19 September, 2018

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The UNP Establishment’s & The Opposition’s Choices 

By Dayan Jayatilleka –

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

There are two reform proposals on the agenda, both of which are likely to be rejected and rightly so. The two proposals are the JVP’s 20th amendment and the government’s draft constitution. There are many reasons that rejection is likely. One is timing. The mass mood is for change, but not of Constitutional reform. The mood is one of regime change; of rejection of the government. The one thing that the people are sure of is that an exit ramp is coming up next year—that of the Presidential election. There is absolutely no appetite for risking that exit by tinkering with the Constitution, which might open the window to a postponement of national elections. If the executive presidency is abolished, the next election will be the parliamentary election of 2020 and not the presidential election of 2019. There is no way the masses will welcome such a deferral. There is also no way that any Opposition party will be able to be seen to accede to such a postponement of the day of reckoning with this government. 

The second factor that is related to mass mood and mistiming of initiatives, is that both proposals, the 20th amendment and the draft Constitution, entail a weakening of the state and the center of power. The proposals if implemented will go beyond the multi-polarity that has set in due to the 19th amendment. The mass mood is for the restoration of order through a strong state and leadership. No Opposition party which hopes to win the next national election can be seen to support a further weakening of the State.

Not even the justifiable desire to see Mahinda Rajapaksa return to lead the country—a sentiment I share in no small measure– will enable an Opposition party to collaborate with a reform proposal that weakens the state. Sinhala society already sees a win-win solution in which Mahinda is a powerful, highly popular and respected Prime Minister, while the System remains undiluted. That win-win solution is one of MR as PM and any one of his nominees as the presidential candidate (with Gotabhaya a favorite in many, but not all circles). 

It is the acme of stupidity to present the Opposition with a choice of the 20th amendment or the new Constitution, in the hope that factional rivalry will force it to choose. On the contrary, all the opposition has to do is to stay put, while the government’s unpopularity does the rest. Thus the boot is on the other foot. It is the UNP and the liberals who have to choose. 

For those liberals in particular and the UNP in general, whose very worst case scenario is Gotabaya as President, there is a choice on the table; and only one: revise the 19th amendment now, so as to allow Mahinda to run for President, or face Gotabhaya next year.

The Establishment also has a second choice to make: run Sajith Premadasa as UNP candidate, adopt a Premadasist platform, and make it a race, reducing the time lag for bounce-back as a strong opposition, or run with Ranil, and keep the party out of reach of the country’s top national leadership post for another quarter century, making it a half century in all. 

Frankly, from my point of view, the only real debate that is happening now is one that is taking place slightly beneath the surface, in the ranks of the Opposition. And that is with regard to the possibility of changing the parliamentary balance before the presidential election and moving Mahinda to center–stage (which is my overwhelming personal preference) or, if it fails, the best choice of candidate. What the Government says, thinks or does is of less importance because this is a government that is doomed to defeat.

Within the Government it is President Sirisena who still has options and he has cannily exercised them by permitting the SLFP’s Sixteen rebels to move into Opposition and open a second front against the UNP. The ranks of the opposition have now broadened and this gives both Mahinda and Maithri more options than Ranil has with his belated Constitutional moves by proxy.

The UNP has to face the facts. The SLFP has been in office and more strikingly, has held the highest office for quarter century. The SLFP has produced three presidents: Chandrika, Mahinda, and Maithri. The UNP has yielded none since Premadasa was elected in late 1988 and took office in early January 1993. Why then should the SLFP abolish the system? Even though the official SLFP is down to 14% of the vote, the Pohottuwa, which has 40% is the SLFP in disguise or rather, in its normal Populist guise and its breakaway mode. Taken together the Pohottuwa (JO+SLPP) and the SLFP can win any election, notwithstanding the minority vote. The resounding approval that Dr. Sarath Amunugama, a stalwart of the status-quoist SLFP faction, accorded Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s policy peroration simply goes to show that even the SLFP Right will support his candidacy. It is quite possible that if Sajith is not the UNP candidate, many UNP rebels may do so too.  

Analytical argumentation apart, the latest news gives us all the reasons why the 20th amendment and the new constitution should not be entertained and why we need a strong state and leadership—though I would prefer progressive “Sri Lankan Model of Development” (Godfrey Gunatilleke) to an attempt to imitate a Chinese or any other model, especially when we do not have a market of a billion people and we do have competitive multiparty elections!

