1 July, 2022

Blog

Whither Lanka?

By Savitri Goonesekere

Prof. Savitri Goonesekere

The last week beginning 9th April 2022 was the one before Wesak, now celebrated locally, regionally, and by the UN as symbolic of Gautama Buddha’s message of peace and loving kindness. And yet Sri Lanka, where Buddhists celebrate this event annually as a special occasion, was trapped again in frightening episodes of violence. Wesak day this week end is being “celebrated” as never before in 74 years, of independence with very limited or no access to food, fuel, gas and  electricity, and a nation in bankruptcy obtaining handouts from across its shores, like a failed State. Yet the Gotabaya Rajapaksa lead  government is still in office, despite island wide street  protests calling  for the resignation of the President and government. A new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in at the end of the week. Three or four seniors of the government’s Pohottuwa Party, including GL Peiris and Dinesh Gunewardena have been  sworn in again (perhaps for a third time in weeks) after resigning and reappearing in cabinet office in repeatedly  reconstituted and disbanded Gotabaya Rajapaksa cabinets. It is clear that Gotabaya Rajapaksa with Mr. Wickremesinghe’s support intends to remain in office.

Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe is being hailed in some quarters including some media as  the “zero to hero” man of the moment  with a penchant for “snappy jokes” (Sunday Times 15/5.22) who will save this nation from economic  collapse. This must not cloud our eyes to grave realities. If statesmanlike decisions are not made by all concerned at this defining time for our country, within the framework of what is doable under our Constitution, we may witness further violence unrest and instability that will place at risk our collective future. Surely superficial conversations and media hype on the “stability” that a Rajapaksa/Wickremesinghe government will bring to our country must not cloud our vision and confuse our understanding of the realities of our political and economic crisis.

Let us look back on the ground realities of a defining week of events in the life of our country. For they do have grave implications for our survival as a nation in the Parliamentary system of governance that we have known for seven decades.

For over a month island wide street protests, in public gatherings saw unity among people of different races religions ages and class striving to claim back for the first time the constitutionally recognised right of a Sovereign people to accountable governance. They refuse to give legitimacy any longer to politician’s gross misuse of national resources, arrogant abuse of power, fiscal profligacy and mismanagement embedded in corruption. They demand that the current President and government accept responsibility for making the country a near failed State in 2 1/2 years of office, making daily life impossible to bear. They want systemic and institutional changes in governance. They want a TRANSFER of the responsibilities of governance to a NEW INTERIM ALL PARTY government. A government that has failed has in their view lost its mandate, and must leave office. Hence the GOTA GO HOME cry across the island in ever growing street protests, reinforced in the demands of trade unions of varied professions and worker groups.

These street protests have lead to the President being forced to change his cabinet many times in the last few weeks- surely another illustration of failed governance and political leadership. On the 9th of May the President’s brother PM Mahinda Rajapaksa was forced out of office despite indicating over and over again that he would not resign. It seemed as if the Peoples movement for change in governance would be realised, and the People would have a NEW all Party interim government, in place of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa lead Executive branch of government. Proposals for a transfer of power from President Rajapakse to an interim cabinet delinked from him and his party, according to a time line, seemed to have reached a stage of implementation.

Yet this did not happen. And why so?

A fiery speech by a Prime Minister resigning office, a door opened from his residence to the street, enabled his equally fiery supporters to emerge, and perpetrate acts of violence against a peaceful peoples’ movement demanding his resignation.

This was followed by a chain of events in response to this violence, flashed on the TV screens and phones of stunned citizens. There were gross acts of harassment and physical violence that resulted in some loss of life and extensive damage to property. Buildings belonging to identified members of the government, mostly in the Provinces, were set ablaze and burned to the ground. There are conspiracy theories floating around every day as to the active hand in these targeted acts of violence. These become even more sinister when we note the silence of leading politicians and former Ministers whose homes were reduced to ashes or trashed. Some have even taken oaths of office in what is described as another new Gotabaya Rajapaksa Cabinet as if nothing untoward has happened. This, when citizens are coping with a range of impossible problems that impact their everyday lives, leaving them confused and desperate.

