4 December, 2020

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What The Coup Taught Us

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“A polis ruled by one man is no polis at all.” ~ Sophocles (Antigone)

Four years ago, a majority of Lankans elected Maithripala Sirisena as the country’s executive president.

A year from now, the country will be asked to elect its next executive president. 

Can the mistakes of the past be avoided in the future? 

What were the mistakes of the past? 

With the memory of the recent anti-constitutional coup still raw, the readiest answer would be choosing Maithripala Sirisena as the common presidential candidate.

Hindsight enlightens. It also distorts. In 2015, the choice was a simple one – do we give Mahinda Rajapaksa a third presidential term, or do we not? If we wanted to evict the Rajapaksas from power, democratically, our last chance for it was the presidential election of 2015. Six more years of Rajapaksa rule, and Lankan democracy would have been vitiated beyond repair. As Anura Kumara Dissanayake said, “If the people fail to defeat the insane dictatorship of Mahinda Rajapaksa at this point, there will be no turning back for Sri Lanka.”

That was the logic behind the selection of Maithripala Sirisena as the common presidential candidate. The outcome of the election proved the correctness of that logic.

The mistake was not the selection of Maithripala Sirisena. That was the right thing to do in 2014. The mistake was failing to hold him to his solemn public pledge to abolish the the executive presidency.

In his nine-year rule, Mahinda Rajapaksa had demonstrated the dictatorial dangers inherent in the Lankan presidential system. By 2014, that danger was clearly understood by a wide range of oppositional forces. In consequence, the demand to abolish the executive presidency gained new traction in oppositional circles. 

On 21st November 2014, Maithripala Sirisena walked out of the Rajapaksa government, and publicly accepted the mantle of common presidential candidate. Addressing a media briefing, he expounded what he was offering the electorate. The first item on his list of pledges was the abolition of the executive presidency. Mr. Sirisena excoriated the executive presidency as a political and moral calamity, and a crucible of injustice. “We came to a clear decision with the UNP to abolish the executive presidency,” he stated. “I ask the people to give me power to abolish the executive presidency in 100 days.”

The mistake was to let that promise fade into the background, post-victory. The mistake was to be satisfied with the 19th Amendment. The mistake was to think that the executive presidency no longer contained a threat to democracy.

For that, the blame cannot be heaped on Mr. Sirisena alone. An equal share of the blame goes to the UNP. 

Ranil Wickremesinghe dreamt of using the Rajapaksa-Sirisena divide in the SLFP to win the next presidential election, easily. His belief of a romp to victory was such that he paid scant heed to public sentiment, and violated the norms of good governance repeatedly. Sajith Premadasa (and perhaps Ravi Karunanayake) dreamt of ousting Ranil Wickremesinghe, and becoming the UNP’s next presidential candidate. The UNP ceased to champion the abolition of executive presidency.

Meanwhile, the plague bacillus of executive power was afflicting Maithripala Sirisena. He slowly abandoned all talk of abolishing the executive presidency or being a one-term president. He too had a new obsession – how to win a second term. 

Had Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhita Thero been alive, the pledge to abolish the executive presidency may not have faded from both political discourse and societal memory. In his absence, there was no one of sufficient stature to advocate the idea at the national level.

Another contributing factor was the mistaken belief (which this writer too shared) that the 19th Amendment had defanged the executive presidency, and rendered it sufficiently harmless.

Thus, the ground shifted, enabling the anti-constitutional coup of October 2018.

The anti-constitutional coup as a blessing in disguise

Where was the country on October 25th, the day before the coup?

In 2015, Maithripala Sirisena won thanks to the unified effort of a truly Lankan coalition. By 2018, that coalition was in tatters. 

The government, by its actions and inactions, had antagonised most of its former allies. Many of the failures were needless. A political solution to the ethnic problem might be hard to achieve, but why the failure to build houses for the war-displaced in the North and the East? The anti-Muslim riots of Kandy might have taken the government unawares, but why the failure to prosecute the suspects, and punish the guilty? It might not be possible to totally stop the slide of the rupee, but why be so blasé about its impact on the living costs of ordinary Lankans? Why turn a blind eye to one’s own corruption? Why fail to convict a single political killer? This last failure looms with obscene starkness as we mark the tenth anniversary of the murder of Lasantha Wickremastunge.  