Anyway, back to the newspapers. In any other country, including in South Asia, the clear photographs of staffers of the Hatton National Bank in Kilinochchi commemorating May 18th with a large graphic of a lion with a sword, hovering over a fallen Tamil damsel, would have led to a massive withdrawal of money from the HNB by the citizenry. If I had money in that bank, I would have pulled it out. There should have been demonstrations outside the head office! In the Sri Lanka I grew up in, the HNB would have been promptly nationalized, preceded by newspaper editorials and parliamentary speeches calling for such a step! 

Worse still, is the recent speech given by Chief Minister Wigneswaran in which he spotlights the weakness of the Sinhala leadership and argues that the Tamils must fight like Muhammad li, punching while the rival is tired. 

C V Wigneswaran while addressing Tamil People’s Council (TPC) meeting for youth in the Jaffna library auditorium on Saturday May 26th, said the following:

“Tamils have our rights according to international law. As the earliest people of this country, we have the right to claim self-rule over our area we live in…We have forgotten that we have rights as ancient people according to UN charter.

We have now a weakness that has spread among our youth. After our arms were silenced, a defeatist mentality has set in. We have hopelessness of who is going to deliver our expectations. We have to change all this and instill confidence in our people. You should know the behavior boxing champion, Muhammad Ali. He avoided the punches of his opponents and made them tired. When his opponents were tired, Mohammed Ali punched them profusely. Our moves should be like that of Mohammed Ali.

Sinhala political leadership which is denying our rights is getting weakened. They are facing political issues, economic problems, debt and intense international pressure. Sinhala political leadership is asking for more time to fulfil the promises given to the international community. This action has lowered the image of the Sri Lankan government in the eyes of the international community.

At such a time, Tamils should be united and tell the world our suffering which has happened in the past and present. Sinhala leadership should give us self-rule. We should have firm confidence that for its own reasons, the Sinhala political leadership should concede our self-rule at some point of time.”

This text appeared in the pro-Wigneswaran website Pathivu entitled ‘We Should Follow the Moves of Muhammad Ali’ and in the Sunday Thinakkural (May 27th, 2018) under the heading ‘Sinhala Political Leadership Is Getting Weakened’.

This dangerous thinking does not come from a lunatic fringe or a radical base in Tamil politics; it comes from the mainstream, and the top; from the Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council. In the face of this challenge, we need a strong state, a strong center and a strong leadership which crucially includes Mahinda Rajapaksa and may well include Maithripala Sirisena. If the challenge from the North becomes even more strident, the automatic result will be a pan-Sinhala recourse to the Gotabaya option.  

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Latest comments

  • 9
    4

    “The mass mood is for change, but not of Constitutional reform. “

    It was a clear message from the Srilankan mass in 2015 was constitutional change. To rational people, the mass includes Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and other groups belong to Srilanka. For Dayan, the mass means Sinhala Buddhist Fundamentalists who voted for Mahinda in 2015.

    • 1
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      That WAS 2015……..
      What we saw after 2015 was LTTE supporters back in north….and glorification of the LTTE. ……so we Sinhala people are not there anymore

  • 3
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    The minister who took Rs One million as a Bribe from PTL says 118 got similar deals. Outsiders say at least 175-200 go tmoney. I think Maithripala Sirisena got money too eventhough his own account is empty. Rajapakses were very good friends of Arjuns.

  • 4
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    dear doctor
    tell us who the opposition nominee for the presidency is without beating about the bush
    since your hero mahinda cannot contest who is it going to be?

  • 4
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    Ajith,

    The mass mood changed at LC elections……………2015 is way back in the past now………..

    • 4
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      Nothing changed in 2018 local elections. Just look at the overall votes. For Presidential election, there will be only two main candidates. That is the contest. Mahinda group only got 45% in 2018 compared to 47% in 2015. You don’t know what will happen within next two years. There are also possibilities Mahinda and Gota sharing one room but not in parliament .

