24 August, 2019

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The UNP Presidential Hopeful & The Middle-Class Hopeful

By Sankalpa Marasinghe

Dr. Sankalpa Marasinghe

With a presidential election looming in the vicinity of six months and the two main political streams undecided on their champion who would lead them to an ultimate victory, the political environment in Sri Lanka is full of space, opportunity and choice.

Even before the clarification by the Chairman of the Elections Commission Mr Mahinda Deshapriya that the Presidential election will be held between 15th November and 7th December 2019 there were few individuals who apparently are not representing the two main streams of politics that announced their willingness to “take the country to prosperity” if given the chance to sit at the helm of the government. However, for completely different reasons unique to their own, the two main parties are still contemplating who in their ranks holds the best chance to take their respective camps to victory if fielded as the presidential candidate.

For the Rajapaksa camp, which could be a combination of the SLFP and the SLPP it has almost narrowed down to a tussle between the family members to decide which Rajapaksa would be the next President. However, President Sirisena scoring at the last moment and yet again becoming a “surprise candidate” could still not be ruled out completely.

For the other camp, which is mainly the UNP and the supporting minority parties the field is wide open. Battered with continued losses as a party and failing to produce a national leader who could effectively lead the country for almost three decades, the members of United National Party are yearning for a candidate who could provide them not only a decisive victory but also effectively retain power for at least till the end of his tenure. 

In a stark contrast to the two main political camps who are still undecided, the public it seems, is nicely grouping in to few very clear clusters with definitive common aspirations. The obvious two groups are the traditional UNPers and the traditional SLFP+SLPPer contingent. However, the size and the depth of these camps have changed considerably over the past decade mainly due to the emergence of the “Rajapaksa factor” as a single strong vote puller and the erosion of the base UNP vote due to continued losses and poor leadership.

In my opinion the UNP vote base may have dwindled down as far below as 25% of the total votes. Contrary to the over expectation even the combined Rajapaksa camp does not have a vote base exceeding 40% of the total valid votes. It is estimated that approximately 13 million will be the total number of votes in the next presidential election. To secure a clean victory a single candidate must collect at least 6,500,000 votes. For any candidate representing the two rival camps, it would be a huge task to achieve this number. The UNP camp being the more favored among the minorities and their representative parties both camps sit in a tie well below the cutoff mark. 

So, what comprises the rest of the votes? It is the block of votes traditionally named as the floating votes which hold the key to victory for any party. Over the years this floating vote has become larger and larger due to the fact that more and more young and energitic voters move away from the traditional thinking pattern and the emergence of the middle class as the deciding social stratum in the political sphere.

Educated, striving to achieve prosperity and free thinking without the traditional bonds to parties or leaders, the individuals of this new, powerful social stratum have unique aspirations which casts them apart from the rest. They are well versed in the current economic crisis the country is in. They are vigilant about the international trends in trade and politics. They are connected and alert. They have a dream. An aspiration with a hope that this country could be revived and made a prosperous country without corruption and injustice.

Consequently the “middle-class” is on the lookout for a leader who is educated, mature and visionary. A leader who share the same aspirations and is compassionate and committed to challenge the odds and take the country forward.

The UNP camp has few candidates for the presidency. Among them are Karu Jayasuriya, Sajith Premadasa and Patali Champika Ranawaka. Reading the trends and directions of social media and propaganda, one could clearly identify that the “message” has been heard loud and clear. Past two weeks saw that Sajith Premadasa taking great pains to publish his academic qualifications even to the extent of publishing his results sheets. The emergence of the “middle-class” as the decider in the race, has forced politicians to think differently. While it is very clear that Patali Champika Ranawaka is clearly the leader in fulfilling the criteria of a leader the middle class is looking for, it is only a matter of aligning the thinking of the rest of the contingent in the traditional block to think beyond the boundaries of the petty party politics and reach out to grab the opportunity to lead the nation to greatness.

On the other hand, the strong desire of the traditional UNPer to field one of their own candidates makes a case for Sajith Premadasa. But, how good a chance Sajith Premadasa would have if selected as a presidential candidate? 

