16 October, 2019

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Why Ranil Or Karu Might Not Be The Best In Defeating Gotabaya?

By Laksiri Fernando –

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

When people vote they do it on the basis of multitude of factors. These factors also might differ from parliamentary election to presidential election, or any other election. In the case of a presidential election, the candidate and his/her profile becomes crucially important among other factors. At any election, a voter first considers almost by instinct his or her interests. They are largely economic and then to a great extent ethnic, religious, class, caste or even local interests. In the case of minorities, ethnic or religious interests become prominent particularly in the present context of Sri Lanka.  

On political or electoral matters, people build their own party affiliations or support in the long run, but they also can change under certain circumstances. The present SLFP crisis is the best example. In a maturing democracy, depending on education, economic status and availability of information, voters become increasingly independent. If the first category can be called party voters, the second category is the ‘floating voters.’ This second category at the moment can be considered 20 to 25 percent or even more. There are also new voters who might not have decided yet, even whether to vote or not. 

What would the voters consider most before voting particularly at a presidential election? (1) The candidate and his/her profile, and the past and (2) the policies and promises put forward by the candidate. There are events influencing, such as the Ester terror attacks. Then security becomes an issue, and that should be addressed through policies and promises. Of course the party/organizations that back a candidate also become important. None of these happen in abstract or in a vacuum, but within the existing conditions. Therefore, if a candidate is from the existing government, and that government has not performed well, that undoubtedly goes against that candidate. 

Present Challenge 

It would have been better if the forthcoming presidential election could have been considered as a ‘matter of fact’ or just part of democratic competition between political parties and personalities. It is still not good to exaggerate or picture a catastrophe, if the opposition candidate, Gotabaya Rajapaksa wins (except in the case of an election campaign!). It is not possible for anyone to become a ‘Hitler’ under the present circumstances, as the democratic foundations are fairly firm in the country. Whatever the weaknesses and defects, people should think positively, and negative thinking is not good for democratic sustainability. 

However, if GR wins, there can be several reversals to democratic progress, and even the economy might be arbitrarily controlled. He is undoubtedly an authoritarian personality. Then all or most of the gains of the 2015 change would be lost. Press and media freedom might be first casualties. His authoritarian rule can be a particular disaster in ethnic and religious relations. 

When all these factors are taken into consideration, defeating GR undoubtedly would be a democratic task. How can this best be done might be the question? 

The 2015 change undoubtedly was a progress, whatever the weaknesses and betrayals. The political system became freer and the government-citizen relations more cordial. The family rule was ended, and that is what now trying to re-emerge due to those weaknesses. The following was what I said within two weeks. 

If there is any overall lesson from the Rajapaksa collapse, that is ‘not to abuse power or position.’ Although this lesson is loud and clear for anyone in politics, it is difficult to believe that they would readily follow, unless strict rules are in place.” (Colombo Telegraph, 21 January 2015).

I was particularly referring to ‘Code of Ethics’ and other measures for Ministers, MP’s and top public servants, preventing corruption and abuse of power. It never came into effect. Most of the weaknesses of the UNF-SLFP coalition government were due to inefficiency, both in the economic and political spheres, apart from trying to emulate ‘family rule’ with a ‘elite rule’ although not that successfully. Therefore the country should not be given any impression that those weaknesses would continue. That is one reason why Ranil Wickremesinghe should not be the common democratic candidate. 

Pros and Cons of Candidates 

At any election, the incumbent government has disadvantages. People always consider whether they themselves are better off than before. The gap that can emerge between people’s expectations and the delivery or achievements under any government can be high. Certain achievements in the sphere of individual freedoms or constitutional change may be dear to certain sections of the middle class. Although the ordinary people are not unmindful of those freedoms or changes, most dear to them are economic, educational, housing and social conditions. 

Given those disadvantages from the government side, it would be unwise to put forward a person who has been very clearly identified with those weaknesses, not to speak of bond scams. The contesting candidate should show a determination for change and not to continue the past weaknesses. RW has been in politics for a very long time. He has exhausted his maximum potential. The new potential is for a young and a dynamic candidate who is willing to work as a team, taking ideas from colleagues, professionals and civil society. There should be a strong economic program with a clear security promise/determination.   

