2 December, 2021

Blog

The Long Crisis Of Sri Lankan Liberal Democracy: Strategy For The Opposition 

By Dayan Jayatilleka – 

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

This is more a plea than a polemic. What the young Trotsky termed (in 1905) the “intellectual democrats” have been operating with a paradigm that has accumulated so many anomalies and contrary results, that it should be abandoned at least on the cusp of a constitutional change (and a change of Constitution) that may be the most dangerously retrogressive we have experienced. And yet, there is no sign of such a paradigm shift that is so necessary to resist, survive and eventually prevail over the change that is in the offing.

Simply put, we are living under an illiberal democracy that may turn into a quasi-totalitarian constitutional order. Illiberal democracy was, to my mind, the product of the failure to defend liberal democracy and that failure itself is sourced in the effort to substitute a neoliberal democracy for a liberal democracy. Unless and until the paradigm of neoliberal democracy is critiqued and abandoned, it will be impossible to fight for a liberal democracy and its more progressive versions, a social democracy and/or a radical democracy.

The Yahapalanaya-2015 bloc has been savaged by the citizen-voter: the UNP eliminated, the JVP almost so, and the TNA compacted. Sirisena’s SLFP barely survived. And yet, some politicians and intellectuals want to press ‘replay’, and hold out 2015 as some kind of Camelot?

JR’s axiom that no party can win a two-thirds majority under Proportional Representation was not shattered primarily by Basil Rajapaksa’s political genius– which places him in a higher category than JRJ in a new hagiographical account, a ‘Basil’s Election’ version of ‘Gota’s War’ (reposted on LankaCNews), doubtless with succession in mind. JR’s axiom was destroyed by Ranil Wickremesinghe who ruined the UNP far beyond the point that any of its great leaders ever thought it would or could be wrecked.

It was not the Rajapaksas but Ranil who has reduced the UNP to rubble.

The only ruling party that suffered such a fate of historic displacement and diminution as has the UNP (but never to that extent) was the UK’s Liberal Party. History proved it irreversible. The only future for the UNP is in a classic Lab-Lib formula, with the SJB as Labour and the UNP as the Liberals.

Seismic Sinhala Shift

A successful strategy for the Opposition will have to contain three components: a lucid grasp of present oppositional realities and past errors, the ‘best practices’ of Oppositions – and comebacks in pertinent/related fields of endeavor—in the island’s contemporary history, as well as the best practices of Oppositions in contemporary world politics.

The most dramatic comebacks were by the UNP in 1977, the SLFP in 1994, and Mahinda Rajapaksa since 2015. The greatest comeback in the island’s modern history is that of the Lankan military in 2006-9.

The Opposition has to grasp that what has taken place in 2019-2020 is not a ‘wave’ as in 2015, which will inevitably flow back. It is not a mood, though it partly is. It is an existential decision, though not all of it is. It is a tectonic shift in Sinhala-Buddhist and probably pan-Sinhala consciousness, which will never return to 2015, even in the direst economic circumstances, just as Russia will never go back to the Gorbachev-Yeltsin 1990s.

The shift is not basically a matter of ethno-religious chauvinism—that is the dark, toxic froth; the excrescence. Beneath the chauvinist excrescence, it is basically a matter of political nationalism, reacting (as Russians did) to a perceived weakening of the state through neoliberal reform. Nationalism is defensive and legitimate, while chauvinism is aggressive, offensive.

In 2018-9, the Alt-Right axis, namely Viyathmaga-Eliya-Yuthukama and the local FOX News, distorted and diverted the populist-nationalism of the 2015-2017 MR/JO surge, pumping in toxicity (from ‘infertility pills’ to ‘Dr. Shafi and The Tying of the Fallopian Tubes of 4000 Sinhala Women’). ‘Radio Bemba’-type propaganda was spiked with ‘instinctual fascistic’ messaging and personality cult-building (as US critics say of FOX and the ‘Trump cult’).

To re-engineer and re-direct the undergirding Sinhala nationalist-populist shift, the Opposition has to meet that shift partway (as Ranasinghe Premadasa did) or remain in limbo (as Ranil did).

Postmortem: UNP’s Slow Suicide

How and why did the UNP, the party of the founding of the independent state of Ceylon, the party of the great ‘Presidentialist-statists’ JR Jayewardene and Ranasinghe Premadasa, bequeath the banner of statism and strong national leadership to its electoral opponents?