Judging by the tone of his campaign so far it is too obvious that he himself has realized that the appeal for the “middle-class” is the key to his victory. And that unfortunately cannot be achieved by hoodwinking the well informed and smart voter of “middle-class”. The attempt to portrait Sajith Premadasa as an educated intellectual by means of publishing his “various academic qualifications” was not received well on social media. In fact it created a little bit of backlash and made a mockery.

In comparison, Patali Champika Ranawaka has been successful in establishing his status as a modern leader with a vision and a matching academic and political background. His ability to address the young and educated professionals at a higher level of intellectual capacity has given him the edge to attract the ever-increasing block of “floating vote”. This attraction spans across the boundaries of race, religion and cast which binds a large group of voters in to one common group. While Sajith may be the choice of the traditional UNPer, to reach beyond the limits of the party and unify a clear majority and become victorious, UNP should decide wisely and select the candidate who has the best chance of winning.

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Latest comments

  • 14
    0

    I admit, I am not familiar with Patali, s political achievements. But what is the guarantee that Patali will not turn out to be another MS or even worse ????? History of our Politicians, including past and present, is not of any help in assuring or convincing the average man. They all turned out crooked, evil and some even criminals. Sankapala , the truth is there is no such honest leader in Lanka.

    • 16
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      Champika would never ever get the backing of minorities in Sri Lanka. That is very well registered in the minds of Tamils and Muslims. If not candidate like Nagananda might get major share of UNP vote.

      • 0
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        Can anyone believe this crap: “…..Patali Champika Ranawaka has been successful in establishing his status as a modern leader with a vision and a matching academic and political background. His ability to address the young and educated professionals at a higher level of intellectual capacity…” This bugger of a blind racist, psychopathic, evil scheming, sex maniac, barbaric SINHALA RACIST SLUT an ideal candidate for Presidency????? The WAR ON ISLAM that he is waging through the UNP card will have to depend on Arab Muslim foreign remittance to run his EVIL DREAM of a NAZI/Fascist Sinhala Racist government. The Shameless twit wants to remove Arabic from the Muslims, Like removing Latin from the Bible, Hebrew from Judaism and Sanskrit from Vedhas…. Already, he is successful in implementing Evils against the Muslims, while using Muslim remittances coming in from ME. Can he think of a pure Buddhist Economy sans Muslim money and Muslim Arabic petroleum and export to Muslims or selling Sinhala products to Muslims???? A real Sinhala Lion not going in begging????

  • 7
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    If the country has an honest efficient politician to lead it, he/she is still in the cradle.

    • 14
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      This looks a biased article to promote Champika. UNP will nominate a UNP Dr which could be either Karu.J or Sajith.
      Of these two Karu J will emerge as the common candidate.

    • 7
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      It is unfortunate that the public havr been blindfolded by two incompetent political parties (SLFP & SLPP as one) to see the potential of an alternative such as Nagananda, who is a leader with a viable plan for real change to take Sri Lanka from the third world to the first.

      • 3
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        Dr,
        Is Dr your profession or academic status? How could voters trust Nagananda when he failed to reveal he is a dual citizen? How do we know what else he has hidden in his baggage? Considering how MaRa & MY 3, both of who were known in politics for quite some time, disappointed voters once they came to power, trusting a brand new guy already with suspicious personal information is too risky.

    • 5
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      UNP must nominate Mangala for PM and Sarath Fonseka as president both are more favourable than the above mentioned politicians . These two together can draw in a lot of votes .

  • 6
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    the unp,s future lies in giving it a new look the old has to give way to he new
    and this can happen only if those below 60 years take over the leadership from the old fogies
    and send them into retirement
    if it cant be done at once it should be done in stages in double quick time other wise they will never win another election
    ranil might prefer champika so that he can retain leadership of the party but i cant see him getting the necessary minority vote to reach 51 percent
    at the moment despite his age karu seems to be the best bet but his cabinet must consist of only young men if they manage to win the parliamentary polls which is also doubtful

  • 4
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    The Answer is simple the elites will decide a leader who will continue the same constitution or even repeal the 19th amendment to regain the power of the most powerful president in the world even more powerful than US president ,The JR executive curse.
    The middle class will become poorer and poor will become beggars and The new Scapegoat minority Community which is unfortunately a willing sheep of many groups will become the sacrifice to divert attention and if we survive all that for the next 5 years, we will have nice mega projects that will serve the elite in everyway and ofcause with our external debt doubled , so by next election there will.be only two class the very rich and.beggars .