Not even the drubbing it received at the LG polls could make the UNP face reality. The disastrous fuel-price formula became a symbol of the government’s unconcern about the plight of ordinary voters. The government just didn’t seem to care, whether it was about the effects of global warming on Sri Lanka, or the rapidly increasing Chinese footprint (public notice boards in government projects in Sinhala, English and Chinese, not Tamil!), the daily killing of elephants or the disastrous consequences of Norochchoali coal-power plant, corruption or child abuse. The recent horrific incident in Negombo where a dog was burnt to death served to highlight another one of the government’s avoidable failures – the non-enactment of the Animal Welfare Act. The government was sleepwalking into disaster, taking Lankan democracy along with it.

Perhaps the most striking measure of where we were before the anti-constitutional coup was the TNA’s (erroneous) decision to nominate Chamal Rajapaksa to the vitally important Constitutional Council. Thanks to the government’s idiocies, even the minorities were forgetting the danger presented by the Rajapaksas to the notion of a pluralist Sri Lanka. 

Maithripala Sirisena’s coup, despite its massive downside, was a much needed knock-on-head for the somnambulant UNP. The prospect of the return of the Rajapaksas acted as an eye-opener. Ranil Wickremesinghe displayed unaccustomed resolution, and the UNP, by and large, rallied round. 

Faced with that mortal threat to democracy, the 2015 coalition recreated itself. The valiant role played by the TNA and the JVP in defence of democracy was one of the most positive outcomes of the Sirisena-induced crisis. Speeches by parliamentarians MA Sumanthiran and Anura Kumara Dissanayake, for instance, became essential reading, because they explained and interpreted the ongoing crisis from a national rather than a partisan point of view. 

The spontaneous rallying around by ordinary people in defence of democracy and the rule of law was another key positive development of the last several months. The mistakes, inabilities and hypocrisies of the UNP-led administration had done much to alienate the very people who voted against the Rajapaksas twice in 2015. The anti-Rajapaksa, pro-democracy camp was so demoralised, scattered, inactive, its very existence was in doubt. That changed when the anti-constitutional coup happened, and the stakes facing the country became clear. Ordinary people did what they could to stand against the growing anti-democratic tide, be it taking part in demonstrations or signing a petition. That societal engagement is something new in Sri Lanka, and hopefully will continue to grow, post-crisis.

But the real hero of that saga was the judiciary. In the Supreme Court and the Appeal Court, all judges stood as one to face the challenge (including Justice Eva Wanasundara). As the Supreme Court judgement in the case on the dissolution of parliament stated, “…this court has time and time again stressed that our law does not permit vesting unfettered discretion upon any public authority whether it be the president or any officer of the state. 

The coup has given Lankan democracy a second chance to save itself, by reminding democrats everywhere of the impending Rajapaksa threat, and by highlighting the need to abolish the executive presidency before it falls into the hands of a leader who is more ruthlessly effective than Maithripala Sirisena. 

This is no country for an executive presidency

Sri Lanka’s ancient past and its modern present render the country unsuitable for an executive presidency.

Executive presidency and democracy go in tandem generally in countries unburdened by a monarchical past, like the United States. France had a monarchical past, but she also made a republican revolution against monarchy, and beheaded a king for good measure. In ancient Lanka kings were killed by usurpers, and not by their own subjects under the banner of liberté, égalité, fraternité. In that crucial absence, the executive presidency gives rise to monarchical longings on one hand, and instincts of servility on the other.

The obvious danger facing Lankan democracy is a Rajapaksa winning the next presidential election. 19th Amendment may have placed Mahinda, Basil, Gotabhaya and Namal Rajapaksa out of the running, but no such disqualification hampers Chamal Rajapaksa. He will be a very effective candidate, both in terms of attracting supporters and disarming opponents.

Even if the Rajapaksas lose, who will win? Maithripala Sirisena fortunately cannot. That leaves Ranil Wickremesinghe – and as lesser possibilities, Sajith Premadasa and Ravi Karunanayake. Do we have any reason to believe that any one of these leaders would conduct himself more democratically than Maithripala Sirisena, once the presidency is his? 