The UNP’s slow-motion suicide began with the sabotage of President Premadasa’s funeral by a declaration of curfew, followed by the conversion to the DUNF/impeachment motion’s ideology of anti-Presidentialism. The ideology was later adopted by Ranil Wickremesinghe who knew he couldn’t win a Presidential election. With the drastic change of the UNP Constitution in 1995 and the dismantling/disempowerment of its grassroots organizations, the UNP’s feedback came not from elected base organizations as before, but from unaccountable NGOs a.k.a. ‘civil society’, which had a neoliberal, soft anarchist/neo-nihilist attitude to the state, even in the decades of an intense war.

Ranil broke a half-century of UNP tradition and affiliated the party with an ideologically-driven international alliance, the International Democratic Union (IDU) which grouped the West’s center-right and Christian Democrat parties, becoming its Asian vice-president. His mentality, ideology and those of the party became further disconnected from the national reality. “Ranil The Leader has the support of the international community” was the UNP’s mindless mantra while its popularity was in free-fall.

The UNP’s pre-Premadasa Establishment recomposed post-Premadasa, under Ranil, and crystallized around a consensus that eventually destroyed the UNP. Premadasa’s developmental and social upliftment programs, which kept the majority of the people with the UNP, were abandoned in favor of neoliberal economics which eroded that social base. The split in the party over the impeachment motion was thought to be the worst danger and blamed on Premadasa, while in actuality the shrinkage of the vote base was an existential threat. Premadasa’s commitment to national sovereignty was replaced by abject servility to the West. Premadasa’s sole weakness was not rectified but compounded exponentially by his successors: a deficit of strategic clarity, resolute will and consistent drive in extirpating Tiger terrorism (demonstrated by Mahinda Rajapaksa).

As Karu Jayasuriya can attest, The Premadasa Center (of which I was Executive Director) fought hard in the second half of the 1990s against all this, warning that it would derail and destroy the UNP, but ours was “a voice crying out in the wilderness”.

The signs were neon-lit in 1997. The Premadasa Center’s Chairman, Sirisena Cooray, was arrested by President Kumaratunga on trumped-up charges and quickly released (with costs) by the Supreme Court. Ranil didn’t say a word of criticism still less launch a campaign of protest though Cooray was the man who refused the Prime ministership when President Wijetunga offered it to him and suggested Ranil’s name instead, and what is more, handed over the power-base that was the UNP’s Colombo Central branch to Ranil, at a huge public meeting. Ranil marginalized Cooray and thereby lost the finest electoral and party organizer the UNP had.

It didn’t stop there. Ranil removed at the very last moment, the final blitz of advertisements for Karu Jayasuriya already sent to the newspapers by Irvin Weerackody and Milinda Moragoda, during the Colombo Mayoral campaign of 1997. Karu won nonetheless, and during his celebratory dinner at the Mayor’s official residence (which he never occupied), I warned him that Ranil would never let him consolidate in Colombo and would exile him to where he would eventually fail. It happened, and after an initial success in Gampaha, Karu was humiliatingly beaten by a teledrama starlet.

A quarter-century of neoliberalism under CBK and Ranil (with Mangala in common) — the ‘Sudu Nelum’ movement, the ‘Union of Regions Package’, the CFA, the PTOMS, Geneva 2015, the non-unitary ‘Orumittanadu’ draft– culminated in two shattered democratic pillars, the SLFP and UNP, the latter razed. When governing parties and leaders do not defend and protect the state, the majority nation/national majority turns to the ultranationalists. Self-delegitimization through state-erosion reduced the moderate democratic center to Ground Zero.

How to Defend 19A

If the Opposition takes up from where Ranil’s UNP ended in 2020 or from Yahapalanaya 2015 rather than from 1993 which was the last time the UNP had an elected President, or better still 1988-’89 when it last won the leadership of the country, the Sinhala voter will return as ‘The Punisher’.

If the new Opposition only substitutes for the shrunken UNP, filling that diminished space, it will never catch up with and surpass the Sinhala shift to the Pohottuwa, by 2024. It must breakout and breakthrough to the Sinhala heartland.

The 19th amendment is far more positive than negative and therefore must be vigorously, unconditionally defended, but it also facilitated a terrible calamity, and therefore should be rectified by negotiation, not defended uncritically. The Opposition must fight resolutely for political democracy against the regime’s totalitarian moves, in the courts, in parliament and outside –but not on a restorationist neoliberal basis. Instead, it must extend the campaign in the direction of a progressive, radical democracy.