    ______
    I can not understand how on earth any leader can make a change with a totally failed constitution with plenty of loopholes where the ( middle class , poor & without political connection )citizens are worse than slaves and the the elite and all their proxies are gods.

    how come no one ever talks of this miserable failed patchwork of amended constitution,but even after 70 years still believe a leader will appear and perform.miracles.
    The problem is favouritism, most people dont care what the constitution is all about, everyone just want their man on the sukaan, even if they are sure the captain will let the entire passenger sink while The captain & The crew will abandon the ship and save themselves before the ship sinks.
    well if the sheep is willing why not take it to the alter and slaughter it.

  • 2
    6

    out of the 3 sajit is the best bet for the UNP.The SLFP will also support him.The SLFP vote is crucial,though not much,it is like the toppings on a cake to clear the 50% mark.

  • 2
    2

    What happened ?. Did Mangala Samraweera say that Karu Jayasuriya is not going to get expenses for the election, or KAru Jayasuriya’s Adviser did not approve him.

  • 5
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    I do not wish to deal with the subject of “Who” must “LEAD” the country “TOUTED” by this writer; but refer to the “Proposition” of the name of “Nagananda Kodothiuakku”. After listening to this “Prospective” candidate via the “SLVLOG” , I have totally “Written Him OFF”. I invite the commentators who favour this candidate to LISTEN” to him in that interview. What a pathetic presentation he made of his “Understanding” of the present day “TURMOIL” and the “SOLUTIONS” he presents. He has already collected Rs. 3 million into a Bank Account in his “OWN” name (he admitted it in that interview) and also mentioned of “24 Persons” who supposed to have “Drafted” a “Constitution” and “Refrained” to introduce any one of them to the listeners. With “HIS” “Constitution” coming into force after the election ALL the Judges in the Judiciary would be “Terminated” and “New Names” would be presented to the PEOPLE to “Approve”. There were many more “JOKES” he played in that “Interview”. Where will he carry this country? I have lost all my respect and confidence on him as a LEADER to LEAD. It is a DISASTER in waiting.

  • 2
    1

    Who is this Patali, I wonder .-

    It can’t be that Champacha Patali , who was a mate of Gnnissara in Jathika Hela Urumaya.
    And sucked up to Rajapaksas big time to get the Gig at the Juicy Commission Hunting grounds, the Power Ministry.

    It it is Him , he has done a bloody good job, because the new Boss there who is now the Campaign Manager of the UNP Elite , Anglican and Vellala Faction of Dr Ranil, has organized 50 Portable Power Generators made by Hindians and costing a Fortune to be bought in to give extra Power to Yahapalanistas.
    But apparently all the Units need full servicing before they can be fired up..

    Also the new Boss has organized another Juicy Commission Job to buy Power from the Turks who bring it in Barges ..

    Imagine that Champacha Dude now becoming the President.

    UNPers of Dr Ranil’s Faction say Keselwatta Kid didn’t pass his OLs at the Royal.
    -They also say the Kid was trained by the Dad in Hunting Lost Treasures in our Mahavamsa Ruins ..
    I don’t know how true it is,
    But one thing though the Kid is not heard of being a Commission Agent unlike the ones who complain about his O levels.