The new president (whoever he is) is likely to dissolve the parliament as soon as possible, to enable his party to benefit from the knock-on effects of the presidential win. This would mean a parliamentary election around late March/early April. The chances are that one party/formation will gain control of both the executive and the legislature. How effective will the checks and balances introduced by the 19th Amendment in such a situation, when the prime minister is merely a minion of the president?

There is a glaring flaw in Lankan political system which renders the country particularly unsuitable to an executive presidency – the absence of inner-party democracy in any of the major political parties. For instance, many democracies with executive presidencies (the US, France, Chile etc) have systems or traditions necessitating major parties to hold primaries to choose their presidential nominee. In Sri Lanka, leaders remain leaders, and there are no democratic spaces within the main parties to challenge their stranglehold or policies. This absence of internal democracy can play a role in negating the achievements of the 19th Amendment. 

When the Supreme Court gave its judgement on December 13th, Maithripala Sirisena accepted it. The importance of that acceptance cannot be overemphasised. According to some Sinhala media reports (notably Irida Divaina), his new ally, Mahinda Rajapaksa, advised him to do the opposite, ignore unfavourable verdicts and plough ahead towards an unlawful election. Had Mr. Sirisena followed that advice, the repercussions would have been devastating. He didn’t. That alone, the fact that he is still a president willing to abide by extremely unfavourable judicial rulings, renders the choices of 2015 correct, even after cataclysms of the last three months.

As the prospect of electing the next president nears, the question assumes an increasing urgency – how do we ensure that the candidate we back does not do a Maithripala Sirisena or worse? 

There is only one safe option – abolish the executive presidency.

If there is sufficient societal pressure to abolish the executive presidency, if parties like the JVP and the TNA can provide leadership to that demand, it might be hard for the UNP to refuse. The JVP’s draft 20th Amendment which envisages a president who is not the head of government, is elected by parliament, and cannot function as a member of a political party might be a good starting point.

The effort may succeed or it may not. But the effort must be made. Failing to do so would be a criminal folly, after what the anti-constitutional coup taught us.

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Latest comments

  • 21
    2

    Thank you Thisaranee. For your elegant, hard hitting truth. This beauty summarizes ut all.

    • 4
      1

      I am a lover of your articles! Appreciate the well-articulated blog of yours. Thanks a lot, T.G.

    • 0
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      PART TWO
      .
      When I saw that we had finally defeated the Rajapaksas, I didn’t expect miracles to follow. I knew that the 10K salary increase and the reduction of petrol prices were follies that we had to put up with.
      .
      My3 seems to have no control over his family. We are agreed that they are nowhere as bad as the Rajapaksas; the first mistake made was the appointment of P.G. Kumarasinghe to Telecom. Why did My3 do it?
      .
      He probably felt justified. His brother had been the Chairman of the Timber Corporation. Sacked when My3 declared his candidature. So, Kumarasinghe was politically victimised. He was also qualified – he’s got a Master’s Degree. Easily the most “qualified” in the family – although I’d consider Sirisena the more intelligent, cultured and educated. Listening to his Sinhala WAS a delight. And, of course, in this country we expect rewards for courageous actions. We should have realised, straightaway, that we, as a country, had forgotten the mistakes that we had been making.
      .
      How could a timber guy possibly be best to operate communication technology that was already evolving so fast?
      Weren’t there others as qualified (and more) who also should have been considered for appointment? My3’s English is O.K. by me. No-one seems to remember the scanned letter in something that passed for English, that was displayed on CT. The writer of that letter was suitable for no job whatever. Kumarasinghe knew that the document in question was an important one. Were I in his position, I would have got somebody to proof read it. So, an unsuitable appointment, and and an incredible salary.
      .
      We didn’t think it mattered. Ven. Sobhitha was around still. I agree, that his death was what we hadn’t reckoned with.