  • 2
    1

    Yet again Dayan Jayatilleka is saying that the MR-team is superior to the MS/RW team in EVERY respect. Both are bad. We are in this invidious position of having to choose one.
    Not many people have the thick skin you have – what from revolutionary to Minister in Tamil Liberation EPRLF then to R Premadasa and now this. You have decided to live with corruption/nepotism/impunity. We are not.
    You are happy with the language/religion-divide of SLPP. We say that this divide brought us here and it is time we change our mindset.

  • 5
    0

    Ranil has corrupted the UNP and led it into a dead end.The present UNP is just chaps who are trying to make something for themselves.

  • 3
    0

    “For those liberals in particular and the UNP in general, whose very worst case scenario is Gotabaya as President, there is a choice on the table; and only one: revise the 19th amendment now, so as to allow Mahinda to run for President, or face Gotabhaya next year.”
    Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

  • 3
    2

    dr dayan
    how much did walt and rowe give MR or did he manage with govt money that basil gave him
    tell us the whole truth since you claim to meet him so often

  • 5
    3

    Dayan Jayatilleka the public racist

    “there is a choice on the table; and only one: revise the 19th amendment now, so as to allow Mahinda to run for President, or face Gotabhaya next year..”

    Let us crown the “Sri Lanka Rajawansa Vibooshana Dharmadeepa Chakravarthi” the first emperor of post colonial Sri Lanka and declare Dr Gota the Yuvaraj. .

    However there are 14,000,000 or there about alternatives available and age wise qualified to contest any election.

    Todays Quote:

    What we think, we become.
    Buddha

    Perhaps you just want to the crooked war criminal.

    • 3
      2

      Dayan Jayatilleka the public racist

      Perhaps you just want to be the crooked war criminal.

  • 3
    1

    ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.’ Dayan, hopes to threaten the Tamils with the ‘Gota option’. How funny considering so many Tamils live outside of Gota’s grasp. Silly little boys, playing nationalist games.

  • 3
    1

    So, what will Dayan Jayathilake get out of this, another opportunity to live a few years in Paris or Geneva ? Just wreck the country and make dough for me. Typical protestant way for Sri lanka.

  • 6
    2

    Dr. DJ says and I quote:
    “For those liberals in particular and the UNP in general, whose very worst case scenario is Gotabaya as President, there is a choice on the table; and only one: revise the 19th amendment now, so as to allow Mahinda to run for President, or face Gotabhaya next year.”

    Exactly! If some folks are shaking in their boots in fear of Gota, let the other brother Mahinda contest.

    • 2
      5

      wannihami

      Once upon a time there lived an evil king whom the people disliked for his imposition of too much tax on their very little income and other evil act (perhaps white vanning). He died one day. The son became the next king by dynastic rules. He was aware of the people’s dislike for his father in fact the people hated him. The son was worried. He decided to do something.

      He consulted his spin doctor. The spin doctor advised him to double the tax. Days and months went by, people started hating the son and they started praising the father for his generosity.

      The moral of the story is ………………………………………………

      • 0
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        NV – “The moral of the story is……………………” Possibly this story is about a bogus doctor who is a warmonger and a public racist #1.

    • 2
      3

      wannihami

      We know Mahinda was opposed to presidential form of governance for a long time until VP and Hindians won the war for him. As JR said those who oppose Presidential form of governance find it very cosy once they are elected to it.

      You are interested only in one man’s comfort not the entire nation. Presidential system does not devolve powers to the people instead it gives absolute power to a single person. I am not sure you are aware of the quote, power corrupts absolute power corrupts absolutely. I assume you are not aware of it because you do not sincerely believe in democracy as you have portrayed yourself as a sycophantic pleb.

      Nothing wrong with being plebs.
      However you are an insult to them.

  • 1
    1

    Dayan Jayatillaka ~ “…………the clear photographs of staffers of the Hatton National Bank in Kilinochchi commemorating May 18th with a large graphic of a lion with a sword, hovering over a fallen Tamil damsel,…………”.
    It was a solemn occasion Dayan. No one remembers this ‘graphic of a lion………..’. How come?

