20 September, 2019

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Who’s Afraid Of Mahinda Rajapaksa?

By Malinda Seneviratne – 

Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

There’s going to be an election in a few weeks time. On the face of it yet another provincial council election in the now to-be-expected staggered format that gives the ruling party an inside edge should not excite anyone. On the other hand, the Uva PC election is being held amid widespread speculation that it will be followed by a snap presidential election. A strong showing in Uva would give the opposition a much needed fillip even if it ends on the losing side whereas yet another one-sided affair would spell doom for whoever that is chosen as the principal candidate of the opposition in a presidential election.

Perhaps this is why there seems to be more election-heat in Uva (unlike say, Wayamba).  Intra-party scuffles have for a change given way to inter-party clashes. Perhaps also, this is why ‘hot’ as Uva is, there is as much talk of that campaign as there is speculation and machinations with respect to ‘a common opposition candidate’.

All this was expected, though. It was anyway hard to believe that President Mahinda Rajapaksa would stay his full term.   First, he is not getting any younger. Secondly, with each passing day regime-fatigue becomes more of a factor that plays again re-election aspirations. Thirdly, there is a thing called ‘opportune moment’. There is a lot to gain by calling for an early election, say, at a time when the opposition is in disarray or is demoralized by a defeat.

Mahinda KarunaThe scrambling in the opposition camp to come up with a name that everyone can support itself indicates strong conviction that there will be an early presidential election, i.e. long before the due date of 2016.  It is in this context that the remarks of former Chief Justice Saran N Silva regarding Mahinda Rajapaksa’s eligibility needs to be understood.

According to Saratn N Silva’s reading of the constitution, President Rajapaksa cannot re-contest due to what he contends is flawed wording in the 18th Amendment. The thing about interpretation is that there can be more than one. Laws themselves can be changed and regimes are notorious for using parliamentary majorities to pass partisan legislation.  We saw this at the tail end of the eighties when the UNP was about to lose its two-thirds majority. Courtesy Sarath N Silva, ironically, ruling parties can always obtain the two-thirds majority required for constitutional amendment. That’s considerable political edge.

Even if the ruling party does not avail itself of these benefits, final determination comes from the Supreme Court and according to opposition voices including that of the former Chief Justice it’s a naduth-haamuduruwange-baduth-haamuduruwange state of affairs.

In all these machinations, claims and legal arguments one thing stands out: picking a ‘common candidate’ is less important for the opposition than making sure that the ‘chosen one’ will not have to confront Mahinda Rajapaksa. Even his most vociferous critic will admit that he is Mr Impossible To Beat, and not just because of the massive advantage that the constitution as well as political realities confer on the incumbent. The troubling truth for the opposition is that in the business of choosing lesser evils, the President has far greater appeal than any of the names being floated as possible challenger. All the more reason, naturally, to do whatever is necessary to get his name off the ballot.

There are two perceptions that are commonly expressed, even by the President’s detractors. First, that although regime-approval is low and people are not happy with the Government, they will still vote for the betel leaf. One often hears frustrated voices in the opposition cursing the people for being stupid, especially in the aftermath of electoral defeat.  Secondly, there is grudging acknowledgement of the President’s popularity: oya yaka kohomahari dinanava (this devil will win somehow). This acceptance is not about hook-or-crook scenarios but the fact that unpopular as the government is and despised as most ministers are, the President is still seen as an ‘ape manussaya’ (our man).

What this means is that the opposition’s failure is of a magnitude greater that whatever general popularity slippage detracts from the President’s overall persona. In this context even if the opposition were to get its act together (a tall order in itself) the outcome will not subvert the script. This is why interventions such as Sarath N Silva’s, sadly, are crucial for the opposition.  What it means is that the opposition has been in arm-chair mode for far too long.  The opposition has to understand that voice-cut politics won’t deliver anything.

In this context, what the former Chief Justice’s intervention really amounts to is a confession from the overall opposition: ‘We are scared to run against Mahinda Rajapaksa’. It indicates that there’s a lot more work to be done among the people and that they’ve started rather late in the day.  Better late than never, though, is something to cling on to.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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Latest comments

  • 14
    0

    Peace loving nation of this country:)

    Unfortunately, majority of people are not aware of the danger before the country if MR would stay in power – it is all because majority of nation making up over 60% are living under poverty thought their figures are far from the realities. Srilanka is still poor country to entire world but not to Rajapakshe hegomony

    • 8
      0

      Who’s Afraid Of Mahinda Rajapaksa?

      Of course, the devil is worried that Rajapakse has taken over his job and surpassed his prowess!

      • 4
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        Mrs Thiru;
        Who’s Afraid Of Mahinda Rajapaksa?.

        Malinda Knows Better Than Others.

        He, Himself Afraid to tell that to the World, He is Also Afraid of these Jarapassasand His friends , Bandulas, Jarapal, Kudu Merwin, Kudu Dumiya, P M, and UNPers Who joined Jarapassa also.

        SO MALINDA S,YOU BETTER BE CAREFUL

        And All the Jarapassa clans are Afraid Of Mahinda Rajapaksa?

