24 September, 2018

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Why Vote At The Next Presidential & Parliamentary Elections?

By Raj Gonsalkorale –

Raj Gonsalkorale

If voters vote at the next election, they could be electing a President who cannot lead, and could be electing one political combine or the other and the country will have the same set of politicians and the same system that elects them. Voters therefore will have to decide whether they wish to continue with this charade, and if they do decide to vote, then, they too will be part of this charade.  

The known Devil is better than the unknown idiots seems to be the prevailing view amongst many voters in Sri Lanka today. The government of the day is taken as some kind of puppet show with unseen puppeteers, both from within and without manipulating the puppets in Sri Jayewardenepura.

Some politicians who were labelled as corrupt, anti-democratic and dangerous, and the power behind White vans, although none of these accusations are yet to be proven, are ascendant again, while those who promised to rid the country of this unsavoriness, now stand accused of the very same misdemeanours they accused their predecessors. While there was no one single misdemeanour to define the status of the earlier administration, the yet unsolved Bond Scam stands as the flag bearer of misdemeanours of the current regime.

At least the previous regime was a functional one, although some argue, with the use of authoritarian means, to keep it functional. There was a leader who ruled. On the other hand they say the current regime is dysfunctional, leaderless and rudderless. 

Besides the major parties, with the UNP working behind the scenes to find a new leader and divisions patched together thanks to the absolute disarray in the SLFP, the new political combine, the SLPP or the “Pohottuwa” as it’s commonly known, bloomed during the local government elections and it’s been blooming even more since. If it does take the Presidency and the government at the next elections, and many voters including even a segment of hard core UNP voters, believe they will, the country will be back with a regime with all its positives, but all its warts as well.

What does the average voter think of all this? Hobson’s choice? Who is the best of the bad lot? Shame, credibility, morality are no longer virtues in the country’s value system.

If voters vote at the next election, they could be electing a President who cannot lead, and could be electing one political combine or the other and the country will have the same set of self-serving politicians and the same broken system that elects them. Voters therefore will have to decide whether they wish to continue with this charade, and if they do decide to vote, then, they too will be part of this charade.  

The Puppet show at Sri Jayewardenepura is not by inanimate Puppets. Many say they are Monkeys in Puppet gear, with Olympic level abilities to jump to any side that offers them the best deal. Elections cost a lot of money. In the past, politicians spent most of their wealth to fight at elections with hardly a return on their investments in monetary terms, if getting elected could be called an investment.  Their ROI was their ability to serve the country in framing policies. Today, elections are mostly about the going price for Monkey puppeteers showing a very ready willingness to jump at the right price. Their ROI is purely in monetary terms, for themselves.

What of the government, the current one and the past ones in recent times? Do they deliver on what tax payers in Sri Lanka and elsewhere pays them? They are funded by tax payers of one country or another as even aid and grants that are given are funds diverted from tax payers in other countries.

Some argue that the previous government invested heavily on infrastructure including in agricultural infrastructure as these areas had been badly neglected for more than three decades. There are genuine detractors and opportunistic political detractors who argue that other priorities should have been addressed first.

What of the succeeding regime? The prevailing view seems to be that they have only either laid “mul gal” to projects that were already in the planning boards of the previous regime, or they declared open projects already underway when the previous regime lost power.

Both sides accuse each other of how much they lined their pockets and how they manipulated processes to give some kind of legitimacy to fraudulent decisions involving vast sums of money.

The list of alleged misdemeanours is endless.

In this climate, what good will it do to change the current Puppet show and bring back the earlier one? If processes can be manipulated, isn’t time to look at the political system that produces these processes?

What Sri Lanka needs is very likely a non-violent revolution that will be like a broom that sweeps away the puppets and the puppeteers.

When one mentions a revolution, there is always the tendency to look at it from the prism of violence or the prisms of historical, socialist revolutions. All these have failed, so why repeat mistakes?

Sri Lanka needs a different revolution to hand the country back to its people and take it away from self-serving politicians. What is needed is a revolution that rejects the status quo, both in terms of the governance model, and how representatives are elected to be part of this governance model. 