  • 1
    1

    You should know the behavior boxing champion, Muhammad Ali. He avoided the punches of his opponents and made them tired. When his opponents were tired, Mohammed Ali punched them profusely. -CV
    On the contrary, all the opposition has to do is to stay put, while the government’s unpopularity does the rest. Thus the boot is on the other foot. It is the UNP and the liberals who have to choose. Thero
    Thero is just a copycat; even to attack, CV he can’t do better but to copy CV. Thero a pathetic case.
    “For those liberals in particular and the UNP in general, whose very worst case scenario is Gotabaya as President, there is a choice on the table; and only one: revise the 19th amendment now, so as to allow Mahinda to run for President, or face Gotabhaya next year.” Please not Thero not suggesting to amend 19A for Dual citizenship but to allow Old king for third term. Earlier is easily done than the latter. Thero too scared of Brother Prince coming back.
    Brother Prince is analyzed many times, in the recent days, in Colombo media. Either Thero missed it all or thinking of showing a spent bullet (Brother Prince) and threating to shoot UNP, knowingly. (Brother Prince is not released by USA. His Brother has not approved. He does not have Tamils & Muslims support. LG voting was about Old King not Brother Prince. – he is a spent bullet before even fired)
    Brother Prince, so desperate to advance his case, seeing Ranil is in Jaffna on political campaign, promised to treat Tamils the same way he treated the Muslims spies during the war. He said nothing will happen in future like it happened in the past, to Tamils. For those who have only 2 weeks memory, Tamils are on their struggle, under much different leaderships, like one of CV too, want to have the Old Brother Prince inquired for the war crime.

  • 1
    1

    Brother Prince’s command killed 150,000 Tamils in five months. He hired Thero to present it in UNHRC as Zero Casualty. Thero tried his best. But UNHRC does not believe Thero or Mangala or Tamara or Ariyasinghe or Tilak. So, as per Colombo Media, Ranil’s Yahapalanaya thinks, the only way to Save Brother Prince and Old King is pull out of UNHRC. The effectiveness of that strategy and Old Prince being saved by that method has to watched and seen. It is many times claimed by New King and Ranil that they both individually pulled Old King and Brother Prince out of the burning UN Electric Chair. In all his writing Thero claimed it is he who saved Old Brother Prince and Old King in UNHRC, though he never denied Ranil’s and New King’s claims that it was they who did it. The serious defect on Thero’s claims stems from two incidents, 1). Thero was fired in the middle from the job by Old Royals just like Ranil fired Mangala. Thero bluffed a lot during Jan, 2015 elections against Old King, but never properly explained why he was fired. 2). Old King ran out of Temple Tree House, hearing the telephone call of Ex.Sec. John Kerry. So Old King did not believe that he was saved, even todays, after UNP and SLFP claims so.
    Thero cannot remember that Old King took the 32 nations help to annihilate LTTE and many of out of that 32 sought the power change which’s results Thero is now proposing to reverse back. Thero’s entire analysis is only about internally consolidating the war victory his bosses achieved, but not the interest of the 32 nations who helped Thero’s bosses to achieve that victory.
    Nobody needs to contest Thero’s statics. Thero has to prove that fake analysist with achieving an election victory.

  • 1
    1

    The 45% voting achieved in LG was only for Slap Party‘s central policy of refusing a solution to Tamils. Mass thought Lotus Bud as Old King standing in all their electorates, as they not given candidates individually. So the votes that can be got by Old King with spreading utmost racial divisions were established in LG as 45%, nothing more. So now the question now is, will Ranil create in the coming EP election that hanging situation of Secret Solution which he purposefully created to teach a lesson to UNHRC (during its 37th sitting). All what one can think is, he will have all hanging issued properly closed before the EP election to ensure his victory. Further on that, he may grab the Brother Prince’s promise to treat Tamil in future like the Prince treated Muslim Spies during the war. That will split the Sinhala Buddhist to UNP and drive all Muslims who have already lost confidence in Old Brother Prince towards Ranil. But Tamils are unlikely moved by promises anymore.
    In the last essay, we noticed Thero gave up on Cuban Communism but baffling whether to praise or condemn the Old Brother Prince Capitalistic approach. Thero was not sure why he went on that direction, though Thero compared it with polices of Vallaiththoodam Junior. Thero probably suspecting Old Brother Prince is saying that because of his entanglement with America, but would not follow after he election. If so, it could be correct on Thero’s part that Old Brother Prince went to Western style because he might be thinking then America may give up the resolution 30/1 and support him.
    It is well known Thero doesn’t (cannot) do political analysis. He is too sacred of Old Royals; He does propaganda writing for them. He knows Tamils are weak and he hit them for that purpose. If he sees a sure chance like 2015, where it appeared Old Royals would lose, then only Thero will write against them. Thero analysis resembles the Muslim Leaders political practice i.e. staying the winning party.