The Prime Minister who left office is now holed up in a Navy fortified base. Screaming protesters call upon him to emerge. Members of the Navy hold armed weapons and stand silently, in a balcony above, watching and observing the scene, guns pointed at   the protesters.

A few days later a silent President emerges from hibernation and addresses the nation. He tells us all that we are in the “worst economic and political crisis of our times,” with the calmness of a person so alienated from reality, that he does not see that he and his government of 2 1/2 years  caused the economic collapse and bankruptcy of the nation. He calmly assures citizens that he will make everything right for everyone again. Citizens watched in horror as acts of gross violence were perpetrated with no law enforcement authorities in sight. Yet the President assures us that he is there to protect us citizens from violence. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa made no reference to the demand for his resignation, and transfer of the responsibilities of governance to an interim government that he will NOT lead. No reference is made to the strident calls for him to recognise that he, the all empowered Executive President of the 20th Amendment brought in Parliament soon after taking office, and his government, have abysmally failed the nation, and must leave office.

The next day we witnessed with amazement the President swearing in Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister of his government, to replace his brother who had just resigned. The President asked Mr. Sajith Premadasa, Leader of the Opposition to form an Interim government. Mr. Premadasa and the SJB are being now faulted in many pro-protest quarters for refusing this offer.

We have completely forgotten that what the people were demanding in street protests was an interim government that was NOT headed by any Rajapaksa. When the SJB’s principled stand demanded assurances that there would be a transfer of power to an all Party interim Prime Minister and cabinet, with a time line for a Presidential resignation, the President unilaterally decided to appoint Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was willing to JOIN  his Pohottuwa  government and  be HIS government’s Prime Minister. The concept of an “interim new government” to whom there would be a transfer of responsibility from the President and his old government has now been reinvented by President Rajapakse and Mr. Wickremesinghe to perpetuate (possibly for the whole of their term) the Pohottuwa Party government lead by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa AND Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe. This is a “constitutional coup” of the Rajapaksa’s reminiscent of the events of 2018, but with Mr. Ranil Wickremesighe now our six times Prime Minister, derailing the Peoples’ movement for change and perpetuating Rajapakse governance in this country, despite the challenges sustained to this governance, for over a month in vibrant street protests.

The resigning former PM whose passport has been impounded by Court, pending investigations into alleged crimes, congratulated with alacrity the new PM, his President brother’s personal choice. Another family member and former minister (whose passport has also been impounded) showered blessings on the new PM. This is a final act of undermining the street protests calling for systemic and institutional changes in government by the Rajapaksas.

The legitimisation of the appointment of Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister

On what basis did the President and Mr. Wickremesinghe conclude that Mr. Wickremesinghe and his party who were decimated in the polls, can be considered to command the confidence of Parliament as required by the Constitution for the appointment of a Prime Minister. Or this a novel Rajapaksa/Wickremesinghe understanding of the norms of a Parliamentary democracy?

The new PM, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe lost his seat in Parliament. He represents no Sri Lankan citizen in the system of representative democracy in our Constitution, and system of governance. He arrived in Parliament on a national list which he himself said some time ago was meant to bring outside technocrats and expertise into Parliament and was not meant as a sinecure for candidates defeated at elections. Yet he has been appointed as Prime Minister by the unilateral act of a President whose government  is under siege for failed administration, with a public demand that the President himself leaves office.  Consequently an interim government headed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his favoured appointee to the office of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, does NOT conform to the interim government that the People desire at this time.

Mr. Wickremesinghe when asked by a journalist how he sees the street protest or “aragalaya” said with a smile “Oh that must go on. Continuing the aragalaya is very important.” He did not explain how he can be PM in a Rajapakse government, and also support a Peoples’ movement or “aragalaya” that is calling for a government that is NOT lead by this President Gotabaya. Was this a tongue in cheek and facetious remark from a politician who attracts media attention for his “snappy” sense of humour. He was captured on TV recently dismissing a protest opposite his home as the response of the “kelle” in a school close by who, he said, fled the gathering to eat lunch at the Cinnamon Grand?

