25 September, 2020

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Was 2015 Mandate Reversed?

By Helasingha Bandara

The Rajapaksas were brought back into power by, in other people’s words, a whopping margin. The Rajapaksas are in power be they Gotabaya,Malinda, Chamal, Basil or Namal. This victory was easily predictable although some sections of Sri Lanka society believed that no one could win without the minority vote. The election results have been interpreted by different people in numerous ways. My intention is to analyse the verdict of the people against the suggestion that people have reversed their mandate of the 2015 presidential election. Have they?

In 2015 people decided to teach the Rajapaksas a lesson despite the tangible achievements of the Rajapaksa regime.  For the defeat of the LTTE, their contribution was hugely significant. Economic growth came along with numerous other benefits usually attached to peace times. The development of an island wide transport infrastructure was one visible difference that the Rajapaksa regime made. That enabled the rural child to go to a good school and country farmers to seek a relatively fair price for their produce. There were many other progressive steps they had taken.

Mahinda had the best opportunity to be the Mahathir Mohamad of Sri Lanka. He missed the opportunity by being short sighted. His megalomaniacal attitude that made him wanting to establish himself as a king, his unnecessary desire to promote his family, his misbelief that the corrupt elements who surrounded him needed to be protected for his own survival, were some of the errors that caused the people to reject him. People have resurrected Rajapaksas with the hope that they have learnt a lesson. If Rajapaksas believe that people have forgotten their misdeeds and forgiven them forever, such a belief would mislead them to commit the same mistakes. That would be disastrous for the country and for themselves as well. This time the people would send them heading towards political wilderness, never to return again.

This victory was not something spectacular that was achieved on a manifesto of an unprecedented governance system that they have suddenly discovered as the panacea for all evils of Sri Lanka but on some chancing factors.

Ranasingha Premadasa was hated by a minimum of 60,000 Sri Lankan families for his murderous rule. Taken together the victims’ immediate families and the extended families, let’s assume that they have added 10 votes in each family over the past 30 or so years since Premadasa’s death. That is 600000 votes alone. Those families have never forgiven Premadasa and never wish any of his descendants to rule this country ever again.

Sirisena and Ranil coalition was given a mandate for a righteous rule and to create a society that is absent of corruption, nepotism, and other evils and to establish the rule of law while sustaining democracy and its values. In addition, the people expected tangible remedies to uplift their low quality life style, to narrow down the widening gap between the poor and the rich and to eradicate the preferential treatment by allowing privileges only to some. For four and a half years the coalition government was unable to deliver any of the tangible outcomes nor were they able to establish the righteous rule. The UNP was corrupt to the core and was the subject of huge finance scandals. People were fed up with the UNP.

Anura was considered by many as the best candidate among the leading three. However, the JVP was a spent force and had blemishes all along its political path. People did not want to vote for the JVP, nor did they want to vote for the good guy for the fear of the worst guy coming to power.

Anti-Muslim sentiments and Islamophobia that had already taken root in Sri Lanka was fuelled by the Easter Sunday bombing. ‘Needing a saviour’ mentality favoured Gotabaya because of his military background and his involvement in the war against terrorism as the Defence Secretary.

Under those circumstances the victory of Gotabaya was not a miracle. With all those odds against Premadasa and the UNP, they still received 41 % of the total vote. This means that the deciding 10% of the vote cannot be guaranteed for the Rajapaksas forever if they do not understand what really is needed for the country.

Gotabaya has now got a great opportunity to prove to his adversaries that the fears they bore were unfounded, to address the real issues of Sri Lanka, and bring the country to the fore front of the world stage. Sri Lankans were expecting a disciplinarian over decades of post-independence era to address the eroding discipline among its population. Gotabaya can be the answer if he wishes so. A country can only be called developed if it is advance both economically and socially. At present Sri Lankans can hardly be called a civilised nation for their day to day behaviour. Getting the people to understand ethics of life and to live with compassion and sympathy towards others is a necessary condition for creating a civilised society. If Gotabaya is to be successful, he needs to observe the fore-ground and the middle-ground before looking at the distance.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    3

    The 2015 Mandate was NOT reversed by GR, MR or the SLPP Crooks.

    Rather the 2015 Mandate Reversed by the Silisena, Ranil & his Royal lady boys

  • 5
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    Helasinhe,
    Yes, 2015 mandate is reversed but not by the voters but by a betrayal by some top level political leaders (Ranil/Ravi/ MY 3) who rode the mandate to achieve power. Once the voters are forced to be cynical about the politicians they voted for, it is natural for voters to react with anger without thinking deeper about future repercussions. Apart from the betrayal, Gvt also displayed a lack of strong leadership & trust among each other that led to the so-called October coup, Easter Bombing and countless street protests.

