance post announcement was a failure, and he too is trying tobribe provincial councillors and MPs. Mahinda will give a counter punch. Nothing really critical about Mahinda, but the tone of the piece is oh so holier than thou.

    post Mahinda this dude will become an irrelevant grouch like Nalin de Silva.
    s

  • 5
    1

    Poor Malinda in now worried about his purchase price.

    • 10
      1

      .
      Last year was a laptop, this year he might be lucky if he gets a mouse.

      :-)

  • 1
    4

    Dear diehard UNP supporters,

    Please don’t fall for second best.

    Just hang in there. UNP WILL contest this election under UNP banner. Ranil will be the UNP candidate. Vote for him.

    Let Sirisena and Rajapaksha SHARE the rural Sinhala votes allowing Ranil to win the election easily.

  • 5
    0

    Malinda mate… How is life on the Wall? Sirisena and co wouldn’t touch you. Mahinda knows you wouldn’t even convince your mother to vote for him. Good luck….

  • 4
    1

    Malinda, what are you actually trying to say???are you confused whom to support???

    • 1
      0

      What Malinda is doing is waffling as usual with his beggar hands outstretched!

      The poor fellow needs to brush up his ragged CV and look for a peon’s job come January.

  • 2
    0

    Malinda did not talk certain things here.

    Don’t you think Mahinda Rajapakse was fooled into to this ?

  • 2
    0

    MalindAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA;

    DO NOT WORRY ABOUT VOTERS,
    THEY KNOW HOW TO VOTE AND TO WHOM THEY SHOULD VOTE.

    Be carefull, You must Support Jarapassa, Otherwise He will ask to return THE LAPTOP.
    You also can argue, if you are voting to Forth coming President, Hon Maithreepala Sirisena.

    You must Say,
    ” That is from People’s money you give laptops and Still you are pilfering people money and enjoying with your clan”.
    BUT if willing to vote for Forth coming President, Hon Maithreepala Sirisena,
    DO NOT EXPECT LAPTOP Or ant Damn Thing FREE!!!!!!!.

  • 3
    0

    I am sick and tired of the affairs of the governance. Malinda went to heights to protect this President and he does so even now. That is of course his right to do so. But one wonders what Malinda has to say about the blocking of the Satana show on Sirasa where Maitripala Sirisena appeared. We are doomed as nation with MR. So vote him out and change the system with absolute accountability.

  • 1
    1

    Malinda my ckskg friend please keep your mouth closed. I know 5 million people who want to fart into it.

  • 0
    0

    Please don’t insult Malinda while he is making a 180 degree turn. It is a good sign. Something to be happy about.

    Because even Malinda recognizes that the end is around the corner.

  • 0
    0

    Malinda, you are a paid servant of the regime. Your arguments do not have any validity. [Edited out]

  • 0
    0

    [Edited out]

  • 0
    0

    thanks for reading my stuff dudes. :)

    • 0
      0

      No worries Malinda
      Makes my Morning Constipation that more bearable reading your drivel.

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