We can dismiss Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s comment on the aragalaya as a cynical aside not to be taken too seriously, given the embedded contradictions. But what is of concern is that it highlights what the country has witnessed, and his critics point to as Mr. Wickremesinghe’s casual approach to the fundamentals of governance in a Parliamentary democracy because he thinks market lead economic development must take priority. He is now reinforcing the criticism that while in office he took no action and ignored corruption at the highest level in the infamous Bond Scam scandal, which indeed cost him and his party their seats in Parliament. He violated norms of inter party democracy in his leadership of the Party, and critics allege that this destroyed an established political party, the UNP. He clearly failed to seize the opportunities given to him to strengthen democracy in the Rainbow coalition lead by him, after the Rajapaksa government was rejected in 2015, and again in 2018, after a path breaking Supreme Court decision that challenged Mahinda Rajapaka’s return to office. His contribution in Parliamentary debates in this crisis consistently demonstrates that a competent politician is obsessed with what he considers “fixing the economy”. One of the problems in his approach is that he prioritises economic growth and delinks it from fundamental issues of accountable governance in a Parliamentary democracy. As citizens we have every right to be concerned that Mr. Wickremesinghe will not respect Peoples current demand for accountable and transparent governance, which they see as the urgent need of the hour, in his mission to save our nation from economic collapse. The lessons of history tell us that this approach will lead to further erosion of democratic governance in this country, and a resurgence of the Rajapakse style of governance that has doomed this nation to economic collapse.

The newly “anointed” PM, appointed by a President whose very survival in the post is challenged, went through the usual political ritual of obtaining blessings in a Buddhist temple. He assured us with a smile that HE is the chosen one, that HE will deliver us from all our problems. HE knows it all and HE will be our Saviour. Journalists who ask specific questions on HOW he will handle proceedings in Parliament, and appointments of Cabinet Ministers, and timelines, are dismissed with a wave of the hand and a condescending smile. “All in good time, all in good time, leave it to me” is the clear message of a person described in the press as a great “zero to hero” in being.

Mr. Wickremesinghe has announced that he will be conducting his business with all his faithful Party men who lost the Parliamentary elections. They will now be his advisers and helpers, in steering the ship of State in troubled waters. They all announce to us with cheerful smiles, on many media channels that they are back again on a free ride, in the business of governance, as Mr. Wickremesinghe’s stalwarts.

Meanwhile diplomats of foreign nations (who one would think know the realities of the political scene in Sri Lanka due to prolonged island wide street protests), shower the newly appointed PM with congratulatory and other messages. They are delighted with the appointment and see it as ushering the much desired “stability” in the country. Many of these persons are from countries with parliamentary democracies. It is not clear how they came to the conclusion that the waving of a wand by a discredited President, in an appointment of a Prime Minister of a country with a month of strident, articulate and peaceful protests demanding an end to a government’s corruption and abuse of power, can create this “stable” political environment.

The Opposition in Parliament?

The SJB and the JVP who have attempted to connect with the demands for accountable governance in street protests, have maintained their position. This is based on the principle that they are not willing to join an all-party interim government that is led by a failed President and his government, whose actions clearly show they have defaulted on Constitutional obligations and lost the mandate to govern. The SLFP and other parties swear they will not accept cabinet office in the Gotabaya/ Ranil Wickremesinghe government and will sit in the Opposition as independents. But they WILL accept its usefulness at this time and WILL support them when necessary. No mention of the clear contradiction in saying this, supporting the Peoples’ movement, and legitmising the President’s decision to continue in office with HIS government AND Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe. The TNA after an initial statement by its spokesman, indicating support for the Gotabaya Rajapaksa/Wickremesinghe government in a limited way, has now clarified that the unilateral appointment of Mr. Wickremesinghe contradicts basic norms of democracy. It is taking the position that the President has lost his mandate and has no right to continue in office.

We as citizens, witnessing the events of this week and conduct of our politicians may well ask: Are we in a country we can describe as Paradise Lost, Crow’s Island, Myna or Cuckoo Land? We should ask ourselves – Why do we permit our rulers to do this to us?

Regaining our Sovereignty as the People

We must re-enforce and strengthen current efforts to ensure that our governance is accountable to the People. We must support every effort within and outside Parliament to strengthen democracy so that it becomes functional and not dysfunctional. Perhaps it is useful even at this late stage to examine whether our Constitution can enable us to arrive at a solution to this impasse, where a failed government refuses to leave office, and the People want systemic and institutional change. Especially when a government has so pauperised the country that it can’t afford to settle all through a General Election.