There appears some other moves to put forward Karu Jayasuriya as the common democratic candidate (finally!) to abolish the executive presidential system (and then go home!). KJ is undoubtedly an untainted person, but simply too old and too exhausted. He should have been good at the last 2015 elections and that is what some suggested then. Other than that, the single issue of abolition of the presidential system might be a good recipe for democratic defeat this time. Jahan Perera (Colombo Telegraph, 16 September 2019) has clearly investigated this matter carefully. He has said very clearly that ‘Abolishing Executive Presidency is not a Viable Electoral Strategy.’ Although I usually don’t agree with him, his common sense and intelligence on this matter are highly appreciated. 

Undoubtedly, Sajith Peremadasa also has some disadvantages as a common democratic candidate. Particularly on the national question he should listen more to the minority communities. However, his cautious policies without giving false promises might be better for the minority communities than what a person like RW promises but not deliver.       

What Could Constitute a Winning Program? 

A winning program should be positive, and not negative. A winning candidate should go beyond a single issue, but with a clear focus. Too many issues or ‘grand vision’ also can dilute attention and confuse the voters. This is mainly what happened to the Australian Labor Party in the federal election in May 2019 that they lost. GR already has this disadvantage with his flawed ‘grand vision.’   

Even though the abolition issue was a positive slogan in 2015, it is no longer the case today. Under the present circumstances, defeating the opposition candidate is difficult given the poor performance of the government. That has to be admitted. Only possibility might be to effect a change within the existing, with a new dynamic face and with a new and a positive program. Some of the program pointers could be the following. 

(1) To eliminate inefficiency, corruption and waste and revamp the economy. 

(2) To deliver public services to the poor and the needy. 

(3) To encourage the private sector and promise not to nationalize. 

(4) To ensure peace in the country both through security and national harmony. 

(5) To soon change the electoral system and give people a responsible MP for an electorate. 

(6) To encourage youth and women for gainful employment and enterprises, irrespective of ethnicity and religion or any other distinction. 

(7) To ensure and implement rule of law to all from top to bottom. 

A common democratic candidate also could counter GR’s manifesto and ask the people: 

(1) Do you need a family rule again? 

(2) Do you really need a military man for security?? 

(3) Do you need to risk democracy and freedoms (speech and media) in the country? 

(4) Do you need nationalizations or arbitrary takeover of property and land by the state?

(5) Do you need conflicts on ethnic and religious lines in the country again?  

(6) Do you need control over your professional, academic and business life and serve a ruler? 

(7) Do you need the suppression of trade unions and free associations in the name of discipline?      

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Latest comments

  • 13
    19

    Only Sajith has grassroots support. Karu would be annihilated.

    • 10
      9

      No one can beat Gota. End of story.

    • 7
      6

      This abusive man from down under would do anything to protect Rajakashes. We are not reborn the manner this WP, BP, sang housanna in terms of that FAKE govt which brought against the constitution by the caricature, uneducated president Sirisena. There, LF had all temerity to come and say, it was right. It is all because the former cancder patient, thought, if he would give his support to BP led Pohottuwa, he would be praised. I wonder what happened lanken so called scholars.
      I may have praised this man, just not knowing his real nature, but today, I would spit on his face, if I would see, him in Australia or Europe. I have no fears to do so, because i only stand by for the public, that have now been misled by rajapakshe rascals.
      For me, if Rajakshes would hav ebeen beheaded in an open ceremony, my angers for all crimes they deliberately committed coule end easily.
      Not seeing not the least is happening in that regard, makes me angry. That BP sitting in Russia, I mean other self proclaimed, nation#s political analyst, may be rabblerousing to do the next in order ot bring BP Rajakshes back to power.
      Looking back, what remains is the hate against our sinhala leaders.
      I respect Mr Wickramsinghe for his nature, being that decent, not being comparable to MR, GR, SP or others…
      I respect, Karu J for his wisdom displayed during that BRUTAL 52 day crisis.
      I respect all that respect DEMOCRACY and dignified values, but never respect LP or DJ for their blunders done to this nation.

    • 7
      4

      Karu and his part in standing up to CoupeLk is more that enough to win the Elections. He will get all the crucial voter blocks that Sajith will never get…

      Sajith opened his mouth and displayed that he is a literate fool.