Bringing about this change however cannot be entrusted to persons who are elected through the current system, as they will not introduce any change that disadvantages them. 

In this context, the first step that is proposed is for a mass campaign to ask voters not to vote at the next Presidential and Parliamentary elections. If such a boycott could reduce the voter turn out say to a paltry 10% or less of the number of registered voters, it will be a revolution that is non-violent and without precedent anywhere else in the world. Such a low turnout in a country that records an average turn out in excess of 70% will be a referendum on the current political system and on those within the system. It will signify without any ambiguity that voters have rejected the system and what it produces.

The writer does not wish to offer proposals as to how one could proceed after an outcome as noted above as it is felt that the people by whatever means available should now start a discussion as to what steps should follow once the current system and people within it are rejected by the people.

One hopes that civil society and community organisations, religious organisations and people themselves individually and collectively, will commence discussions so that a clear picture will emerge as to what kind of system should replace the current system, and what calibre of people should be elected by people to the new system before the next set of elections. The next set of elections has to be a clash of ideas. It should be referendum on whether the country wishes to continue with the status quo or whether it wants a different system that brings back some honour to the task of governance. 

Although the suggested methodology to bring about change may appear long winded, expensive and possibly fraught with some dangers, so far, no other suggestion has been forthcoming as to how the rot that has set in could be expunged and prevented from ruining whatever that is left of our values, our credibility and our morality.

If no one acts, then the conclusion one can draw is that no one really cares what system the country has and what calibre of people we elect to this broken system. We then must live with what we have chosen and the consequences that follow.

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Latest comments

  • 4
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    I would never again vote for any election.. I’ve had enough of this.. We Sri Lankans too are people with pride and a sense of shame, so by electing clowns and jokers we ourselves portray our country as joke in front of the world.. Finally, a warm goodbye to all the upcoming polling booths..

    • 0
      3

      Discipline Master,

      Thank you very much. Sri Lanka could do with out dimwits like you.

  • 4
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    Must vote, but with clear mind. If you don’t vote, for sure the populists will win. Present and previous governments are/were not good. We need a change. A third force should come up, but must come soon.

  • 4
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    Indeed the voters of SL have a dilemma in their hands. Do we vote for the best out of a bad lot or not vote at all. I am sure if we boycott the elections, the seasoned politicians, whether in power or not, will find a way to fill those ballot boxes. The worst case scenario would be a President & PM from opposing parties, each filling the national list with their cronies to consolidate power & pulling in different directions, a repeat of the status quo. On the other hand, a President & a PM from the same party would give them unlimited power, pretty much a ‘democratically’ elected dictatorship, disastrous in the wrong hands, as we have seen in the past. Whatever the outcome at the elections, the future is certainly not bright for SL.

    In my humble opinion, we need new politically inexperienced but educated people with integrity in Parliament. When Macron was elected, he did not even have a political party behind him & Trump did not come up through the political ranks either, yet the average people voted these political novices because they were tired of the mainstream politicians. So far Macron has performed brilliantly & arguably, despite his unorthodox Presidential style, Trump’s appeal to middle America has not diminished either, although, in his case, the jury is still out. So Is there a Macron in SL? If so, please step forward.

    • 3
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      if there are any Macrons in SL ….they wont step forward…..they know they will be consumed by the corrupt establishment, the Sangha, the army etc.

      The above three is intertwined, this toxic combination is consuming the country.

      • 0
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        How many SL Macrons you are looking for? Didn’t you get happy with the one already Sampanthar, Chandrika and Matulawe Sobitha Thero brought in? Need more? Wow!

        • 0
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          Mallaiyuran.

          For your information, Macron is a political novice & had no backing from mainstream political parties in France.

  • 4
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    “Why Vote At The Next Presidential & Parliamentary Elections?” – To respect and maintain our tradition; to go from bad to worse. What miracle do you expect when the choice is going to be either from UNP/UNP supported or just another branch of UPFA. And the same set of people going to caste their votes.