1) Is it not possible to have some clarity in regard to what the People WANT as an ‘Interim Government” to tide over the crisis. The People want an interim government that is NOT lead by the Rajapaksas, whom they hold accountable for the current crisis. They reject the corruption and abuse of power that has brought the country to this predicament. They say they have lost the mandate given to them to govern.

Mr. Wickremesinghe obtaining the government’s support and getting their votes in Parliament to lead a Rajapaksa government is not the Peoples’ concept of an all-party “interim government.” (The protestors on the Streets have just baptised him with a new name: Ranil Rajapaksa!) It is this confusion and total disregard of ground realities on the nation’s demand for an interim government for a short period to manage the crisis, which has led to the President appointing Ranil Wickremesinghe as PM, offering to work together in leading the nation out of the current crisis.

2) When Parliament meets next, is it not the duty of ALL Parliamentarians to recognise that the President and his government have lost the mandate to govern. Those who support the Peoples’ demand for a regime change must then vote together and ensure that a new Prime Minister and a cabinet of all other parties represented in Parliament forms an interim government. They must work for a consensus in this regard, and not permit the continuation of the SAME government, now lead by the President and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, with the support of the Presidents party in Parliament.

3) The opposition in Parliament and those who support the island wide street protests can then also pass the No Confidence Motion against the President. This will give a clear message, legitimizing the call for his resignation. Hopefully, the President and Mr. Wickremesinghe will understand this message, which reflects ground realities on street protests, and the demands made for a change. Mr. Wickremesinghe can then become a member of an OPPOSITION interim cabinet, but not as Prime Minister of the CURRENT government, supported by a vote of confidence of THIS government.

4) The President can in conformity with the Constitution appoint an all-party interim Prime Minister, and a Cabinet that is NOT from his OWN party, unless the new Prime Minister of the Opposition or independent group in Parliament, invites them to be part of the new cabinet.

5) The interim Prime Minister and Cabinet, representative of all parties, can be constituted as the new executive branch of government. They can function as part of the executive for a defined maximum period of ONE – TWO months. During this time the 21 Amendment can be brought to Parliament for the abolition of the Executive Presidency with relevant changes in governance. Once this amendment is passed the President will cease to hold office, and provision can be made for the continuity of the Prime Minister and cabinet of the interim government, until the General Elections are held. A timeline can be set for the holding of these elections. The office of President will then become one held by a ceremonial Head of State, as in many other democracies. The systemic and institutional changes in governance demanded by the People in the island wide street protests will be facilitated by this Constitutional change. Such a Constitutional change should not be postponed for longer on mythical arguments of “instability”. The Constitution has clear provisions on the transfer of power when the President leaves office. It is up to Party leaders to understand and use them.

Those of us who have interacted with some of the competent professionals in Parliament, ask ourselves why through decades in public life many of them have not been to our nation, as Tagore said “Men whom the lust of office cannot buy.” The answer perhaps lies in that wise statement of a great judge of a great Commonwealth court, Lord Acton who said, “(access to) power corrupts and (access to) absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

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Latest comments

  • 3
    0

    A fiery speech by a Prime Minister resigning office.

    Temple tree name is a promoting place for spiritual & welfare that to make a person better, addressed for equality for the people, How is that it was used for enmity and first time 74 years, the leader visions can be gauged on this mission.

    • 11
      5

      When all systems crash at the same time – food, fuel, medical supply chains, you know that the American Cyborg Dr. Octopus is squeezing and strangling Lanka!
      Everyone is distracted with Aragalaya while US puppet Ranil and US citizen Gota are Washington’s Economic Hit men are selling the country to the IMF!
      Time for the Araglaya folks need to protest endless Curfews and Lockdowns and come up with an alternative to Washington’s IMF agenda!

      • 7
        5

        As Dr. Asoka Bandarage writes: “Although bizarrely overlooked by the global media, a Cold War is already in place between China and the Quadrilateral Alliance (United States, Japan, Australia and India) over the control of Sri Lanka and the Indian Ocean.”