    • 2
      0

      Can moda Baba win?
      Certified fools think that out of context.
      Sorry guys for you all in pathetic situation.

    • 4
      0

      Dr. Laksiri Fernando,

      If the UNP wants to beat Gota, they have to bring Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka,

      Do the UNP morons, mean IQ 79 understand that? They all seem to be drowned in their own egos. They have no common sense. or statistical sense.

  • 22
    14

    I know well you are MR family man. but, people like you do not care about they have damaged Sri lankan economy, Sri Lankan reputation, and Sri Lankan future. Consider all the projects they have done .. many are failures. Sri Lankan become a colony of China.. that is what happened non-Civil servant take decision. when ineptitude politicians take decision. I do not like Ranil too, but MR family has done some big mistake. some political blunders.. how long people will tolerate them. VOTE JVP to see a difference taste of politics

    • 5
      3

      Who on earth with a Prof. Title would propose HIGH CRIMINALs of Rajapakshee be awarded with Dr Titles ?
      That is only the kind of Scholars of LF nature, THERE you dont need to consider them to have own basic degrees right ?
      These are the steps that destroyed the recognition maintained by lanken education system.
      Rascals, promote self-aggrandizement and feudism for their political survivial, should be cornered in any fair society, but idiots dominated srilanka that will remain a dream.
      I have no dobut, if this man in early 70ties remained in SL, would have been stoned, for one reason, he has betrayed his academic titles int he process of false propaganda to Rajapkshe murderers.

      • 2
        1

        So long they have the SINHALA gene, they remain ultra corrupted:
        :
        This bp LF is a joker to my eye today. I respected him that much at the begining but him to have fallen on the underwear of Rajakashes is beyond my bearing.
        I never wish this bugger LF a good recovery. I feel he has betrayed us.
        See, even if you have dr titles, if you are corrupted minded, by your nature, you cant help letting do so.
        That is what this BP LF shows us today.

    • 5
      4

      Yes, they won the war and brought stability. Gratitude is a great virtue….

  • 20
    5

    Listen to this fool speak like a political mastermind. Laksiri, the defender of unconstitutional coups and licker of would be dictators rear ends.

  • 11
    0

    these precepts are good for the middle classes
    the thinking of the masses are quite different and it is they who will decide

  • 8
    10

    Quite logically argued. A balanced presentation. Thanks Dr.Laksiri Fernando.

  • 6
    8

    Unbalance that leadership of UNP’s including Karuratahan Jaysooriya in all members has delivered nothing except Corruptions, Chaos, politics of New Terrorism of Islam by 21/4 . Needless to say that an uncertainties covered an overall country-wide and bankruptcies of Economies are key features of govt of installed by Ranil Wicks that 2015 Jan 8th. By and large that was puppet-rulers was an installed of USA form of regime change …. of that “Democracies” of Washington consensus directed by USA State Department ! by $$$..
    UNP regime of three in-one of combination of that MS of President CBK and RW key figures are that rule of ‘good governance’.
    Its that a democrat rule by UNP of RW that whom a person was advocated by Western -oriented elites of that orthodoxies forces by extreme-right -win outlets .
    Indeed very inceptions that rulers of UNP of 15/1/8 have been discard Traditional norms of democracy rule of governance.
    They are unwilling to accepted norms of Democratic pattern of governance participates and exists since 1948 February 4th.
    Under MS that led regime and CBK of SLFP politics has shifted minority become Rule of Governance by upside down by Wickrasinaghe of Ranil of that feudal clan…UNP!
    The political -Sad story of 15/1/8, which that we as nation NOT only lost democracy Right to there , as well as disappear of an enjoy of Economic development instead of that we won that most bankruptcies country South Asian region.
    Having replace of Democrat stability, being that target by Islam terrorist in South Asia. We are turn into Center of Terrorism of Islam on that tip of Indian Republic
    Again Terrorism become ugly head an Island by result of that regain politics of UNP of last 4 years and half?

  • 11
    3

    2015 is a Progress…Hmmmmm

    Economic Growth dragged down to bleow 3% from 6% Plus.

    National Debt increased to to 87 % from 78% . All for consumption and rejigging the existing Loans to benefit t the UNP Friends and collect extar Santhosams.