  • 7
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    Dear Sir

    Thank you. The coup taught me a citizen of SL the following
    1. We have a constitution open to interpretation. If a bunch of lawyers can not even get this right then that explains where we are today.
    2. The ‘Constitutional assembly’ is a disputed one regards to devolution and democratically will be struggle to get this through………the parliament and then the referendum for public to vote will be rejected. A valuable time lost since 2015 to carry forward the ‘economic miracle’ required to save our nation. This is now further dividing the country.
    3. Behind all this is the agenda to to politically kill Hon MR and am not sure what this suppose to achieve for the Nation. Now the collective failure of everyone else is now under Hon MR account. A lot of foreign hand involved in this too.We got to see this all out in the open/exposed during the coup.
    4. JVP should have demanded TNA and other identity political parties to loose their names and join hands in National policy making ‘one for all and all for one politics’ away from the ‘Nation Question’. There is no National Question but TNA need to be questioned for all the crimes since 1970. This should be in parallel to all other crime investigations should be started internally asap without foreign involvements.
    5. Along with dissolving Presidential position we need to attach the need for dissolving the Provincial Councils together. The JVP proposed 20th amendment should include this demand.
    6. Any solution we look for should be about a long term future without the identity politics where we a Nation of melting pot not hanging on to some stupid heritages.
    7. Future of SL is in the Green Politics……….if any politician who can not see this need can not be in our Parliament.

    • 11
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      MPs should be barred from crossing over. MPs are elected by the people on a certain policy at the election. If an MP is dissatisfied with the mandate he received he should resign his seat and re-contest with new policy to obtain a fresh mandate. This will prevent unprincipled roguish selfish persons like late Thiagarajah. to cheat people.

      • 2
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        The principle enunciated by you, Gnana is very true – and one of the fundamentals that must be insisted upon.
        .
        Pleas don’t interpret as censure of Mr Thiagarajah Venugopal’s father. I know too little of Tamil politics.

      • 0
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        Dr. Gnana Sankralingam

        “MPs are elected by the people on a certain policy @ the election”

        How can that be?

        People vote for a political party & may give preferential vote (that’s not mandatory)

        If they’re elected by people they should be given a right to cross over on the instruction of his people.

        • 1
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          Dear Real Revolutionist,
          .
          You have said:
          .
          “they should be given a right to cross over on the instruction of his people.”
          .
          How do you ascertain all that? For one thing it was a secret ballot; once the election is over one cannot ascertain who voted for whom.
          .
          Next, as you say, they voted for a party and the preferential vote was not mandatory. Please think it out: All sorts of distrotions arise when people cross over.
          .
          The only decent and honourable thing to do is to resign and re-contest at a by-election. But then there can’t be by-elections given the present system. Introduce them in a new system: that’s the only way to get “instructions of his people”.
          .
          Aloowing “conscience vote” and such like are very precious concepts – but what conscience do these rogues in our parliament have?

      • 0
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        Dear Dr Gnana Sankaralingam

        Thank you and Happy new year.

        The above comments are mine and nothing to do with Mr Thiagarajah because it is my world etc…….I hope you can understand that.

        However kindly explain what was cheated out of the people by my Fathers action please. Be specific and explain to all of us what this is all about will be greatly appreciated. Facts can not be altered and will be interesting to know your concern/conclusions in more details. This will serve us all too.

        he was in the Tamil Congress and joined the government later along with several other MP’s too. What happen to congress party thereafter the 1970 elections….what was their policy vs MP working with a government etc……then what was delivered to the people who flogged to my home 24/7 until the end till 1977?? I have no idea who you are…what you know…so please tell us. What was illegal about an elected MP procedurally allowed to change party under the circumstances then………our people did not even know what the MP’s suppose to do other than National Question since 1948???.

        The above are hints as to what I am expecting from your kind writeup that will give me some explanation please.

        I did offer to meet you to discuss all this in an open forum the offer still stands please accept and we can even telecast this around the world too. You can also help me to find the killers of my Father too at the same time.

        My email address thiagarajah1981@gmail.com. I am currently in the UK and am not sure where you are etc.

        Thank you

    • 1
      1

      MNIN Perera (OTC)

      Elsewhere you typed on January 2, 2019:

      “Apparently, the origin of South Asia’s anatomically modern human populations is centered around Sri Lanka not India.”

      Here is something you would have ignored however useful for others:

      Early Middle Palaeolithic culture in India around 385–172 ka reframes Out of Africa models

      By
      Kumar Akhilesh1, Shanti Pappu1, Haresh M. Rajapara, Yanni Gunnell, Anil D. Shukla & Ashok K. Singhvi.