        Sri Lanka is under cyber and Hybrid Trade and Economic War attack from the US and an advanced experiment in Over the Horizon Full Spectrum Dominance (FSD), project for Global governance,

      • 10
        1

        Dinuk,
        “Time for the Araglaya folks need to protest endless”
        Have you never heard of consistency?
        Last week you said the Aragalaya was a CIA plot.

        • 7
          1

          Last week not taking medicine, this week back on medicine.

    • 15
      1

      “Those who support the Peoples’ demand for a regime change must then vote together and ensure that a new Prime Minister and a cabinet of all other parties represented in Parliament forms an interim government.”
      But if a vote of no-confidence is passed, will Sajith then be willing to be PM under Gota? If he does so, why the devil didn’t he do it last week?
      I don’t think it makes any difference who is President. 21A is due to be tabled next week, so Gota will effectively be de-fanged.
      What we need pronto is political stability.

      • 7
        1

        OC
        Sajith P, Sarath F and Champika R were all dreaming for something that Ranil W beat them to.
        As for GR, RW is the best bet for survival. He played it cool this time by offering DP the job before he gave it to RW.
        I do not trust RW, but I trust the rivals even less.
        *
        Unlike these three the JVP is focussed to work with the Aragalaya to recover at least some of its lost credibility.

        • 4
          1

          S.J,
          Sajith’s incompetence leaves even his brighter team members floundering to justify his actions. Watch Harsha tying himself up in knots:
          https://youtu.be/XotOQuYdNbE

          • 1
            1

            The interviewer lady did not have to grill him for him to achieve that.

        • 2
          0

          I was wondering who “DP” is, and then noticed that “S” is next to “D” on the keyboard.
          .
          SJ undoubtedly has enviable keyboard speed.

      • 5
        1

        OC,
        As always you are spot on Dear – you the kind of true souls could do lot more to save this nation. No doubt about that. Whatever mistakes RW made in the past, all what he has predicted have become the truths as of today…. even Rajapakshes that ruined his party – behave today before RW, similar to tail wagging reactions of a stray dog.
        .
        “But if a vote of no-confidence is passed, will Sajith then be willing to be PM under Gota? “

        This is called Balagiridhoshaya being affected by Sajith back and forth. Truly saying SP has a few powerful, talented MPs that could work also with RW or AKD. Sajith does not want them to leave the party because if done so SJB would be an empty base.

        Agree OC – “what we need right at the moment is political stability”.

        By end of next week, if the situation would remain as it is now, those would would die without sufficient medicine would go up as no times in the past.
        .
        And if the situation woudl remain as it is, no doubt that, this land would be branded forever as ” minikannage deshaya- a land of murderers”- also overtaking Israel of the day.

        Please watch the video below. How they attach the casket carrying mourners – with the backing of so called powerful nations.
        .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHqytR_y0I8

        This is why I think HOMO SAPIENS are not special… they behave wild beasts where there is no proper law and order settings.

        • 3
          0

          Thanks, LM, for that 75 second video. It was distressing, but we must face up to the fact that humans can be made to behave worse than beasts.

      • 6
        3

        old codger

        “so Gota will effectively be de-fanged”

        No need, from day one of his presidency he could not effectively do anything at all though he made several covert and overt threat to state employees. All what he proved was that he was not one who could deliver.

        Like his arch enemy V Prabaharan Gota is a psychopath, apart from visiting Gnana Akka he has been lame since he took office.

        Whether one likes it or not JVP never had credibility among people. People know a less effective party when they see one.

    • 1
      1

      RBH59,
      Good morning.
      “the leader visions can be gauged on this mission.”
      The past PM’s vision and mission, was well captured for a very long time, specially last 17 years!!
      Nothing changed at all.
      MaRa pre 2005 to MaRa post 2005 is paradigm change!
      Saviour of ‘Mothers Front and UNHRC to Selfish Polity’
      The difference is that he went around the people and world; After 2005, he emphatically thought that in fact the world andpeople went around him??!!

