By Siritunga Jayasuriya –
The whole country was taken by surprise, when President Sirisena inducted 11 Cabinet Ministers, 05 State and 10 Deputy Ministers from his own SLFP, into PM Ranil Wickremesinghe‘s government yesterday in the evening. This apparently is another political manoeuvre for survival with State power and has nothing to do with the mandate given at the January 08 presidential elections.
These 26 SLFP members of parliament represent the 5.8 million votes polled by Rajapaksa and was clearly against President Sirisena. Those 6.2 million who voted for Sirisena’s candidature never mandated for a hybrid government of this nature. This therefore is no “National” government, but a “Southern Sinhala Coalition” that now seem to hold the Wickremesinghe government safely in power, even if the promised parliamentary elections would not be held after their 100 Day programme. That programme itself is on crutches, limping with a heavy load of unfinished promises.
Wickremesinghe and Sirisena may feel comfortable now, their stay in power will not be rocked by the SLFP in parliamentary opposition. That seems so with the large SLFP majority caged together with the UNP minority in a growing cabinet, providing a formidable 2/3 majority in parliament. Yet the danger is not in parliamentary politics for now. The opposition is now created outside parliament. Politically we feel, this snuffs out an effective opposition representation to the traditional SLFP vote base outside parliament. That political absence would thus pave way for a Rajapaksa comeback on a very racist platform. The political dichotomy that keeps growing can thus be seen with a more Sinhala chauvinist slogans thrown out between the these two camps in establishing their hold in the Sinhala South in terms of votes.
We therefore call upon all who voted to defeat the overwhelmingly corrupt family regime of Rajapaksa and installed this Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government to once again rally as a people’s force against opportunistic manipulations by leaders who are not committed to deliver what they promise, but make feeble attempts to remain in power.
*Siritunga Jayasuriya – General Secretary of the United Socialist Party (Sri Lankan section of the Committee for a Workers’ International-[CWI])