The social context is one in which the 19th amendment is perceived as an experiment in neoliberal reform which opened the door of vulnerability to the Easter bombings –as with the 1990s Yeltsin reforms and the eruption of jihadist Chechen terrorism.

The Easter massacre is directly sourced in the post-19A inability of the executive President to dissolve Parliament until 4½ years have elapsed. President Kumaratunga was able to avoid a similar tragedy by removing Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s portfolios, dissolving Parliament, and constituting a new government with MR as PM. One of the motivations and contributory causes was the US Pacific Command report that revealed the alarming LTTE artillery buildup around Trincomalee harbor. Mr. Wickremesinghe buried the report. It was scooped by the Sunday Times which ran full-page excerpts. President Kumaratunga and Lakshman Kadirgamar went to Delhi to brief Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the report. A Pearl Harbor was avoided in the nick of time by Presidential intervention.

President Sirisena tried but could not exercise the same option because of certain provisions of 19A. Few voters believe that had Mahinda Rajapaksa remained PM, with Sirisena as President and re-inducting Gotabaya Rajapaksa into defense, the security apparatus would have been so lax that India’s intelligence warnings would have been bounced around the system, not reaching the top and being swiftly acted upon.

The 2015 Model

2015 did not fail because the Yahapalanaya government didn’t prosecute crooks with sufficient vigor. Foreign Minister Samaraweera lobbied John Kerry and secured teams from US Homeland Security and the US Department of Justice (including the FBI) to investigate the Rajapaksas. They didn’t find anything that resembled a smoking gun or even “a warmish one” (that’s from ‘Daredevil’). The Sinhala voters felt that an ex-President who saved the nation from three decades of terrorism was being persecuted, together with his family and loyalists, by those who had appeased the terrorists. Meanwhile, the appointee of the Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was thought to be the biggest crook of all, who scammed the Central Bank and skipped town.

There is another reason why ‘2015’ should not be the lodestar of Oppositional strategy. This regime has learned from it and is already designing a constitutional-electoral ‘garrison state’ to make a repetition impossible. Both 2015 and 2018 succeeded against Mahinda Rajapaksa. Anyone who thinks that the Gotabaya Presidency is like a Mahinda Presidency is unlikely to survive it.

Oppositional Best Practices

The post-1970 defeat, post-Dudley Senanayake UNP of 1973-1977, radically remade by the unlikely duo of JR Jayewardene and Ranasinghe Premadasa, never harked back to their previous victory of 1965 and the period 1965-70. The Old Guard was removed and the party radically reorganized in a participatory-democratic and socially representative mode. While the economic performance of the powerful SLFP-led coalition government was abysmal, JR and Premadasa never mentioned the ‘Green Revolution’ again.

Just how far Opposition front-bencher R. Premadasa was from a ‘reconstructionist’ attitude to the defeated UNP Old Guard and a ‘restorationist’ attitude to the previous UNP government of 1965-70 was best illustrated by his daily attendance at the Criminal Justice Commission hearings of 1972-75 i.e. the trial of Rohana Wijeweera and the ultraleft JVP rebels of April 1971. Having commenced politics in the Labour Party, Premadasa was a serious, empathic observer/student of youth radicalism in Lankan society.

Even when locked in a civil war with the JVP, Premadasa never displayed misplaced loyalty by defending the controversial track record of the Jayewardene UNP government. He never referred to it positively or uncritically as “our government’ or “during our government”. Instead he acknowledged the JVP’s critique of the UNP’s policies which he had himself criticized in Cabinet and taken his distance from while providing an alternative paradigm through his programs and 1988 Manifesto. There was more rupture than continuity with the UNP of which he had been the PM. He accepted the validity of the rebellion’s calls for national sovereignty and socioeconomic justice and strove to assuage and address them, while crushing the JVP’s murderous violence.

In his valiant oration to the tension-filled Parliament at the height of the 1991 impeachment crisis, Premadasa made a (seemingly) surprising reference to SWRD Bandaranaike as a martyred victim of the entrenched elite Establishment. A bitter critic of Sirimavoist nepotism, Premadasa however regarded SWRD’s struggle as possessing a progressive social aspect or element, and 1956 as a seismic shift, not a mere “wave”. He was, as Mervyn de Silva noted, ‘the representative of the spirit of ’56 within the UNP; the SWRD (or SLFP) in the UNP’. This heterodoxy differentiated him from the conventional UNP, enabling him to defeat Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike (billed “the heroic mother of the nation”) in 1988, and the xenophobic JVP insurrection in 1989.