  • 9
    3

    Ranil Rajapaksa and Mahinda Myna Rajapaksa have now become Twin brothers.
    Ranil has patronisingly told the protesters that they could continue with their GotaGoHome protests. In the next breath he says that Gota will not leave. BUT IF HE decides to leave Ranil Rajapaksa becomes President. I have a dirty feeling that this is the deal. The future of the Rajapaksas could then be streamlined thanks to their Twin brother. Their unjust enrichment could be swept under the carpet.

    In a country where the general public know about the Politicians and their escapades why is that there is no precise details of the relationship between Myna and Ranil and when it was forged……….
    Money and women can be certainly ruled out.

    The learned Prof; of Law at the Colombo University may have taught Ranil in the late sixties until he passed out in the early seventies.

    Teachers do know their students………………………..

    • 6
      1

      Now?.
      .
      I thought they were siamese for sometime now/ anyways/ to overcome current dire situation/ RW is the man to the eyes of many. Wait and see if he would be able to save the infant to the other end of the river bank safely/ n a country filled with culprits, even maha brahmaya would nt succeed anything🤔🐃😎🤥☹☹☹☹☹

  • 11
    1

    Whither Sri Lanka INDEED.
    Just now we hear SLFP agreeing full support with 4 Ministries. The 10 “independent” members also agreeing to support but with no ministerial perks. And these are the people who campaigned against Ranil and reduced him and his party to shambles. What principles, one may ask.
    They only want to hang on and save their skin.
    These are our legislators who need protection with six policemen to save them from those who voted them in.
    Laughable or ridiculous – choice is yours.

    • 3
      1

      Myview,
      .
      If BP Gota would not resign, what is the option ? We are all against him conintuing but what is if he does not realize it.
      Those who stand against – stay against, should come with other alternatives ? JVPrs wait until genetically modified people are made to vote fo rthem. They will then have to be trained by a software – to vote for JVPrs only.

      To anyone with some sanity would be clear, current crisis can only be resolved by finding solutions through the parliament.

      THe composition of the parliament is long known to us.
      Those ARAGALAYA fighters, where had they been at the time, GOTA was nominated not respecting all prerequisites of Election Commission. My million dollar QUESTION would be utopic lovers aka JVPrs were silent in that moment, even if SJB is said to be stupid too.
      .
      Entire world agrees with the logic but our people cant grasp it yet why ?

  • 2
    1

    In November 2019, voters overwhelmingly voted for the NGR thinking the soldier who saved them from Tigers is going to get rid of the ISIS and going to run the government successfully. He failed miserably even from the start. The acts of Harassing the SRILANKAN working for a foreign embassy and placing Shani Abeysekara in prison for collecting evidence against him—-pointed his evil nature. His arrogance shown in saying that his circulars /sayings are as good as laws of the country.
    NGR should go along with Pohotuwa and SLFP members NOW

  • 1
    2

    What can Ranil do to the Economic Crisis?
    Ranil was PM between 2015 to 2019 and did he do well with economy? Somewhat there was stability until Easter Bombing, and favourable environment for investment etc. All those western countries are helping and he extended the Chinese loan with 99 years lease. Even under such favouable situation the economy did not prosfer and US dollar reserve was just 7 billion. But now under it is just only a half a billion dollar, Day by day increasing debts, no tourist arrivals income, no export income, international economic crisis after Ukrain war, rocketing fuel prices, and political instability who is going to help to recover the economy. They may throw some dollars to short out some shortages and large sums of loans which you cannot get back without selling the country.
    The motive of Ranil is to sit on the President chair at least for 3 months. Gota wants to run away from Sri Lanka safely. Other Mahinda family members already left or leave the country very soon and it is the Ranils motive. Ranil may become a hero like Gota in few months time to become President without much change to the existing political culture and system until next round of struggle for freedom.

  • 2
    3

    Wither Sri Lanka is going where its confused mob vs government tug of war is taking it.

    In a recent survey ‘the people’ , 50% of them roughly wanted the entire parliament to resign. So where is this ‘people’s government? No – one is suggesting that an interim government be formed with half the parliament – maybe the rest can be in the opposition. Which half though, do we know?

    It is the “PEOPLE” they say who has had the power to cause the cabinet to resign. Well it looks like the people do no know what they want, or the opposition is not with the people.