  • 5
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    MR had lots of issues, corruption, nepotism, surrounded by bad guys, alleged other HR violation cases. So people hated him. Now we have Prez and PM with slightly better corruption profile without HR violations but still trying to settle down on their positions after 3 years, and still trying to get along with each other. Are we satisfied? Don’t we still think MR is better at times? We need an energetic (as energetic as MR but without ugly side) and bold leader who anchors their decisions in what is right for the people – Bring down on RP?

  • 4
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    Gonsalkaralas are known Rajapaksa worshipers, be careful!

  • 0
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    The best option is not voting to any one. but, that is not working. Even at present voter turnout is maximum about 60%. country should not wait until they modify the constitution in order to correct where they changed for the betterment of Politician’s live. SO, there should be a movement who should ask tha PRime minister to be an individual elected by the people. PResidency should be abolished. PResident and the PResident’s funds are white elephants. A People elected PM would be directly answerable to the people and then, even the number of terma PM can contest may be canclled. IF the individual is good likeable for people, PM contender can be come from any party. so, the block vote monopoly will subside. PM should be allowed to select his cabinet from any party who are capable. IF NOT WE ARE RECYACLING THE SAME LOT OF fraudsters WHO IS WAITING FOR THEIR OPPORTUNITY TO STEAL. Corruptions can nobe stopped. Foreign govts, multinational companeis, Sri lankan businesses all are part of the scandle. SLBC, TV net works should give free times to each candidate in order to present their plan for the country..

  • 2
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    Presidents who came (Chandrika, Mahinda, even Sirisena) after JR Jeyawardena promised the people to get rid of the presidencial system but they never did it. All Prime Ministers and Presidents who came to power promised to find a solution to the ethnic problems but they never did it. They all also promised to bring this nation as paradise but they never did it. They all promised to eliminate corruption but they encouraged and fully involved with corruption. But still people continue to elect and select them to govern us because they all know how to cheat us and threat us if we go against them. If we decide to not to vote, they will tell us, it is an idea to give the country to minorities. Then every one will think oh Sampanthan will become President and kill us. Come on all vote for our saviour! We can’t think more than that. This is the reality.

  • 1
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    Raj Gonsalkorale points out that we, the silent majority have got cornered into a Hobson’s choice of having to select between two baddies.
    Raj expects the voters to be sophisticated – something absent in the whole world. Remember Donald Idi Amin not only got elected but has substantial following left!
    .
    Raj says ~ “……At least the previous regime was a functional one, although some argue, with the use of authoritarian means, to keep it functional. There was a leader who ruled…….”.
    Raj may not attest this chinthanaya but many do. This respectifies corruption/nepotism/impunity.
    SLPP, a party without a past, an office or a leader, ONLY used the language/religion-divide to prove that this divide to be a winner.
    We are back to Square One.
    The silver lining is the realisation that seventy years of life in Square One is no longer joyful.
    .
    Raj wants us to our protest through voter boycott. Not without setting a minimum percentage voting to render an election valid.

  • 3
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    Gonsalkaralas live in Sydney, I know them very well. Laura is right they are die hard Rajapakse fans., and leftists. But there is nothing to be careful of.

  • 1
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    I am fed up with our so-called democracy. I saw the article early, responding now with nine comments displayed.
    .
    I’m surprised at some options not featuring at all.
    .
    Another question: what are we most fed up with? Corruption, surely – tops the list.

    .
    There are three major communities in the island – one much larger than the other two. Each of us wants our community’s interest safeguarded.
    .
    Author Raj Gonsalkorale advocates boycotting to reduce the usual turn out percentage in the sixties reduced to ten. This will never happen. Not worth arguing.
    .
    I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned this possibility: At Presidential Elections, three PREFERENCES can be indicated. You want to protest, but have somebody from your community winning. So, give him your THIRD preference, but your FIRST and SECOND for people you consider honest. Honest people are no-hopers, so ignore the candidates community and gender.
    .
    Vote this way, at least your FIRST PREFERENCE gets counted. Do anything else, and it’ll be concluded that you are dis-satisfied with your society, not with the major candidates on offer.
    .
    Will continue . . .