    Wiping out totally the Armed Forces contribution to the Economy like closing down the magnificent Accommodation in China Bay Golf Course and many other Tourist facilities.

    Stopping all Infrastructure Work because no Commissions can be arranged.

    Handing out valuable Public Lands to mates who arranged Bogus Business and Industial Projects.

    Allow devastating attack on the catholic Church.

    Making the Polikkas in Kotte multi Multi Millonairs by allowing them to sell their Car permits for LKR 34 Million each.

    Paying LKR 26 million a Month a for a Building for 4and 1/2 years which is not even completed to house a Ministry which already had its own premises.

    Destroying the post Nanthikadal Peace and Harmony and allowing the Pathlaaya to raise its ugly head again driving the fear into the innocent inhabitants..

    Body and bag searches even when you go to a Church
    -.
    If this is Progress , God ,please help us..

  • 12
    5

    Yahapalanaya wasn’t a government. It was a project and this project’s main aims were,

    1) Abolish executive presidency so minority political parties can control the executive at the parliament level
    2) Bring on a federal constitution with a unitary label. The label does not matter as long as TNA can go to a referendum to separate 25 years later.
    3) Completely destroy the local enterprises and make the economy more dependent on imports
    4) Give back the land buying rights to foreigners which were banned under MR government

    This was roughly what the British government did to Palestine before establishing Israel.

    The risk with Sajith is he might go back on these objectives. That is why the foreign elements and civil society movement have to go with Karu, although it is obvious that Sajith has the support at the grass root level.

  • 7
    5

    Ranil as the presidential candidate is blank cheque for Gota’s landslide. Heis aman of commissions and committees without any outcome or follow up. Sajith is an untested leader, may end-up like his father as a common man’s president. JVP’s Dissanakye is also an untested leader, but he doesn’t possess any ministerial experience to handle the public service servants who are backbone of administrative set-up. Is defence a priority issue in the country now?, I dont think so. It is a cooked-up hype story by MR crowd to portray Gota as a formidable defense person. If defence is really an issue then Sarath Fonseka is the better than Gota. Wiping out corruption, nepotism, and economic development should be considered as priority issues, so who is best to handle these? Neither Gota or Ranil or Sarath, then we are left with Sajith and Dissanayake.

    • 0
      8

      I would bet on AD.He could run the country with the backing of the masses and the honest hard working private sector,just as in China, emerging world economic power.

  • 9
    2

    Mr Laksiri Fernando

    Why isn’t abolishing the presidency no longer an issue? After the bungling tenure of Sirisena, I would have thought it was blatantly now clear that the Presidential system is not working & is a waste of public funds, considering the fact that it reduced to a ceremonial role.

    We are all aware & expect the leadership of the country to eliminate inefficiency, corruption and waste, revamp the economy, deliver public services to the poor and the needy, etc. etc. but who in the current race can be expected to deliver all that? Gota’s track record says a lot about his capability but certainly not what you have stated in your ‘pointers’. Premadasa jnr has so far amply displayed his stupidity with no strategy to implement your ‘pointers’ of good governance either & the only possibly viable candidate from a mainstream party is untested AKD but considering the violent past of the JVP which AKD has yet to admit & apologise for, I have not much faith in his integrity either. Karu J may be old but he is currently the man of the hour who can be expected to, at least, keep his promise, that of abolishing the ceremonial Presidency the country can ill afford. It may not be the best solution but at least a starting point in eliminating waste & inefficiency.

    • 2
      2

      The bungling tenure of the president is nothing compared to the bank-ro bbing tenure of the Prime minsiter. Shouldn’t we conclude that we MUST reduce the power of the prime minster and distribute it more widely?

  • 6
    6

    I totally agree with Lankan’s comment above. Another unsuccessful attempt to white wash the ‘Jarapassa’ toilet which stinks from top to bottom. Where did you get your doctorate from. You you are either insane or ‘Permanantly Head Damaged’ (Phd.) ?