      Excerpts from Abstract:

      Luminescence dating at the stratified prehistoric site of Attirampakkam, India, has shown that processes signifying the end of the Acheulian culture and the emergence of a Middle Palaeolithic culture occurred at 385 ± 64 thousand years ago (ka), much earlier than conventionally presumed for South Asia1. The Middle Palaeolithic continued at Attirampakkam until 172 ± 41 ka.
      https://www.nature.com/articles/nature25444

      Hope you will pass this information to young secular liberal researchers who should not be allowed to be stuck in the past.

      A man made rocket has gone past where similar vehicles have never gone.
      China has landed a lunar module on the other side of the moon.
      Indians are trying to land a module on Venus by 2023, (Does it mean Indians are first one to land man made vehicle on Venus).
      My friends’ children want to visit Mars and return on a tourist flight.

      Things are moving faster than many expected.
      You should also move with time.

    • 3
      1

      Mr. Thiagarajah Venugopal,
      It is not surprise for me that you are trying to take revenge against Tamils because of your personal reasons.That is why you are defending MR and blaming TNA or Tamils of this Nation. It is a well established fact that Tamil question stands a clear barrier for the development, stability, peace and rule of law of Sri Lanka. Every political leadership accepted that Tamil question should be resolved. The the father of SLFP is the first Sinhala politician who proposed a federal solution to the national question. He later made an agreement with FP leader Chelva called Banda-Chelva Pact. That sort of recognition continued until now.
      Why do you want to investigate only TNA crimes since 1970? Who should take the blame for the crimes committed from 1948 to 1970?
      For some one who is interested in the welfare of this nation and people should come out from personal grudges and personal revenges.

      • 1
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        Dear Ajith

        Revenge is not in my blood. Cold blooded killers are to be hung. If I kill you will be the same for me as I have to face the rope too. I hope you know this as a fundamental rule of cohabitation.

        Further in a democracy you and me are equal to seek the vote of the people correct based on the case we make? (Dr Gana and my discussion will further elaborate on this kindly bare with us as I am awaiting his response)

        Based on the above understanding I say Hon Selva had the right to seek Tamil vote based on his beliefs. We did not go around kill anyone BECAUSE he did not advocate such actions ever later adopted by the Leadership. Mt Selva does regularly visit my Father be it with different political believes. It is normal and always been so for Tamil people to have different political believes until my Father won the Vaddukottai seat. Ever since non stop murder attempts you may not know this Sir.

        Later since mid 1970’s this has changed to a killing spree? this was not acceptable to Tamil or the Sinhala people……….JVP faced the same consequence down South??

        Please do not mix the Tamil with the TNA as my people have lived under the gun trotters for a long time……..and paid the price???

        I do think the solution offered by the TNA is inappropriate (always been the case) is a proven one at the expense of our entire Nation. No one ever questioned the problems but the accusation is all about TNA has compounded the problem beyond any reason by their solutions. We are all entitled to seek for solution as we feel fit hope you agree. Please do not have policies expose our Children to more harm is in the interest of human rights and dignity for the entire Nation just not the Tamil speaking people.

  • 4
    1

    ranil thought that by dividing the opposition by cosing up to the rajapaksas he could follow in jr,s footsteps to ensure a future victory for the unp basil proved that he could be outwitted and ranil ended up with egg on his face
    if he thinks he can win the next presidential election he is a fool
    he will bring the party down with him he is destined to be a loser
    the rajapaksas made one mistake they wont make another as they know the unp under ranil is a spent force
    as in the past they will look after him as leader of the opposition

  • 1
    0

    His approach may be to a some what better environment from an on coming danger. In my view his way was not successful. If he wanted to avoid a personality for the sake of country he could have use the best trumiph he is having against him. I feel he has been reluctant for that. If people begin to do the right thing every thing would be convenient. The set up has been fully harassing people who do the right thing. Change in a attitudes and policies required.

  • 7
    1

    Thank you Tisaranee for giving Voice to my Opinion!

    “This is no Country for an Executive Presidency”!

    • 1
      1

      Hamlet

      Please note:
      As Anura Kumara Dissanayake said, “If the people fail to defeat the insane dictatorship of Mahinda Rajapaksa at this point, there will be no turning back for Sri Lanka.”

      Now it seems AKD has taken up hide and seek game by sitting on a fence, which we witnessed recently during Dr Mahinda engineered parliament putsch. AKD was at it kept his supporters and others guessing, will he or won’t he. It took a lot of persuasion to stop him being smart patriot with his nitpicking ideological justification not against the coup plotters and unelected prime minister, but against democracy.