A classic Opposition pivot was the CBK candidacy of the People’s Alliance in 1994. It was a rupture with the 1970 SLFP government’s policies and profile. The 1970-77 track record was regarded as a huge liability and a memory to be overcome. There was no assumption that after 17 years of UNP rule, the voters would nostalgically hail the policies of Sirimavo Bandaranaike. A complete ideological makeover was prerequisite and prelude for the unprecedented, unsurpassed CBK triumph of 1994.

If only she had stayed with/within the Indo-Lanka Accord and the 13th amendment as Vijaya Kumaratunga did, activated the Interim Administration and appointed Devananda, channeling a ‘Sirimavoist’ will to prevail when Prabhakaran restarted the war in April 1995, and consistently heeded Lakshman Kadirgamar and Anuruddha Ratwatte instead of her PTOMS negotiator and Ethnic Affairs advisor, she and the SLFP would be (back) in office today.

The most significant recovery in the modern history of our island is that of the Sri Lankan military in 2006/7, resulting in a stunning victory over the world’s most formidable terrorist formation at the time, in under three years. Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sarath Fonseka and Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s paradigm shift to war-winning, and Fonseka’s revolution in training, strategy and tactics, meant that the LTTE was no longer facing the enemy it had for decades—though it was the same officer-corps, often defeated and defensive earlier. The military doctrine and command philosophy had totally changed.

After the rightist-nationalist remaking of British society and mindset by Maggie Thatcher, the British Labour Party shed its trade unionist ideology and rebranded itself as a ‘Third Way’ formation under the leadership of Tony Blair in order to win elections on the terrain transformed by Thatcherism. The UNP’s equivalent social vulnerability was/is the association with NGOs with a profile of wartime appeasement of terrorism.

The US Democrats had to live down Jimmy Carter’s liberalism and shift to a new centrism under Bill Clinton, so as to prevail on the terrain reconstituted by Reaganism, which had eaten into the Democrat vote, creating ‘Reagan Democrats’. In 2020 the Democrats smartly eschewed a neoliberal Hillary Clinton candidacy, opting for a revamped configuration of the Obama-Biden ticket instead.

The Middle Path to Victory

The Opposition will have to fight in 2024 on the social terrain and public imagination as reconstituted by the Mahinda and Gotabaya phenomena. That will require an ideological ensemble of a neo-Premadasa developmental-populism, with the addition of several planks acquired from Mahinda Rajapaksa’s nationalist-populist platform and a few from Vijaya Kumaratunga’s left-populist one.

The common factor in almost all cases of repositioning and political success by Opposition parties is the recapturing, through reworking, of the nationalist-patriotic, national security, and law and order appeal of the Right, as part of the larger project of (re)constituting the Center, winning back the working people and middle classes in city, suburb and countryside.

The middle path is not a straight line over flat terrain. The center-space does not remain static; it is mobile and contingent; located differently in different places and times.

SWRD’s Middle Path lay between the conservative Right on the one hand and the Marxist Left on the other. Today it runs between neoliberalism and neoconservatism; minoritarianism and majoritarianism; comprador cosmopolitanism and supremacist ultra-nationalism. In ethnic relations, between liberal federalism and recentralized unitarism. In accountability and human rights, between Geneva-2015 and unilateralist rejection of the UNHRC. In foreign policy, between abject dependency and absolute sovereignty. In strategic orientation, between the USA and China.

To paraphrase and adapt Gramsci, both neoliberalism and neoconservatism are dying but not yet dead, and what has not yet been born is a progressive (social) democratic globalization; a globalized progressive (social) democracy.

In the global South, social democracy and liberalism cannot stand on their own. They have to be more robustly statist and universally welfarist, aiming for the goal of “very high human development” as Godfrey Gunatilleke, the island’s finest surviving intellect, has called for.

Liberal and social democracy have to be organically rooted in patriotic Populism. This is necessary to engage not only reason but also sentiment; not just the intellect but also the imagination; not merely the mind but also the heart.

In relation to its quarter-century of failure and the ghosts of the past, the Opposition can do no better than heed the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, delivered a month before the Emancipation Proclamation:

“…The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present…As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.” (Lincoln, Annual message to Congress, Dec 1st 1862)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 15
    5

    All groups opposing 20A as it is presented, which should include political parties as well, have a major task in their hands which should be undertaken immediately. No party can wait until 2024 but take immediate action. The first action should be to activate offices in every electorate which should be manned by those who won and lost the elections from the opposition. In this the JVP cannot operate alone. All parties should work as one group, through the offices based in each electorate and meet with voters on a regular – planned manner, in small gatherings and explain the dangers of 20A to the masses and get their support/opposition to the amendment. In addition Lawyers unions and professional associations should come out of their woodwork and openly state their opinion on the proposed amendment. There is no time to waste. Those who have international connections should immediately meet with the Ambassadors of all countries and detail to them the dangers and seek their support in motivating international bodies to show their opposition. This is the gravest period in Sri Lankan history since independence. Our democracy is in danger. If we miss this chance then there will be no more elections but only Dictatorship and Family Rule.