    Some blame must go also to the JVP which followed an opportunistic path of stealing a chunk of dissatisfied voters by contesting along. They certainly knew what is coming but for them their bankrupt ideology became more paramount than the sufferings of the public. A lack of mature leadership may be reason for their silly behavior.

    In a nutshell, this is the way average people make decisions. Unfortunately, once they realize their mistake, it is too late to make corrections!

    • 1
      1

      I’m also wondering what MY 3 is thinking about all these new political developments. As far as I’m concerned, he should have said something about Patalee’s arrest by now. The longer he stay silent, the more it forces us to assume his assent. Is this the way he is expecting a political rebirth?

  • 2
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    HELA: NGOs do not like Rajapakses as they closer to China because of that all the labels are for mud slinging and scaring off people. Career politicians are very corrupt, incompetent and even with 40 -50 year experience, they could not recognise voter mentality. They are so occupied in FRAUDs and in the cheating game of voters, none of them could establish a govt based only on majority. President is new and he looks different. But, a;; the others are the same corrupt, Lazy, incompetent and REVENGEFUL parliament. Gotabhaya Rajapakse could win the war because it was the forces. Parliament is a different place and their Discipline nil and negative. Already, within the first 30 days, some went overseas before anything, did not allow professionals to get trained. Another escaped his Bribery case. Lastly, When there humongous corrupt cases within the new cabinet and in the Yahapalana govt, the first arrest was because of an accident. How do you think that will reflect as votes. Trust is very important. People are very forgiving but they are not eternally dumb.

  • 2
    2

    Helasingha looks like a Mahinda Rajapakse Propagandist. Your comment about, Champika Ranawaka is disgusting. Just watch.

  • 5
    1

    Buddy, Lankans and the rest of the world once rated Pakistan , as the worst dysfunctional country. Today they got rid of an military authoritarian , where as our Lankans replaced with another. Our Govt has moved in full speed in establishing a total military rule fearing any unexpected general election results. From now elections will not matter at all. Just take a look. Up to now 99% of the administration and other bureaucratic positions have been filled by ex and current military personal with Commander in Chief sitting in the top as President. All the Defence , security including police, CID, TID ,AG Dept, Law ministry and soon judiciary will be brought under one individual. On top of that you have a family taking control of whole nation. Now people will have to wait for the transformation of Democratic, Republic, socialistic Lanka to Sorry Lankistan.

  • 8
    0

    A balanced view of the political landscape in Sri Lanka today.
    .
    Helasingha has not striven to be original, profound or startling. Good to stick to common sense and to what you know. However, I find the election results depressing because the people were voting in a way that suggested either indifference to corruption or lack of intelligence.
    .
    Buddhist fatalism? Karma?

  • 8
    0

    Sinhala_Man, there is no such thing as ‘Buddhist fatalism’ and Karma is a personal thing.
    The election results follow the usual pattern of throwing out the current ruler and installing the old one, although they were definitely influenced by the Easter bombings, as the writer points out. It is ironic is it not, that the Arabisation of the country in all its forms started under the previous Rajapakse regime?
    “Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.
    Pity the nation that wears a cloth it does not weave
    and eats a bread it does not harvest.

    Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero,
    and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.

    Pity a nation that despises a passion in its dream,
    yet submits in its awakening.

    Pity the nation that raises not its voice
    save when it walks in a funeral,
    boasts not except among its ruins,
    and will rebel not save when its neck is laid
    between the sword and the block.

    Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox,
    whose philosopher is a juggler,
    and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking

    Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting,
    and farewells him with hooting,
    only to welcome another with trumpeting again.

    Pity the nation whose sages are dumb with years
    and whose strongmen are yet in the cradle.

    Pity the nation divided into fragments,
    each fragment deeming itself a nation.”
    (Khalil Gibran)

    • 5
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      Adrian,
      .
      Thanks for the Gibran poem. Lebanon was not quite so complicated in his time, as it is now, was it?
      .
      I’d maintain that most Sri Lankans are fatalistic because of the influence of “Popular Buddhism”. If something is clearly going wrong, we don’t exert ourselves to put it right. “Welawe” – i.e. the “time” is not propitious.

      • 7
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        S.M,
        Sri Lankans are not just fatalistic . Popular Buddhism is rife with strange logic , ie it’s OK for Buddhists to eat beef if it wasn’t killed for them, BUT it isn’t OK for Muslims to do the killing either. Add to that the tendency to revise/forget recent history, like the current theory that SWRD was not shot by Somarama.