      It now appears he stepping towards the crooks with conditions he knows very well the crooks won’t honour.

      Please read:
      Excerpt:

      JVP Kalutara District MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa, contacted for comment, said that his party would support a motion to dissolve Parliament on two conditions: the party which sponsors the motion should agree to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution seeking the abolition of the executive presidency and to pass a motion in Parliament to punish those who had violated the Constitution by setting up a government after Oct. 26, 2018.

      If these two conditions were met the JVP, would support a motion presented by any party for dissolving parliament , MP Jayatissa said, adding that if its conditions were met, the JVP would itself move that motion.
      JVP sets tough conditions to support UPFA motion to dissolve House
      January 4, 2019
      island.lk

      The JVP is slowly moving towards its natural ally.
      Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of reforming JVP.

  • 4
    1

    Tisaranee,
    I fully endorse to the conclusion about the executive Presidency. Not only executive presidency but also any executive powers to all the institutions.
    1. There should be a strong, unamendable constitutional protection on national soverignity, equality, human rights, rule of law and justice to all.
    2. There should not be any special places for languages, religions, and races in the constituion. For example, No special place to Buddhism (Religion), No special place for Sinhala (language).
    3. There should be a very strict principles and standards on institutions, organizations, political parties. For example political parties. All political parties should completely barred from racial hatred speeches against religions, races, disablity etc).

    • 0
      0

      Dear Ajith
      That is a Cool summary and is very progressive thoughts in nature.
      To achieve that It is a Journey to deliver justice for all post colonial reality for all the elected ever since 1948. How do we as people (not as Tamils) fit into all this??
      Where do you think Mr Thiagarajah and his likes and all their supporters fit into all what you wrote as suppose to TNA historically please?
      May be is an unfair question when you have stated ‘you were told by someone Mr Thiagarajah provide services for money’ to you whenever? Now you call me hater too??
      I DO NOT NEED TO PUNISH ANYONE Bro…………….the same lot were protected by the GOI/GOSL/Armed forces from extinction/extermination for the past 40 years?????? Now they sit around reaping all the perks while charging the armed forces with war crimes with the same job scope without having to deliver anything to people once more because……….GOSL GUILTY = TNA GUITY.??? This was a Natural situation coming then when the ‘offered solutions were wrong’……….this is why my Father and the fellow Traitors were able to deliver more to his people in 7 years the National question lot could not deliver for the past 70 years.
      That is why I asked you earlier the question about 1956-1958……………because based on the misinformations we were driven to 1977 riots/1981 development election killings/1983 riots…..if this does not tell you what is wrong with the solutions after all we have lost as people am not sure what else would Bro??
      This is not the time to be defensive but time to reach out for peace with your opponents like ourselves (Thiagarajah’s) some of us you may find as Tamil SPEAKERS TOO.

  • 7
    0

    What the coup taught us was that even after seventy years of independence the country is still run by a bunch of morons from which ever political party they come from.

  • 4
    1

    Executive Presidency is OK if that office is occupied by a Statesman. But where do you find Statesmen in Sri Lanka? All we get here are Dwarfs!

  • 0
    0

    ” What The Coup Taught Us” – The ONE and the ONLY: What a set of FOOLHARDY IDIOTS we have in the “Highest Echelons” who cannot successfully stage a Coup. Isn’t that a GOOD LESSON for us to know that there wan’t be any such thing as a “COUP” in Sri Lanka. Thank you “MY3 & MR Co.Ltd.” for letting us know that a “COUP” is not a possibility in this country.