    • 4
      5

      You are the one telling gravest period in Sri Lanka? Bullshit. This period is the best period of Heladiva (Sri Lanka). Sinhalese Aryans country elected 185 MPs (Sinhalese) 74.9% Sinhalese, 11.2% Sri Lanka Tamils, 4.2% Indian Tamils, and 9% Moors. Completely wiped out who supported Terrorists Oriented Parties, especially UNP. Live and let live. See now South Africa, 80.9% Blacks, 7.8% Whites, 2.5% Indian Asians 8.8% Colored living in that country. South African Blacks deserved to rule their country, same as Zimbabwe (Rhodesia)99.4% Black Africans, 0.4% Whites and 0.2% unspecified. Sri Lanka (Heladiva) not rule by bullshit International Community. Anyway, another 50 to 100 years Rajapaksa Dynasty, it’s same as how the British Monarch head of the Government

    • 2
      0

      Looks like you guys are now panicking. GR and MR told people the will repeal 19th amendment and also bring a new constitution. People agreed and gave them 2/3. I have to ask one question from these pundits. When PM had all these powers after 19th amendments, what former PM did for the country to solve problems. Nothing. If he used the power and did the job, we are not talking about a new president, new parliament etc. So, let GR required power and run the country. If he could not resolve issues, people and opposition have the chance to get power back with 2/3 and cancel 20A and new constitution. So, stop BS talks and let him run the country. If opposition push him too much, he will rush for a new constitution with more and more power and hold a referendum this year and win it. Then you guys will have a long break to think what have we done?

    • 2
      0

      The concerns of Buddhist 1, are genuine. So are the pleadings of some others who have commented. At least by 2018, the coming doom was casting its shadows. But for Corona Virus, change of course would have been a reality months ahead. Much vaunted Democracy couldn’t have behaved differently. The Juggernaut is moving relentlessly on as it was destined to.
      Annual elections if there be the need or whim is on its way to get anointed with constitutional sanction. So with a 30 year old President, fresh from callow youth What more is needed to rejuvenate a superannuated polity?

    • 3
      0

      Dayan Jayatilleka types:

      “JR’s axiom that no party can win a two-thirds majority under Proportional Representation was not shattered primarily by Basil Rajapaksa’s political genius– which places him in a higher category than JRJ in a new hagiographical account, a ‘Basil’s Election’ version of ‘Gota’s War’ (reposted on LankaCNews), doubtless with succession in mind.”

      Basil I need a job.

  • 12
    2

    Well, the Opposition is playing politics. They know the next president is from their party and they are keen to have limitless powers of the president under 20A. However, the Opposition must petition court to make a referendum compulsory. At the referendum Rajapaksas can only go downhill. They cannot win 59%. Even if they win over 50% that is a win for the Opposition. If they win less than 50%, it is game over for Rajapaksas.

    • 2
      1

      GATAM

      I wonder whether crocodiles do indeed shed tear.

      “However, the Opposition must petition court to make a referendum compulsory. At the referendum Rajapaksas can only go downhill. “

      This is going against the wishes of Vendaruwe Upali Thero, the Anunayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter, who said “Gotabaya Rajapaksa should opt for military rule if this is what is necessary to build the country.” – Colombo Telegraph JUNE 20, 2018.

      Don’t you know you should not go against saffron brigades and the ranaviruses?

    • 2
      0

      No needs referendum at all, 2/3 Majority more than enough and even Attorney General said no needs Referendum. Terrorists and Extremists’ Oriented parties wanted a referendum. Last general election 59% voted for Gotabaya and 62% for Gotabaya, Presidential Election. Tamils and Muslims robbed the wealth of Sri Lanka and said Sinhalaya Modaya Kevun Kanta yodaya. All those days are gone with the wind. Sri Lanka People are wise now. You can fool some of the people all the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time

  • 11
    2

    AS long as Ranil wants to hang on to UNP , there is no redemption for the party. It is dead and gone unless they ditch ranil and look to a younger,energetic and charismatic person you can forget UNP and look for an alternative party to redeem the country from the clutches of dictator. The only way is for which ever party that wishes to take the mantle has to be ultra nationalist one with lot of cash to buy the votes. Gota will rule the country for at least 10 years in that time people will suffer enough to realise the situation, and that is the time to strike. We have to wait patiently build up from grass root and strike when and only when the time is right,m that’s the way forward for any opposition to be effective.