        Cap it all , ” MAHINDA JARAPASSA IS AFRAID OF HIMSELF BECAUSE OF THE SINS HE HAS DONE “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        HA HA HA HA HA !!!!!!!!,

        When you have done so many sins, You cannot hide anywhere!!!!!!.
        NOT ONLY JARAPASSA, Even he is Ultimate god NOWAY HE CAN ESCAPE.

        that is the “UNIVERSAL TRUTH”.

      • 3
        0

        I am not AFRAID EITHER oF ANY JARA PASSA OR ANY HoTOMBAYA, NOR ANY BODY. ,

        I have not done any wrong thing, against to the Humans kind.

        SO WHY SHOULD I AFRAID OF ?????????? .

        [{ Malinda “bUT DO not tell any body”, When I was in Kalutara jail, He The F KING came to see me, And told ; “AMARE MAMA MAHINDA, UBAWA BALLANDA AAWE”}].

    • 0
      0

      What is the difference between a worm found in facels and this particular writer – so called prize winning writer s round abouts not telling or analysing the danger before the people as it should be ?

    • 0
      0

      Yes you may be right. But how many of the population are longing for permanent peace ?
      While even senior politicians are deceived by the perks package offered by thakkadi rajapakshes to anyone to tame and persuade them for their wrong ideologies – wrong means fully wrong as no go anymore… as it is the case with current efforts to turn Harin Fernando to an UPFA supporter… I really dont think even if North korean dictator would not be easy to get rid of Rajapakshe Sharks.

      Their administration is capable fo abusing even MOST SACRED mahanayaka or anyone above. This country is not infiltrated by all abusive tactics of Rajapakshe. If people would see it as talents… they where we the professionals have to see rendering treatments.

  • 9
    0

    Pictures worth thousand words.. hi friends check this pic closely..
    who are behind MR in the pic.. all thakkadiyas not educated ones. That sends the message of the nature of MR admin

  • 11
    0

    Who is afraid of Mahinda Rajapaksa?

    Those who accepted laptops from Mahinda Rajapaksa.

  • 10
    0

    Who is afraid of MR?

    1,The journalists who have left the country-Late Lasanthas wives,Felicia Jansz etc,etc

    2 The media personnel who indulge in self censorship- like sirasa which beeps when the Rajapakse name is mentioned.

    3.Govt servants who fear they will be transferred if they do not toe the Govt line

    4.Customs officers who detect narcotics brought in by stooges of MR

    • 6
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      .
      Who is MaRa afraid of?……Gota

      :-)

      • 3
        0

        aratai

        “Who is MaRa afraid of?”

        His own shadow.

  • 3
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    Dear Mali-malli,

    Subtle piece aimed at propagating the idea that MR is still popular. The point that Sarath Silva is making is that it is virtually impossible to defeat the incumbent under the our constitution. Even under the US constitution, where PResidential powers are significantly less, Presidents usually win their second term. In Sri Lanka NO President has lost a second term. This has less to do with popularity than with the power the incumbent has to control the outcome of the election. Of course the opposition is scared of the PRESIDENT recontesting ad-infinitum but not of Mahinda Rajapakse.

    S

  • 2
    0

    Who is afraid of Mahinda Rajapaks?

    Mostly Ministers including Vasu, Tissa and Dew and others on the gravy train!

  • 4
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    This is the best indication that Rajapaksa stooges are in a real fright that their lord and master will loose. Malinda is reassuring himself that MR will somehow win. In reality, if the opposition is united and can come up with a methodical campaign, Rajapaksa can be defeated easily.

  • 5
    0

    “Who is afraid of MR?”

    Barack Obey Amma ?

  • 1
    0

    Malinda the [Edited out], once again worried

  • 2
    0

    Malinda you dumbhead. Your piece should have been title “Whos afraid of Gota” MR may have a sinister smile. But he has no White Vans.

    • 0
      0

      Hi, Malinda would never be like ready to call a spade a spade. That is written in his blood. We all know these guys enjoy their perks being bound to the regime – would do anything to please Rajaakshes.. That my child in his early teenage grasphs but not many even if their are over 30ties.

  • 3
    0

    This kind of CHATRU writers are not worth to compare toilet pit worms.

    Mother lanka would never nominate them for future prices but Rajapakshes becasue writers kind of journalism strenghtens the wrong attitudes of poor folks that have been caught by Rajapakshe illfull machineries to this day.

    I hail Thisaranee G and few others are noble and risk their lives from the Rajapakshe Sharks while MS and the like would further make every efforts to stay close to Raja, WHILE so called DJ of the jokey nation would even go further.. is he offered a plate of Rajapakshe asuchi ( kakka), DJ would go on eating it out … with yami yami feelings. I wonder the man to stay bit benumb these days.. else DJ of the disco joeky nnation would bring a set of article to shape up the Rajapakshe admin… born kakka eaters of this grade are a curse to mother lanka. is the plan truth

  • 1
    0

    Who is afraid of Mahinda or

    Who is not afraid of Mahinda …every one is afraid of Mahinda ,,,

  • 0
    0

    Nice work by Malinda definitely not a stooge of the Rajapakses.

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