    BTW I know a few so called Middle Class and also some who think they are Upper Middle Class in Wellala Gardens and few other Colombo Post Codes.
    But I am not sure how Educated, How intelligent , How much up to speed they are about the New World and Our Lanka and World Politics , But they go Temples, and Dollar Churches ,pray to Gods and Vote For Dr Ranil…

  • 1
    0

    So CT and some of its readers are still under impression that the party dinosaurs still has a chance this time too ? You are running on outdated information. By the looks of it Nagahananda is gaining ground fast. Read on vinivida about his proposed constitution. It’s not a another promise to bring rice from the moon, Dharmishta society, stop beeshana or any other gimmick that past crooks came up with. You can ask him your questions and he will answer openly. Will the others ever do that ? There’s nothing more for SL to lose so choose wisely after doing on own research.

  • 1
    0

    Patali has proven by his stupendous achievements over the past 4 years as the Minister of Megapolis and Urban Development that he’s an exceptional ……. nope can’t get myself to complete this sentence, even in jest. Patali is all talk. he’s failed miserably as a minister. I mean colombo is still hobbling along on the back of Gota’s infrastructure projects. But even more than this he’s a non entity in this election. UNP won’t give him a ticket.
    I also heard murmurs of Naganda. Who is Nagananda? What has he ever done? All i see is a delusional megalomaniac who’s asking for people to donate 500 million to some random bank account. The Nagananda scam is worse than the Yahapalanaya scam. To make matters worse what he’s suggesting is absolutely crazy. According to him if he wins he will dismiss the parliament and the judiciary immediately, and reset the system to restore law and order blah blah blah. So who’s checking his power until our messiah saves the nation from the wicked and the corrupt?
    And now for this educated, connected middle class. Problem with the floating vote middle class is that they are delusional. They are waiting for a messiah, blaming the politicians for all the problems in this country. What a lazy and convenient canard. In a democracy, the failing of the politicians are the failings of the people. For all its education and connectedness, the middle class voted of MS who is patently the worst President we ever had. So clearly judgement is not there.
    But tbh, all of the above is really just a pointless rant cause none of it is relevant, even the middle class. In case people forget, a bunch of people blew themselves up cause the some murderous pedophilic rapist from the 5th century had apparently said becoming a martyr for Allah will get you 72 virgins in heaven.

  • 0
    0

    I’m tired attending to chores other than typing things into Colombo Telegraph. Given the amount of time we now spend looking at computer screens, eyes may pack up.
    .
    One has to keep a reasonably open mind, but if one is to something more than running around like a headless chicken, one has to make up one’s mind on whom to vote, and share one’s thoughts. When I look at the comments above it looks as though few have given any thought to the opportunities afforded by the system. So, my First Preference will go to Nagananda Kodituwakku. I have given a good deal of my reasoning here:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/presidential-candidates-major-concern-of-the-citizen/
    .
    I have looked at all that has been said. After that I’m of the view that Nagananda should get First Preference, but I’ll mark 2 and 3 as well depending on who IS contesting. Both Parties are insulting us by not revealing whom they will feed.

    Good night!

    • 0
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      PART ONE

      Please pardon the typo here:
      .
      ” Both Parties are insulting us by not revealing whom they will field.”
      .
      “Don Manu” has analysed all this in great detail here in today’s Sunday Times.
      .
      http://www.sundaytimes.lk/190721/columns/nation-desperately-in-search-of-presidential-candidates-359218.html
      .
      Are all of us Sri Lankans fated to waste our lives waiting for these manipulations to be over? I know many who listen to politicians from the various parties shouting at each other at inordinate length on T.V. I just refuse to do that. From what I have gathered, almost never do they inform the public that they can start by listing their personal choice as No. 1, followed by their next choice, and then listing one of the two rogues fielded by one of the two main Sinhalese dominated “National Parties”.
      .
      These “National Parties” will never even consider nominating anybody other than a “Sinhala-Buddhist” as the leader of the nation. A slight improvement here, since they used to insist on it being “Govigama caste”. And then, you say that these parties are “National” and not “Communal”, unlike those parties that have the word “Tamil” of “Muslim” in the name. I’m a Sinhalese who is aware that we subconsciously equate “Sri Lankan” with “Sinhaleseness” – and then we fault the minorities with being communal.