    Let’s not let the excitement over an economic crisis converted to a political crisis blind anyone to the need of the hour which is a government and a stable one. As I recall the constitution requires citizens to accept the duly elected government.

    Let’s not have these false righteousness about ‘legitimacy’ – when Ranil W was illegally made Prime Minister in 2015, that was ‘legitimate’. When President Sirisena allowed terrorist attacks to take place I don’t recall anyone asking him to leave, or to question his ‘legitimacy’.

    Madame professor, it is not for you or students to determine the legitimacy of the government, the elections process to decide, and the laws of the land. Unpopularity is not a sufficient cause for resignation.

    It is very disappointing that the many intellectuals are against the government in a time of crisis.

  • 4
    1

    Today parliament convened and it’s business as usual. 109 got together to deny a lady Dy Speaker post , Some more joined to save Gotha by voting against NCM. Four SLFP crooks are ready to accept minister post. Government promised to give new houses for those crooks who lost, which include SLPP goons who were arrested today for initiating violence. Same government never cared for people who lost their houses in North and East. During the whole proceedings RW kept mum without uttering a word. RW is desperate to get anyone from opposition to show his as interim government.

    • 2
      1

      It’s time trade unions and Aragalaya get together to make sure all Rajapaksas are send home.

  • 2
    2

    Reluctantly I come in. That should explain my delayed reaction.
    .
    Prof. Savitri Goonesekere is a noble warrior; she’s fighting for us.
    .
    I see her anguish. I have no such agony. I am resigned to my fate.
    For me, Ranil Wickremesinghe accepting the ‘job’ (as Sumanthiran puts it) was the last straw.
    .
    I thought that I detest Rajapaksas. Now, I don’t know who I detest more.

  • 2
    1

    Savitri Goonesekere: Your article is excellent. You put lot of thoughts into it. Hope your wish and the great portion of SL people wish will come true. Its not easy for Gota to let go the presidency because the whole family will be arrested and put behind bars. So he is going to hang on as long as he can. Ranil is an opportunist and he took the PM post. But he may not be able stay in power. Only way to solve this problem is to ask for new election of the parliament. Let Gota sit as president but go for the election. That way we will have a new mandate to a group of people who can solve this problem. Once the election is over impeach Gota and get rid of him. May the almighty bless all of us with peace and quiet living.

  • 1
    1

    The current Parliament consisting of mostly uneducated crooks should be disbanded ASAP. Our big Neighbour can advance some money to conduct a Parliamentary Election IMMEDIATELY to select new lot of parliamentarians who are educated, civilised, not corrupted people.

  • 3
    1

    Thanks, Professor Goonesekere for expressing so clearly the misgivings that I feel about this present dishonest arrangement. Gota and Ranil by now represent almost no citizens in the country. Gota may still appeal to some racist elements, but Ranil? How is he in Parliament at all?
    .
    When a major party like the UNP crumbles, there will be some who don’t understand what has happened, knowing only that they’ve been advised to vote for the “Elephant.” One such is the crazy old gardener, Ramaswamy” who is allowed to live in an outhouse by my sister.
    .
    Correct me if I’m wrong, oc: didn’t the UNP contest Every District in the country? So they had to get that one National List seat. I grant that Ranil’s knowledge and experience serve as a useful foil to set off Gota’s ignorance, but if this continues after the difficult two months, it will turn all our abler young people into rebels who totally dismiss orderly governance. It is a blessing that this Law Professor has seen this to be the main problem now confronting us; I hope that the course of action that she has outlined is one that is feasible.

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      Post script:
      .
      GambadaIskoleMahattaya couldn’t help noticing a spelling mistake that manifested itself almost ten times here (as it does very often on the pages of CT):
      .
      See if this makes sense:
      .
      http://www.woodheadpublishing.com/led-vs-lead
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela

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      SM,
      The UNP got 249, 435 votes and 1 seat, the SLMC got 1 seat for 34,428 votes, whereas the EPDP got 2 seats for 61,464 votes. Strange system, isn’t it?
      “I grant that Ranil’s knowledge and experience serve as a useful foil to set off Gota’s ignorance”
      Let’s give him 6 months at least. There is no point in simply protesting. The Rajapaksas had no plan, and Sajith has neither plan nor experience. The JVP has fancy theories, mostly impractical.
      Watch Sunil Handunnetti making a fool of himself:
      https://youtu.be/TqgiAzx9PtI
      It is easy to sound authoritative when the interviewer is as ignorant. Sunil says the Trinco oil tanks were built during WW2 by the Allies. But the fact is, they were built in the 30’s by the British alone. That’s only one of his slip-ups.