  • 6
    2

    “On 25 April 2019, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe revealed that the government had known of the Sri Lankan nationals who had joined Islamic State and returned to the country — but they couldn’t be arrested, because joining a foreign terrorist organisation is not against the law.” Here we can clearly see the difference between Ranil and Gotabaya. Gotabaya would have circumvented the law to arrest the terror suspects. Ranil chose to go on a foreign jaunt, while knowing full well a terror network was breeding in the country. I am not sure what Karu would have done. The author’s points (1-7) and (1-7) are well-stated, but the real question of character comes down to how does a politician handle a fuzzy situation. Even if he/she is 100% untainted with little affinity for corruption, the country’s well-being depends on the government being able to protect the life and liberty of its citizens.

  • 9
    4

    This is what the average villager thinks about the presidential election, parties and their candidates.
    Pohottuwa has strong leadership (MR is the leader and people love him unconditionally)! Gota was chosen by MR and he is a no-nonsense doer and the majority Sri Lankans believe that the country needs a person like him to give a wake up call to the lethargic government sector. His wake up call will equally awaken the private sector which has been turned to a limping beggar by the current Yahapalana government.
    Gota is not only a proven professional but an excellent manager who can make others work! His track record on national security and urban development can not be challenged by all the possible prez candidates put together.
    On the contrary, the UNP has still failed to nominate a candidate, that’s seen as a direct political disaster by the public; the party’s current infighting is a clear reminder to the general public as to how a UNP led government is going to continue to fight without doing anything to the country and people; the poor will continue to suffer and the party will continue to be embroiled in a politically selfish tug of war. When the parents (father and mother) constantly fight, and at each other’s throat day and night like Ranil and Sajith do today , what will happen to the kids (the poor people in Sri Lanka)? This is the very practical question they ask about the UNP’s infighting today.
    JVP’s AKD has no plan yet but even if they had, the villagers don’t trust these young fellows due to their past foolhardy killings and destruction.
    Maithree is a spent force with 0 value now. His most recent stupid comment on the alleged disappearance of Rs 2 billion from the Lotus tower project is likely to boomerang! If the Chinese government along with Pohottuwa reveal the true story, President Sirisena may even have to apologize to the Chinese government.

  • 4
    0

    Does the writer really want GR to lose?

  • 5
    4

    Main issue face by the people is high cost of living can Gota deliver this no way we need to bring more FDI into the country can Gota do this no , we need a politician to be our next president Gota is not ,we don’t want to loose our freedom can we trust Gota no compare work done by champika and Gota same ministry’s Gota is far behind
    Then why Gota Gota Gota are we mad

  • 3
    2

    MR/GR strategy needs GR to be in the media for good or bad reasons.
    Laksiri Fernando’s speculation as to {“Why Ranil Or Karu Might Not Be The Best In Defeating Gotabaya?”} does exactly that.
    We do not know whether GR holds dual citizenship or not.

  • 0
    0

    “Too many issues and “Grand Vision ” can confuse the voters”. This is an excellent observation which should should draw the attention of GR supporters. I was wondering as to why SP was mainly concentrating on housing for the poor, social equality and school uniforms for children etc., while carefully avoiding getting entangled on complex economic and national question issues. He seem to have grasped the author’s idea quite well.

  • 2
    2

    Sajith, Karu, or Ranil is immaterial – if UNP comes to power again their first priority will be abolishion of Executive Presidency and this must be prevented at all costs.
    .
    In 2015 it was a massive deception. It was a political coup. People were led to believe that we would go back to the pure Westminster model as existed before. It was later revealed that the intentions of abolishing was to create an Executive Primeminister in Ranil Wickramasinghe which would have definitely happened if not several clauses in the 19A were not blocked by the Supreme Court. Objective of this abolishion exercise is to break up the Sri Lankan state into federal blocks by removing presidential oversight over provincial councils. With all the idiocyncracies of Sirisenaa we wouldn’t have been aware of the magnitude and extent of massive financial frauds like the bond scam and wholesale trading of national assets would have proceeded unabated. If not for the 52 day drama by now we would have gone some irreversible distance in that direction.
    .
    SINHALESE MUST REALISE THAT MASSIVE FORCES ARE MOVING UNDERGROUND TOWARDS ULTIMATE BREAKUP OF THE SRI LANKAN STATE. WHY SHOULD WE PREVENT IT AT ANY COST? BECAUSE THAT IS THE BEGINNING OF THE ULTIMATE BLOODSHED.
    .
    AT THIS STAGE WE MUST RETAIN THE EXECUTIVE PRESIDENCY SELECTED DIRECTLY BY THE MAJORITY.
    The obvious choice should be the one who would prevent this calamity.