    • 1
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      What the ‘Koo’ did?
      In Sri Lanka, many don’t know how to write the word ‘coup’ which is a French word, but, pronounce it as ‘Koo’ (or ‘Kuu’ which is in Finnish the Moon.
      This coup was according to many Sri Lankans was a good coup. They were expecting the Sun but they got at least the Moon.
      It reduced the fuel prices; any further reduction will be a direct result of that Kuu.
      It changed the Leader of the Opposition. Democratically MR should have got it a long time ago. If he had been given the post, this Kuu would not have happened.
      It abolished the taxes levied on NRFC accounts (that belong to Sri Lankans who bring in foreign exchange to the country (amounting to US$6.9 billion by working in oil-rich countries).
      It compelled TNA to show its real color to the Tamil people in the North; but unfortunately it also kicked octogenarian Sambandan out of the Opposition leadership.
      It shook the UNP to the hilt, and now it has been degraded and devalued like the Rupee to an ineffectual lame-duck minority government. It now faces the dilemma of the proverbial traveler who saw a deity when he was sleeping under a tree. The tree-god said: “if you don’t go home you will die; if you go home your wife will die”. (The reason was that a cobra crept into his travel bag while he was fast asleep under the tree). What Sri Lankan villagers hilariously say today is: “if the government goes with TNA it will die definitely at the next general election; if it doesn’t go with the TNA it will die immediately at a crucial vote count in Parliament.
      There are so many interesting sayings and stories among villagers about the current government; unfortunately, they don’t get across the oceans to the CT.
      Most of us on CT say Sri Lankan villagers are uneducated farmers and laborers. However, they coin words like ‘Kuu’

      • 0
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        Raj……………..wow….

        “if the government goes with TNA it will die definitely at the next general election; if it doesn’t go with the TNA it will die immediately at a crucial vote count in Parliament’

        This has been the case for the Tamils for a long time up North no one cared………….50 years to be exact………no one paid any attention until the death came knocking at every household in the Country……….this is a proof we have Alien Invasion phenomenon in SL sponsored by the UN………I wonder our fate when the Referendum for devolution fails????

  • 0
    0

    Actually, if I recall correctly, in the US there is no provision in the constitution for a President to be elected by the people. Rather the President is elected through the Electoral Colleges, which need not have the people’s mandate. The idea of a people’s mandate through vote came much later, and that has never been a good thing for the US really.

    Also the seeming lethargy of the government pre October coup was likely due to public servants being by and large still controlled by Rajapakse money. The will may be there, but implementation is tough if your staff play truant.

  • 0
    1

    Another stupid Article. Journalistic intelligence is going down day by day. I canm get it. If Executive presidency is bad, why Ranil tried it twice to push out the incumbant president and take it. England has a PM. but, in england, they are still speaking English, Still they are englishmen and women. So, PM can do the same job. That is what we are needed. We do not have leaders. Ranil’s leadership is what the Intenational community says. LGBT boy is doing some. Ranil always say PENTHOUSE RAVI and Arjun Mahendran did it. They both say, we told every thing to Ranil. Arjun mahendran while in Singapore went to Belgium to meet his advisor and the LENDER.

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    It is in news that JVP would support a “Motion” to Dissolve Parliament if “Strict” conditions are agreed upon by the “Opposition”. I still have no clue as to what those “conditions” would be; but as gathered from a comment above by Native Vedda, one such is “Support” for the proposed “20th Amendment”. This “20th Amendment” as proposed is going to be a “Double Edged” weapon that could become a handy weapon to commit “Hara- Kiri” for JVP. They (JVP) must seriously re- think of it (20th) and “Withdraw” it for their own good. Instead, they could bring a very “Simple” and “Easy” to understand and “Sell” a proposal to “Abolish” the position of “President” and return to full “Government Functioning” by a Cabinet headed by a Prime Minister, that will be “Responsible” and “Accountable” to the Parliament. The very proposal to “Nominate” and “Elect” a person to be the “President” from the Parliament is nothing but a “JOKE” and even if agreed upon, the PEOPLE will reject it wholesale. Is JVP such “childish” not to understand this reality? Is “NIO” (National Intellectuals Organization) unaware of this “Danger”? Why are they not advising the JVP to “Gracefully” withdraw the “20th Amendment” (as worded) and RE-SUBMIT a proposal, simply to “ABOLISH” the “Presidency” from the Constitution? This “20th Amendment” as warded MUST be DEFEATED. Who ever who agrees to it (as it stands toady) also must be DEFEATED.

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      If JVP is serious about constitutional amendments they should get UNP to submit them. Less than 5% of the people trust them.
      Other than the enormous cost of an island wide election there is no argument against the presidential system. A power hungry crook is a power hungry crook whether he appears in the form of a Priminister or President.