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        Dear oc,
        .
        Thanks for the fact check on Sunil Handunnetti’s claims. That was part of a much longer interview with Sepal Amarasinghe, whom I don’t trust at all. He’s the guy who advised his listeners to spoil their votes before the August 2020 General Elections by writing NOTA.
        .
        I accept your reservations about the inaccuracies spouted by Handunnetti, but aren’t you mischievously rubbishing the elections system regarding the seats won by the UNP ,

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          SM,
          Sunil’s remarks about Ilmenite were also inaccurate. Sri Lanka isn’t the only place where it’s freely available. There is plenty of it 200 miles away in Kerala, and they haven’t got rich on it though they have been at it since 1946.
          Don’t you think the election system is a bit warped in places?

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        Continuing, sorry, oc, must have got submitted inadvertently. I was planning to copy it on to a LibreOffice document for editing.

        .
        PART ONE
        .
        Anyway, the UNP, the SLMC, the EPDP. You seem to be testing me with those figures; you shouldn’t do that!
        .
        The UNP got its single National List member by getting a handful of votes from each of 22 Electoral Districts.
        .
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_Sri_Lankan_parliamentary_election
        .
        I did look at that before asking for your assistance. There are footnotes to the tables, but I couldn’t work out the number of Districts the UNP contested. The SLMC has got its sole member from a District (my guess is from Batticaloa District in the Eastern Province); the two for the EPDP have also been from a District/ Districts. Almost Definitely from the Northern Province, but I won’t try to fathom whether it was from two Districts (Jaffna? Vanni?). It wasn’t part of my original query, so never mind.

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        PART TWO
        .
        The explanation: Seats would have been allocated to those Districts in terms of Registered Voters, but turn out would have been low. That’s objective analysis. Why the anomaly? That’s got to be empirical. I’m sure that some racists with an anti-minority bent would argue that there was deliberate cheating.
        .
        There are two bits of electoral cheating that I have pointed out at various times. One relates to the carving out of the Haputale Electorate (to the disadvantage of Up-country Tamils).
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/what-is-at-stake-for-oppressed-plantation-communities-in-sri-lanka-beyond-the-pandemic/
        .
        Analyse my comments there; examine particularly this map.
        .
        http://www.mpclg.gov.lk/web/images/wardmaps/badulla/17_Badulla_HaputhalePS.pdf
        .
        I checked that just now, and it works. There now were gremlins in relation to the links given in May 2020.
        .
        Moderators, please note: I have spent hours working that out just now.
        .
        I also find that I have exchanged six emails with a Mr Pushpanathan Sivendra, who had given his address in a comment on the article (by Mr Upul Wickramasinghe) referred to above.

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        PART THREE
        .
        and the other (my hobby horse!) to the election to the S. Thomas’ Board of Governors. The former matters less now because Parliamentary Representation is on District Basis, and the latter is rather parochial.
        .
        However, don’t take the latter to be a joke. See this:
        .

        https://www.lawnet.gov.lk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/009-SLLR-SLLR-2000-V-1-EKSITH-FERNANDO-v.-MANAWADU-AND-OTHERS-ST.-THOMAS-COLLEGE-CASES.pdf
        .

        The facts relevant to the cheating that I highlighted are to be found in readable comments here,
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/chelvanayakams-124th-birthday-the-need-to-honour-him-with-transparent-cms-administration/
        .
        I know that the title sounds weird! And here:

        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-bishop-cms-fiddle-while-st-johns-college-jaffna-burns/
        .
        Plus google these two words: “Thomian Pharisees”. You will find a number of tiresome articles written by me, with my photograph.
        .
        This is how one can get bogged down in details. Professor Prof. Savitri Goonesekere hasn’t allowed that to happen in relation to the chaos in Lanka right now.
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela (NIC 483111444V)

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