  • 6
    1

    AS long as Ranil wants to hang on to UNP , there is no redemption for the party. It is dead and gone unless they ditch ranil and look to a younger,energetic and charismatic person you can forget UNP and look for an alternative party to redeem the country from the clutches of dictator. The only way is for which ever party that wishes to take the mantle has to be ultra nationalist one with lot of cash to buy the votes. Gota will rule the country for at least 10 years in that time people will suffer enough to realise the situation, and that is the time to strike. We have to wait patiently build up from grass root and strike when and only when the time is right,m that’s the way forward for any opposition to be effective. Forget 19A it is dead and gone.

  • 7
    6

    A very admirable incisive analysis.

    DJ has taken us for a long walk [After all its a long essay! ] along the corridors of recent History. It is by no means a Polemic.

    As it is, can the present opposition be able to galvanise all those who see the 20th amendment as the last nail on the coffin of Democratic governance?
    Timeo Danaos et dona ferrentes: I fear the Rajapakses even when they bring gifts!

  • 15
    2

    Dayan is a master at coining neologisms and fabricating new concepts to justify his opportunistic allegiances to suit changing political configurations. He’d be writing totally different gibberish today if Ranil had given him some position in his government, or if Viyathmaga had been more receptive to his overtures. He is a political fortune hunter debasing political science. Only R. Premadasa and now his son – both theoretically-challenged but eager to rule – would fall for Dayan’s pseudo expertise.

  • 5
    2

    I think the UNP has two choices. It can position itself as the sole defender of liberal democracy and appeal to the masses to look at the bigger picture. Four years from now the current Government is likely to be very unpopular. This happens with all Governments and despite improvements in some areas, its authoritarian nature will be resented and people will long for the ‘good old days’.
    .
    The second choice is for the UNP to appeal to the racial and religious instincts of the people and try and outdo the SLPP as the SJB seems to be doing. This is not a good choice and in any case they are not likely to succeed.
    .
    Let us hope the UNP sees that it is in both their own and the nation’s interest to make the first choice.

  • 6
    0

    I commend Dayan for article well written.
    Mahinda , Gota and SF gave leadership to the defense forces and won the war. After that Mahinda with his family thought they were given the license to pilfer the country and became billionaires by stealing the wealth of the poor country. Nepotism became rampant and now appearing again.
    But biggest traitor to the country was Ranil. He became leader of the UNP merely because he was a nephew of JR and all other leaders were killed by LTTE.
    He knew he was not capable and so he rule the UNP in dictatorial manner by forming a inner circle of his cololombo friends and other friends sharing his sexual deviation. It will be obvious if you look at recent high ranks he appointed to mange UNP.
    People vote for Yhapalanaya Knowing that they betray there hero of Mahinda in order to safeguard the country from corruption and abuse of law. He promised to punished them but insted palyed ponsy game to public by varies ineffective court system and protect Rajapkse caln behind the scence.

    • 2
      5

      Jack,
      “After that Mahinda with his family thought they were given the license to pilfer the country and became billionaires by stealing the wealth of the poor country. “

      This is the image that anti-Rajapakse mafia is trying to portray. The truth is after eliminating Tamil terrorist barbarians who ruined the economy, Rajapakshe regime focused their attention to revive the economy and they did a great job. Unfortunately for Sri Lanka, some guys did not want to see Sri Lanka emerging out of the economic crisis under the leadership of Rajapakshes. So, the ‘Regime Change’ mafia became active to get rid of Rajapakshes and they managed to do that because of some Sinhala idiots who got exited with ‘WENASA’ (change).
      ‘Jadapalana’ dong kees ruined all the achievements of Rajapakshes. Mangala Samaraweera and Rajitha Senaratne failed to show where Rajapakshes were hiding $18 billion. It was ‘Jadapalana’ crooks that stole peoples’ money through ‘Bond Scam’.