        • 4
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          Surely Old codger,
          .
          Don’t you know that it has been proved in many ways that the “NGO Version” about Buddharkkitha, shipping lines and Somarama is all a CIA conspiracy?
          .
          It is true that the Health Minister, Vimala Wijewardena, was involved. She was the Aunt of Ranil Wickremasinghe. Both are secret Christians. Consider these facts:
          .
          Vimala gave the house where all this was plotted to the Roman Catholic church. I have visited Adisham in Haputale. What are you telling me! And Ranil W’s uncle was an Anglican Bishop, Lakshman Wickremasinghe. I have met him, men – what do you know?
          .
          The Anglicans and the Catholicayas pretend to be angry with each other. All lies. It is to defraud Sinhala Buddhists of their birthright. All these peoples are plotting against us. The book about the assassination was written by A.C. Alles. That fellow was a Chettiya.
          .
          So you want to know who really killed Bandaranaike? It was Rev. Mathew Peiris, who killed many other people as well. He knew Devil Worship. He cast a spell on Somarama and made him a Christian. These fellows do all sorts of things to reduce the Sinhala-Buddhists in the world. See what Dr Shafie was doing in Kurunegala. If not for them, we would be the majority race in the whole world!
          .
          Dear O.c., You really must read this:
          .
          http://userhome.brooklyn.cuny.edu/anthro/jbeatty/COURSES/Macbeth/thurber.htm
          .
          If you don’t fancy the layout there, it looks as though there are plenty of other blogs with it. And if you are too lazy to read, there’s even a Youtube version:
          .
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxBHCprF9KU

          • 2
            0

            SM,
            I didn’t know you were so hot at satire. Keep it up.

            • 0
              0

              Yes, shall keep it up. But I’m missing your comments.

              Sincerely,

              Sinhala_Man

  • 8
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    With all the experience we have had with RW as a politician , I am suspicious and sceptical of every move of his. I am still trying to figure out what is that he could have discussed with MR in person, in the middle of night , when results were announced on that fateful day in 2015. How Rajapaksas were protected personally by him through out his stay as PM. His attempts to jeopardize the party and candidate until the last hour of this elections. How as a PM , he could have gone so quite soon after Easter. The deals, he continue to have in secret with them even after this elections. I always thought of him as a political PIMP, which I reiterate even now. He always came across to me , as a slimy cunning guy.

    • 6
      0

      chiv,
      .
      Do you realise that you have a tremendous talent at writing convincing character sketches?
      .
      And yet, despite all this, many of our citizens think that he enjoys world prestige, that he’s educated (i.e. that his erudition is beyond compare), and that he knows English!
      .
      And even if there are parliamentary elections in march under our present system, even if he doesn’t top the poll, the dwellers of Colombo 3,4,5 and 7 will ensure that he gets in.
      .
      How long will we have to endure him? I’m supposed to be writing this thing to expose the Thomian Pharisees, but it’s cold up here, and the rains are incessant.
      .
      When I was a schoolboy, I heard his Anglican Bishop Uncle. memories are vague, but they say he was a truly good man, was Bishop Lakshman. How difficult to understand other people!

  • 3
    1

    RP is hated by 60000 is it for retaliating against terrorists?
    how many families hated the jvp ? probably more
    the election results shows that the jvp have reaped what they have sown

  • 3
    0

    Whether it is reversed or not people have done the correct thing by chasing the NGO led yahapalana team. Something really good for the country.

    • 5
      0

      There’s no dispute about that, Nanda.
      .
      See how squarely “chiv” puts the blame on Ranil Wickremasinghe.
      .
      What is necessary is to be objective, and place the blame where it should be placed.
      .
      Please note also, that although I use a pseudonym, that has never been a way in which I hid my identity. I’m in Sri Lanka, and my name is known to all regular readers. There must be a limit to how much we suffer just to safeguard our class interest, group interest, or family.
      .
      Helasingha is a good fellow, but he’s safe in London. We are the guys who run the risks but have never sought to reap the benefits of supporting this side or that.

  • 2
    1

    Never mind the mandate …Gota will reverse anything!

    • 1
      0

      True, he like JR can do anything apart from ‘changing a man into a woman’.