  • 2
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    Continuing:
    .
    There is one declared candidate whose platform is battling corruption, and not much else: Nagananda Kodituwakku. Why is it that his name is hardly mentioned by other groups? I think it unlikely that he will win, but I have seen no suggestion that he’s not what he claims to be. Anyone claiming that he too is a crook?
    .
    At the moment the problem with his campaign is that it is one track. His chief campaigner, Suganthiga Fernando, is bold but lacks poise. Why doesn’t somebody volunteer to polish those performances, send more concise messages on Facebook, in Sinhala and Tamil. Forget English; the handful of us who habitually use English don’t matter – and don’t worry, we will all get the message and act on it, – except, of course, those who are SECRETLY (always so!) benefitting from corruption.
    .
    I’ve seen it claimed that villagers don’t use Facebook. I have an FB account, hardly ever use it – true; but I’m old. I live in a village, and I’m poor. There’s electricity in 90% of households, although I expect power cuts soon. But most youngsters in those families: first purchase today – a smart phone. Phone companies are competing now to give connections, and charging these phones requires little current, and for a few hours.
    .
    Culture may be getting debased, but this is how elections will be decided from now on.
    .
    Get realistic.

  • 0
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    At present, the opnly choices are Rajapakses, Ranil and who ever he present because Ranil knows he can not win, and Maithripala. all three groups and the left politicians are used to get money from businesses and interested groups. 221 are silent and four politicians talked about the money they are getting. they all said, it is usual they get money from various businesses and interest groups.
    another problem I heard, these people knpw the taste of under the table money, so they do not allow any one else to come. anothe rpoint is as in some other countries all thes eprominenent politicans are uneducated and they do not capble or educated people to come to the president or PM positions. Even for the cabinet positions they are given the most unsuitqble positions,. the problem is even the middle class voters, particularly writers, are for they themselves. NEwspapers or the media is highly corrupt. they show very well, they like sharks willing to eat any thing for money. For example, sunday leader plays double game. IT is owned by Basil Rajapakse, I heard.

    • 0
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      Jim,
      .
      You have rightly identified the three main sources of influence. Do we want any of them? Not me.
      .
      Why not work constructively to get Nagananda K. elected? Some UNP source has mocked the SLFP saying that that the UNP can come up with non-family family candidates, unlike the JO. Who: Akila Viraj Kariyawasam! Why not Buddhika Pathirana? A friend startled me by saying a good contest would be Pathirana vs Pathirana; the “other” being Dr Ramesh Pathirana from the SLFP – JO wing.
      .
      Why not? Both are Sinhalese from the South, of course. Let’s go for honest people!
      .
      Are YOU willing fro a candidate from a minority group? Most Sinhalese seem intent on destroying the very identities of Tamils and Muslims.

  • 1
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    It is a good idea but unless it achieves maximum result of reducing voter turnout to 10% and below the wrong candidate will walk in by default. How to guarantee the maximum? Do we have a vanguard of youngsters who can canvas this idea? Remember what the LTTE did by boycotting, which brought in Rajapakse. However, the idea is worth exploring.

  • 1
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    Only a Childish dream, the entire essay is. Can one accuse the author for that? Not really, because all are feeling exasperated; no one can blame the addition one willing to join the club. That is for what CT readership membership- Exasperation.
    Tamil Cinema Comedian Chandrabhabu sang ” Buddhi ulla manidhanellam vetri kanbadhillai Vetri petra manidhanellam buddhisaali illai”. (Not all the brights were victorious in life. Neither all won their lives are bright ones). When Ramanathan made his speech in British parliament, their most famous PM Lord of Salisbury Praised him as the “Most accomplished speaker in the whole British Empire” It is same British Parliament ignored his talks completely and gave Universal Franchise to Ceylon. When GG Ponnampalam took 9 hours to explain Soulbury why 50:50 is the only choice for Lankawe’s freedom, the same British parliament handed over the power to Don Stephen, who was boycotting Soulbury Commission. The two bight Tamils’ defeats, after almost 100 years, are now bringing exasperation from many Ceylonese.