    Soma
    (UNP counts on en bloc minority voting whose leaders are handling them like cattle. Muslims must ask themselves can they afford to antagonize the majority of the majority by aligning with minority of majority.)

  • 0
    1

    AN ADVICE TO ALL ARTICLE WRITERS AND COMMENTATORS:
    Avoid saying ” people want this / people want that / people are of this opinion / people are of that opinion which is such an idiotic statement. Always try to give an approximate ‘percentage’ of ‘people’ intended. Say 100% of people, 90% of people, 70% of people 50% of people, 30% of people, 10% of people or any other approximate percentage of people in your judgement. You can give the exact figure if the source of measured statistics is available to you.
    Thanks

    Soma

    • 1
      0

      Can you give the percentage of people who hold your view that everything should be given as a percentage?

      What is the use of a percentage without knowing the standard deviation?

      What is the use of a standard deviation if the distribution happens to be bimodal or non-Gaussian?

      And so on …..

      • 0
        0

        WDC
        I have given the first lesson. Now you take over.

        Soma

  • 1
    2

    Voting Gota is like Jews voting the Hitler and the ordinary Germans voting en mass to elect Hitler. End of the day, he ruined German identity and devided the nation. Gota has an advantage: He can refuge in the US whih the Hitler couldn’t.

  • 2
    0

    //Then all or most of the gains of the 2015 change would be lost. // Dr. Laksiri, do you think we do have “gains” after 2015 except anarchy, economic backwardness, least national security, ethnic tension, corruption, tug of war between the executive and the legislature etc., etc.? Guess you do know the fate of the so called “independent commissions” with latest exposure by none other than the solicitor general Dilrukshi. Better do not mislead readers with non-existence things. Generally people – except the hardcore UNPers, JVPers, TNAers, Bathiudeens, Hakeems, Manos, Champakas, LTTE sympathizers, Drug lords, NGOs, Western powers etc., – want to throw this stupid govt to the streets asap and bring in GR for a decent, abide-by-law and economically sound tomorrow for all Sri Lankans.

  • 0
    3

    Perhaps, the writer has overestimated Gotabhaya”s potentials and capabilities. Gotabhaya is the most unscrupulous politician ever to contest the position of a Sri Lankan Head of State. Very unfortunate indeed. He has the support of persons like Karuna and other unscrupulous persons from both among the Sinhala people and the Tamils. Let us hope for the best. Bensen

  • 1
    1

    Sajith can easily beat Gotabaya is inexperience useless ruthless dictator compare Gota with Sajith where is Gota nowhere .

  • 0
    0

    One and only reason for the do or die attitude of the present Govt. and the opposition is their mortal fear of facing the law and subsequent fate which they want to avoid at any cost, which can lead to even the massacre of innocents. We have seen that policy of sheer impunity enjoyed not only by the then President but also by the cohorts of that regime. Up to date none of those dastardly crimes have been investigated and due punishments meted out to the criminals by the present Govt. The president and Prime Minister together with their acolytes will face greater retribution for their wilful dereliction of their sublime duty. Remember the grieving families are unceasingly crying to heaven for vengeance, and the present state of affairs in the country are only warning signs. All people of good will leaving their political affiliations aside should come to the fore to avert the impending disaster hatched by these selfish, corrupt, politicians who do not seem to have even an atom of love and gratitude to our country. Most of their families we can be sure are making arrangements to say good bye to SL. in an eventuality.

  • 0
    0

    My Dear Alls! Let we vote for JVP for a change.

  • 1
    0

    This presidential election is a test for Sinhalese. The international community is looking carefully to see the outcome of this election. The country’s future depends on this election results. Buddhist Sinhala hard core extremists definitely wants Rajapaksa to win. Rajapaksa family will take revenge on all political enemies and minorities (Muslims and Tamils) and this will create bloodbath and uncertainty. Srilanka has a history of violence for at least every decade and all this depends on how far Sinhala Buddhist Fundamentalism extended it voting power.

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