  • 3
    0

    We are trying to compare, contrast, analyze and interpret the two poll results, namely the Jan 2015 and Nov 2019. If we go a step further, the Rajapaksa’s had a vote base of about 5.7 Million. The opponent Sirisena scored 6.2 Million, largely topped by the UNP, TNA and other votes, the component that Sirisena brought in was little though significant in sufficiently eating into the voter base of the Rajapaksa’s. The absolute floaters like me then believed that despite the “achievements” they abused office and the opulence shown by the princes drove us mad while we had a hard time in living. That was enough for me to cast my sovereign right to Sirisena and Company. Nevertheless it is clear that had Sirisena or any other did not brake away from the PA, the Rajapaksa’s would be reigning from 2015 onwards. So what exactly is the mandate the people gave in 2015 is nebulous except there was a mass of manifestos, promises and understandings given by political parties. We know that the voting trend in Sri Lanka in voting an opposition into power is not because of their manifestos but the dislike towards the existing government. Same can be said of the 2019 November elections. The government in power was hated for so many reasons. In fact so many votes were added to that 5.7 Million solid Rajapaksa vote to top it to 6.9 Million votes. In fact if we discount the contribution of the new voters, what Sajith got as votes can be considered as the anti Rajapaksa vote base in 2015 to which the breakaway component from Sirisena was added. In view of above the whole question of reversing a mandate does not arise reducing the question to a number game.

  • 2
    0

    Not everything is apt comparison. It’s a habit of many to show examples from outside without thinking about the context. Mahathir was criticized by many as arrogant, cocky and met similar accusations about his conduct towards his companions. Regardless of how much of those were true in either case, the similarities of the words were there. When throwing in an example from another country, these aspects should be taken into account. With so much complaint about family members, they endorsed a family member because it was about promises and interests in the first place.
    As for results, it’s nothing to write detailed essays about. When you are in the opposition and relatively not well known, it’s easy to portray yourself as the saint who will end all sins with a swish of a sword or stick. The problem is, when you get in government, you are eventually held to the same standards that you and others held others to. Your track record and conduct will come up like you talked about. Besides, the relationship of parties that made the composition of governance was simply not the same. With their common nemesis gone their separate interests came to the forefront. The rest is history.

  • 1
    0

    How can the power given to a coalition be a strong mandate.

    It’s ridiculous when the coalition members’ ideological difference is taken into the consideration.

    What happened in 2015 was a mandate given to oust Rajapakses only, not to make differences, so the meddling with the constitution is a grave mistake & democratically unethical.

    My3- RW entity was just a puppet or a political dummy as a result of mandate to oust rajapakses.

  • 4
    0

    I read GR,s last statement on Swiss issue, in Daily Mirror yesterday. He has absolutely cleared the Swiss Embassy of any involvement and put the blame squarely on the alleged victim. In Sorry Lanka it is very common to see the victims turning into guilty/accused. Yet this one sound so so ridiculous. Lets accept the fact the Swiss has no role in this, then the question is “why would a senior responsible staff with no criminal background what so ever, who is not at all related to the disappeared Nishantha, has no secondary gains or benefits to profit from such an act, if at all to be put in such misery ,under current government, will want to come up with such plan ?????? In my opinion it is obvious, the accusers /Govt need the mental evaluation and the traumatized victim deserves proper psychological support (not the govt appointed ones) and counselling. Less said the better, about Lankan Mental Health care services.

  • 4
    0

    To add to my previous statement, in Pakistan the govt and the army who is backing , are now accusing the judge who sentenced Musharaaf as mentally ill and trying to remove him from his post. But Musharaaf when trying to illegally amend constitution to extend his stay as president, sacked the CJ and forced the entire dissenting judiciary (more than 60 of SC and HC judges) into prison,under
    concocted emergency regulations. Now tell me who needs the mental Health care ?????? The same with our Swiss embassy staff, being forced to get mental health evaluation. The rule of the law, in such countries are, if unable to suppress an healthy individual , then make them mentally incapable. Didnt we hear in Thaj case how doctors, connived and changed autopsy reports, conceal and destroy evidence, alter records and provide false statements. Are people expecting anything different from our Govt appointed Mental Health experts. Keep in mind it is much easier to make a person mentally challenged than physical, because it is mostly subjective and not objective. In the West, it takes only two qualified doctors, to legally pronounce an individual of not having the mental capacity to make competent decisions. As in physical disability there is no such blood test , scans or other investigative procedures needed to support their opinion. Already traumatized individual will now be converted into mentally sick .Hoe convenient ????

  • 5
    1

    It is sad Adaderana eliminated opinion section as we expected with the new government. Freedom is press is given death sentence by the Buddhist monks.

  • 5
    2

    All the Arab countries should expel Buddhist singhalese they travel to vote for Nandasena. Muslims are treated like dogs by the New government therefor they should send back to Sei Lanka. They should not enjoy the luxury life in muslims countries because they caused the sufferings for the Muslims in sri lanka

  • 2
    1

    Joseph rajah, who cares what you think? You are an ignorant fool.

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