      • 1
        0

        Eagle Eye,
        Let me take this dialogue from your angle:
        – after eliminating Tamil terrorist who ruined the economy.
        You make huge assumptions here.
        *Tamil terrorists ruined the economy.
        *After eliminating the terrorists.
        On,
        *The economy is in shambles due to your own making.
        Rajapaksas have the island’s wealth in their pockets.
        * Eliminating the terrorists.
        The ‘terrorists’ are still running the country. They got India to eliminate LTTE.
        ______________________
        The country will never emerge out of the economic crisis until you get rid of the real terrorists.

      • 2
        0

        Eagle Brain Dead Blind Eye

        “The truth is after eliminating Tamil terrorist barbarians who ruined the economy, “

        Eliminating terrorism is good however Mahinda went to Geneva with explicit photos depicting Sinhala/Buddhist Sri Lankan army’s barbaric acts to prevent the war criminals eliminating Sinhala terrorists.

        By the way his brother Gota was very active burying dead bodies at various places, dumping some in the rivers, burning some on tyre pyres, …..

  • 8
    1

    Only good thing came from their goverment was independent commissions, limiting presidential terms. They went too much into preventing president from holding defense ministry and his ability dissolve parliament at least after three years. Ranil did not care about sovereignty of the country and belittle the public. Minority parties became Shylock’s and ask for more meat.
    People now think corrupt nepotistic Rajapakse is better than what they saw in Yahapalana goverment. As a result we are going to loose our basic civic right.
    Time to cry now .

  • 9
    1

    Only the particularly stupid Sri Lankan culture could have produced a man and later a leader like Ranil.

    Despite repeated defeats the UNP could not see the world except through the eyes of Ranil.

    It was obvious from the beginning he was no leader. His career was created artificially by his uncle JR, himself an over-rated manipulator. Today the Presidential system JR created is supported by MR and the power hungry Rajapakse family while JR’s own UNP wants to reduce Presidential powers !

    As soon as Ranil became leader, he changed the UNP constitution ( in 1995) making himself the virtual leader for life. The UNP did not oppose him because he is from a high family and could speak in English to foreign leaders wearing a suit !

    How can he speak of democracy !

    Even after humiliation after humiliation at every election this man continues as leader, a real “Jonah” for everything he touches. He says he is for liberal values. One of those liberal values is to make his his nephew, the undeserving upstart Ruwan Wijewardena the next UNP leader. What about those loyal servants Vajira, Marasinghe or even Gamage ? The remaining donkeys in the UNP will vote as Ranil will manipulate them.

  • 1
    0

    The traditional opposition political parties had become obsolete and stale.

    They have to rebrand and modern in outlook or face natural death, that nobody mourns.

    The new opposition under new dynamic leadership be able to capture the emerging opportunities around the globe.

    It need not be middle path as Dayan suggests but a policy flexible enough to inspire the aspiring youth.

    • 1
      0

      srikrish

      “It need not be middle path as Dayan suggests but a policy flexible enough to inspire the aspiring youth.”

      First old men with clanging b***s should gracefully retire from politics.
      Second old men with clanging b***s should gracefully retire from typing.
      Third old men with clanging b***s should gracefully accept their inability to motivate younger generations, or being good role model to aspiring politicians and shut up.

      • 0
        0

        Exactly!

  • 1
    1

    The main part of the essay is only, verbose pratting. Thero has not got into subject at no place, but, ax ex. for in the section he was analyzing UNP’s failure, he was kept blaming Ranil but did say nothing about what caused the loss to UNP. UNP’s major problem was the last minute split. Otherwise there is a chance that UNP might have got about 75-90 seats. With that result, one cannot consider as UNP is wiped out. UNP is in, almost in intact. It is very unlikely UNP members staying as a separate party in SBJ. So UNP will unite back. Ranil’s loss is mountainous. Unheard. Ranil may not recover even if UNP get united. But that is not the case with SLFP. SLFP would not have even one National MP Position if it had stood alone. It is completely irrelevant that New King got 1 lakh votes in Polonnaruwa. If there were proper Slap Party candidates were opposing him. He would have even under-performed than the LG election or UNP in this election. Chandrika knows well about SLFP conditions. No more need to talk about it while she is releasing reports time to time about its condition.

  • 0
    1

    Ranil did two bad mistakes as politician.
    1). In politics no party can afford to play opposition for it. Ranil gave his body, soul, property to save Old King and designate him as hero. People gets only one vote, so they can give it either to Ranil provided he has campaigned for him that he had done mistake in Yahapalanaya time but he would correct and bring back law and order, or they can give to Old King, if Ranil says Old King is the country’s unchallenged Hero. Ranil even tried hard to please China and saved Old King from Colombo Pong Cing disaster and Hangbangtota Disaster, but he blocked India using Matala airport under a regular lease. Old King gave Jaffna Railway line to India earned good name and good profits. Ranil should have left Hangbangtota Sea Port & Colombo Artificial Island as Old King created disasters and should have earned some good name in Matala Airport. These China deals practically kept Western FDI away from the country. Only EU released GSP+ with 57 promises. He implemented nothing out of the 57. Now EU’s GSP is being wasted, not being able to use anywhere.