      Soma

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    Tisaranee Gunasekara – my first comment is on the following statement of yours.
    “The recent horrific incident in Negombo where a dog was burnt to death served to highlight another one of the government’s avoidable failures – the non-enactment of the Animal Welfare Act.”
    This is the understatement of the beginning of the year so far.

    just to relegate this horrific incident to the non-enactment of the Animal Welfare Act is itself obscene and an escape route form reality..

    what this horrific incident shows is ..how mentally sick the “Sri Lanka Sinhala Buddhist State” has become.

    The Rajapakse years certainly contributed to this current state of mental degradation of the “Sri Lanka Sinhala Buddhist State”

    one of the other factor is the widely available video of Sinhala army thugs, brutally torturing, murdering and raping of Tamils who surrendered to the Sinhala army…. The horrifying videos of Sinhala thugs laughing and joking while they rape dead bodied of Tamil girls…are seen by young and old alike and taken to be the acceptable norm in the Sri Lanka Sinhala Buddhist Social engineering project.

    Who with a normal mind would pour kerosene on to a four legged animal set fire to it and sit and enjoy it’s suffering?…did this guy check the animal welfare act before he set upon burning the dog alive.

    Mind you Sharmini ….Sinhala thugs burning alive Tamils and throwing Tamil infants in to boiling tar and setting fire to cars loaded with innocent Tamils…goes as back as 1958….

    60 years on that brutal mentality is still intact

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    Does Ranil want to abolish executive presidency? Any UNPer please.

    Soma

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    Madam I hope you are right this time. In your title you say “us”. That includes you and few of us. The majority of the public (retards) do not see that way. That has been the curse of Lanka since independence.

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    What about this argument that Executive Presidency is an integral part of Provincial Councils system?
    The question that how do you check a potential Perumal in the absence of an Executive President? With Provincial Councils morping into fully federal shape as being planned by Ranil/Sumathithran combo how are we going to tackle possible problems like tit-for-tat reactions by federal units, forced inter migration between them, refusal share natural resources etc.
    Why not abolish both together in one go?

    Soma

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    Let there be free and fair elections so that people can democratically choose between Ranil Wickramasinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa. Surely being out of power MR cannot manipulate the system.
    If ALL minorities en bloc are going to vote for one party I will vote for the opposite party and plead with the majority to do the same. That is my contribution to democracy.

    Soma

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    MS/MR are not the only evils . Take a look at the picture. All those brimming shit heads and clowns should be chased out. They are groomed to be the future of Lankan politics. politicians. The picture says it all. A bunch of criminals and hooligans enjoying their day of work.

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    For some seventy years we had this ‘us vs them’ game. The game plan was based on the language/religion-divide. Right under our nose this Presidential governance and two very bad teams evolved. We now ended up with a friendly ‘us vs us’ game.
    What happened on 26 October ‘removal’ of the PM was a putsch. What followed was not a ‘crisis’ but was a coup d’état.
    Tisaranee Gunasekara calls it ‘anti-constitutional coup’.
    .
    Names aside, our situation is grave. The two teams may let us languish as a ‘failed state’.
    Under these conditions it is being ambitious to change the way we are governed. Both teams will oppose.
    The horse auctions are a disgrace but will the sides agree to make it illegal?
    No way. Both sides want it and lawmakers make millions off this fence jumping.
    .
    Did we learn for Tisaranee’s “What The Coup Taught Us”?
    Is it ” The next coup is round the corner and might be violent”?

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    Dear Tisaranee,
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    Your writing and your reasoning are, as usual unexceptionable. Three things struck me about it. These are the first two:
    .
    Thanks for allowing us to think that we did well to elect Yahapalana four years ago. Yes, let’s not get so masochistic that we keep imagining that we made a mistake.
    .
    Secondly, I was surprised, but come to think of it, I accept, that we’ve got to be grateful that Sirisena did not defy the ruling of the Courts. And you’ve been fair by all. I saw Eva Wanasundera lambasted even in some of today’s comments. It must have been in the article about Sirisena dragging his feet about Supreme Court appointments. But you have remembered that even she stood on the right side on her final active day as a judge. She had written a quite moving response to a comment on Colombo Telegraph, calling herself just “Eva”.
    .
    If we are to make any progress in defeating the satanic evil of the Rajapaksas, it has to by behaving more rationally and reasonably that them.
    .
    How should I develop my third point, which is your analysis of the time-line?

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