    • 0
      0

      PART TWO
      .
      SD, regarding Nagananda, is it the contents of this SL VLOG that you refer to?
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKcrW58Qmso
      .
      He is specific enough here. I had heard this interview earlier, and I’m now typing this in while alternating between portions of that video that I’m re-listening to, and typing in this text. He is asked about his cabinet of 24. One he says he has named. He doesn’t name him here. This I know to be Dr Ranil Senanayake, mentioned in some other Youtube programme. I’ve just looked for a Wikipedia entry on Ranil, to check his age. Not found. I was wondering about his age, but Ranil is active even now:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/do-not-steal-our-birthright/
      .
      I suggest that you go through that article and the comments carefully. I have not only commented many times, but, after many attempts by others writing anonymously, I have posted a comment under my personal name, and told Ranil that I have met him once, ages ago, although he wouldn’t remember an obscure guy like me. How could I, personally, be more honest than that?
      .
      As for the others who are to be in Nagananda’s cabinet, he promises that he will reveal their names in August. The campaign which he is engaged in is such that I’m sure he can’t speak out of turn.
      .
      SD, you say that he sounds “a delusional megalomaniac”. This sort of thing is actually thrown at him by the interviewer, Dharshana Handungoda. I find the Nagananda responses candid enough. These answers are far more honest than what the political parties are saying and doing.

    • 0
      0

      PART THREE
      .
      Long ago, when a Naganada-Sugandhika programme took most readers by storm, I stated that the styles of speaking of the duo left much to be desired. I’m not going hunting for that article now, but there is some truth in that. My daughter took one look at him on the computer screen and said, “no charisma”. Towards the end of this video, there are specific references to the Buddha Dharma guiding the thinking behind the New Constitution that he intends bringing in. Well, that’s what guides his thinking – nothing wrong in that, surely? He goes on to deal with capital punishment because Sirisena has made it so topical. Nagananda’s responses are acceptable to me. He is not obsessed with a desire to hang; he’s concerned with deterring murder, rape and the like.
      .
      All that said, I know that, statistically, the odds are stacked against this lone individual. He will probably lose, although doing better than any of the “third candidates” whom we’ve so far had. Call me capricious if you wish to: as of now, my intention is to vote Number 1 for Nagananda. Whom I will vote for as Second Preference will possibly be decided while walking down the hill to vote, or even while looking round the polling station to make sure that notices about the system of voting are in place. My appeal to you is to vote intelligently, and not as a matter of habit.

      • 0
        0

        Sorry, the saved draft reveals that that “bolding” mistake has been made by me.

  • 0
    0

    My issue is not that “Presidential election” well utmost issue is to be address by that paramount matter of fact is which that USA hidden invade of that ours country by secret agreement against of will and wish of Sovereignty and Independence of People of Sri Lanka.
    We are living on that threaten at ours door step by USA military form the intervention by SOFA ACSN and MCC which that so-called secret deals behind UNP few leaders. Citizens and Public of Islanders are NOT aware of that US intention of invading by so-called by “names” of Agreements.? And we are an unconditionally an opposed that.
    While USA embassy in Colombo working on side by side that connected to CIA, FBI and MI5 with nexus of ISIS Islam terrorist by mode of operand similar to that 21/4 Terror attack by without short notice of that hit and run gunfight attack in hot spots .
    Before the election of President there is nothing else aim at jeopardized that ongoing limited of Peace and stability of Island by blessing of few gang of that UNP leaders.
    Aim of USA troops landed to Island purely build step by step USA, that Military base in Indo-Pacific region of that few handful gang of hard core that UNP leader of Wickramasinge of R…CBK and other as well.
    USA has miscalculated our nation sovereignty and dignity of 2600 years Sri Lankan civilization. We are not only democracy nation over 71 years since 1948 in orbit of democratic world.
    Well that we denied rule of dictatorship commander by that USA led puppet regime of Wiickrasimighe of R.. govt.
    In fact NOT rule by White House of USA. Hence rules of governances that democracy not derived by Pentagon of US military troops .
    We are capable to safeguard our own Democracy, Territorial integrity and an Independence that values of 2600 years of that heredity our People by ourselves .

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