  • 0
    1

    During the coup Ranil met 6 times Old King and New King to save them from International action on the Coup. He had the last chance to destroy Royals with the 4/21 bombing. But he worked with Royals so bombing was not stopped. The double damage on that is he saved their Muslim agents also from the teeth of the law. Failure to honestly investigate Rishard and not punishing Muslim Ministers for going on political strike made the Sinhala Buddhists to feel enough is enough. He saved all local criminals too. He did not defend UNP from the central bank looting while Old Royals had done more than 100 times of the amount. It was Mahendran who ordered the Internal Auditors to stop auditing the Old Royal time looting.
    2).As the last & his biggest disastrous failure was Secret Solution. It was he who lighted Chandrika’s Solution 2000 in the parliament. If he wants to be anti-Tamil he should have dropped out Secret Solution from the very beginning. He knows Tamil & Muslims are the ones mainly vote for him. He wanted to handle UNHRC’s Resolution 30/1, cunningly. He signed it only to defuse the OISL’s accusation of 42 Old Royal gangs as War Criminals.

  • 0
    1

    Then he didn’t want to go on with Resolution 30/1. So he picked up Secret Solution to fools Tamils & IC. It sounds like smart idea. But it very badly back fired on him. Ranil did very well on fooling Sampanthar Ayya & for foreign governments on the exchange of Secret Solution for ICC investigation.
    In other words, he did not implement even one element from 30/1, while did not advance the Secret Solution even an inch. But that External success only earned bad name locally on Secret Solution & Resolution 30/1. Royals used Resolution 30/1 to discredit all the lifesaving jobs Ranil did for Old King at UNHRC. From the initiation of halfhearted Secret Solution Royals blamed him of splitting the country into two. Either he should have dropped the Secret Solution, or he should have put honest word like Chandrika’s Sudu Nelum and win the support of the Sinhalese. If he had won Sinhalese on Secret Solution he would easily won Sampanthan Ayya and IC on ICC investigation. But he wanted to protect the Sinhala Buddhism and article 9 on the JR constitution. So unlike CBK, he didn’t Sinhala Buddhist on Secret Solution. These are the actual matters disheartened Sinhala Buddhists, not Thero’s march past “Left Right Left Right about Turn”. Thero is obsessed with his “Left Right” so he is blind to real events.

  • 2
    0

    Your essay clearly demonstrates what is wrong with your approach.Your note is an academic exercise couched in abstract concepts and ideas. On the other hand, Premadasa was a man of the people. He spoke their “language”: hence his connecting well with the people. Ranils and Samaraweeras, in contrast, are slaves of the west. Ordinary Sri Lankans have little in common with the west. Your piece will probably be read by an “educated elite” of Sri Lankans (I doubt, but prepared to grant that). I would think that if you want to reach ordinary Sri Lankans, you need to climb down from your “ivory towers”.

  • 0
    0

    The author has touched upon many an issue which I consider it as a part of history but important facts. What matters is now an effective opposition. It could be a tall order. The methodology for that spelled out by the author may not be readable to the ordinary. Amongst the mass of material laid before us, a significant statement is that the current flower-bud landslide victory is not entirely due its organizational capacity or campaigning strategy but the conduct of the previous government and its leaders. That is what the current opposition must learn (and the government as well) and highlight any unsavoury conduct of the government. If its leaders are thinking of forming a government in the next elections then it must show its mettle now.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Dayan

    Thank you. You stated

    Liberal and social democracy have to be organically rooted in patriotic Populism. This is necessary to engage not only reason but also sentiment; not just the intellect but also the imagination; not merely the mind but also the heart.

    None of the above can happen until the Ratha Pottu Mafia FP/ITAK/TULF death squads are brought to the books for the Killing Fields in Jaffna 1970-197-1981.

    You can continue to analyse the history based on Sinhalese/Populism without including the Tamils because we have been condemned to death as a sacrificial cathod Nationally and Geo politically through the FP/ITAK/TULF/TNA proxy/folly is a historical fact.

    I guess this makes the analysis much easier too. I want bring in people like

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.