  • 2
    0

    //This dangerous thinking does not come from a lunatic fringe or a radical base in Tamil politics; it comes from the mainstream, and the top; from the Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council. In the face of this challenge, we need a strong state, a strong center and a strong leadership which crucially includes Mahinda Rajapaksa and may well include Maithripala Sirisena. If the challenge from the North becomes even more strident, the automatic result will be a pan-Sinhala recourse to the Gotabaya option. //

    Double clap DJ! CVV is an ebullient racist who deserves a big punch on his nose. For the simple reason, that taking the northern SL to more anarchy and calamity.

    • 1
      0

      max

      Of all people you are calling CV Wiggy an ebullient racist. This is bit rich coming from you.

      I never understood what the bigots mean by racists? Could you define Racist.

      “who deserves a big punch on his nose.”

      Do you believe you are the judge, jury and the executioner?
      If so what is Dr Gota going to do if you take his place?

      You may be respected for being a bigot or a racist on your own merit. Don’t lower your dignity by being Dayan’s cheer leader or in fact his b***s carrier.

  • 0
    0

    “Anyway, back to the newspapers. In any other country, including in South Asia, the clear photographs of staffers of the Hatton National Bank in Kilinochchi commemorating May 18th with a large graphic of a lion with a sword, hovering over a fallen Tamil damsel, would have led to a massive withdrawal of money from the HNB by the citizenry. If I had money in that bank, I would have pulled it out. There should have been demonstrations outside the head office! In the Sri Lanka I grew up in, the HNB would have been promptly nationalized, preceded by newspaper editorials and parliamentary speeches calling for such a step!
    May I know without anything Thero telling taking place, instead, how the 150,000 murders with Chemical, Thermobaric, uncontrolled bombing became zero casualty at UNHRC in 2009?
    A possible explanation is Thero grow up in Ceylon, a onetime just society. 150,000 murders took place in Tamil Eelam. HNB is robbing Tamils under Rapist Army Occupation and moving the wealth to Lankawe. So, what Thero is talking may also become true. But HNB is doing its due part to uphold the Sinhala Hegemony of its heinous crime of controlling Tamils also true.

  • 2
    0

    Both the beauty and the bane of democracy is that every vote has the same weight.

    • 1
      2

      wannihami

      “Both the beauty and the bane of democracy is that every vote has the same weight.”

      It is sad and unreasonable isn’t wanni?
      Your intellectual conman Dayan thinks minority votes don’t/shouldn’t count in an elections. At the end of the elections he likes actual votes received by MR to be multiplied by two.

      Anyhow, please revisit all your typing for the last two years.

  • 1
    0

    Faking News:
    “Lankan currency notes traced back to a Lankan”
    And its not a Rajapaksa. Just a “manik malle” story.

  • 2
    2

    Doctor
    You are a shameless man.You
    were kicked out from Geneva
    by the former regime.Yet you
    are licking their boots.At present you are the “Sinhala only’man BUT
    remember in 1989 you were a
    minister in Varthaaraja Perumals
    Eastern Province provincial govt
    when they declared ELAAM.

    • 2
      0

      Haris Yapa,
      .
      A very valid observation – from Canada or from the Deep South of Sri Lanka?

  • 0
    0

    Dr D J is nothing if not prolific. He has had a turbulent life, looking every which way to see how he could serve. Serve, never lead, because he knows that no voter will ever buy his ‘intellectual tosh’ leave aside trusting him to deliver on any promise. DJ’s eternal quest has been for a godfather he could serve. Even losing his trousers has not deterred him. Every line DJ writes reminds me of what the prosecutor said of Antonio Gramsci at his trial all those long years ago: “We must stop this brain from working for 20 years.”

    I hasten to add that I would never stop anyone, leave aside DJ, from exercising his right to speak freely, however much I disagree with much of what he says.

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