    Many believe the Yahapalanaya’s failure is because of the internal fights. They cannot believe, to cheat the entire world, who were sponsoring the Yahapalanaya, the21st century Fox Ranil hired a Pariah Tamil on a one year contract to loot CB and thus turned all the economics theories postulated by all best intelligent Human Brains within the recent centuries, upside down. The Modayas certified Ranil’s anit-world policies as ”Appe Ranil Mathaya really tough on the American and Indians, Neetha?” Even if Buddha comes and try them turn into the right path, the Sinhala Buddhists are not going change from their believing that Ranil knocked the entire world down with one kick. Now they are worrying that Old Royals going to come back because of the two vultures are fighting of whom to get lion share in Parliamentary lootings & who goes to prison for that crime.

  • 1
    0

    Disastrous failure by Yahapalanaya makes many to feel Old Royals going to take over soon. Even Many in CT fearing CT will be closing the shop when Old Royals come back. These are the same people refused to read when we kept writing all in 2014 where things are going to end. We predicted as prime result, that Yahapalanaya will not investigate anybody. Saying “That happened” is only in bottom of the well. To protect the War Criminals, Ranil had to surrender to China even one foot below, where Old Royals surrendered. But even we failed to foresee was Ranil going ahead and bravely kick on the back of the American Ambassador after many of his sequential successes in 2017. Even Ranil didn’t foresee that victory when he was masterminding 19A with his pus and discharge oozing head.

    By repeatedly writing the same bluff, Thero de Silva has reinforced into the heads of CT readers that Old Royals’ coming back is unavoidable. It is remaining as perfect USSR’s time communism brainwashing in the heads of CT readers. None of these brainwashed readers are ready to think a person would be still sane after saying that Thero’s predictions may not work and Old Royals may not come. After all many have done their planning for after Old Royals come back and after they quit CT, what other entertainment they can get indulged in. These guys voting and not voting in an election never will bring a change in a country.
    Thero recently noticed his preaching for Old Royals were going wrong and Maha Viyath club had proposed a Western model of economic plan. Normally he minds to contest anything come out of Old Brother Prince’s compound, but now he feels Old Brother Prince’s coming is zero so he openly attacked Maha Viyath’s proposal with his Cuban Model.

  • 1
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    But why the Maha Viyath went to that (Western Model) somersault? As per the indications in the Thero prophecy, that is what America will like and going that way only it will void the US citizenship. Once the citizenship is voided, Old Brother Prince too can take the path Ranil took to cheat the West, specifically America. He knows that guess is “ABC” for America. One thing is, America has lost Ranil. Further, in the last LG election time, Old King and Younger Brother Prince chased him to America and stopped him participating in LG election. That is the time it is believed he was trying to make deal with America against Old King and Younger Brother Prince. Knowing his intention, Old King met with Chinese ambassador and sent him to China for better deals than America agreed. This caused America to suspect of his motives. As he was the boss when the defense department Media Central Computer went down, he will not easily go against China. So America ended up using its last arrow, that is, it will not void the US citizenship. That is really difficult to overcome without changing the 19A. That is impossible until Ranil in the parliament. So the solution is already suggested by the Joint Comedy Club Chief, the Rapist “Army may Rebel”. We don’t know anything about those, but, “Anything is possible” in this world. Rapist Army probably is the only twig for Old Bother Prince to swim to shore. His division with in his family is wider than the one between the Yahapalanaya partners. Old King has invited Udayanga to come and witness in the MIG case. If Udayanga does that, it alone can chop off Old Brother Prince head. After waiting for years in fear to take over Slap Party from GLP, now Old King wants the leadership to block Old Brother Prince contesting in Slap Party.

  • 0
    0

    Now it is abundantly clear that Old Royal prince is in the Middle of the ocean and his only path possible is to wooing America with laisse fairy economic policy.

    But Today America has put out a larger bombshell and many Tamils are beating on their chest lamenting it is going to be advantageous to Old Royals. After selling Hangbangtota for 200 years in exchange of Chinese veto, Ranil opened up a story through Tilak that next year Lankawe will have pulled out of UNHRC so they need not to go to sign on the Geneva’s police station again. But this year many of his idea has fallen off and this is one within them. Now America has already quit the UNHRC. So next year, (March 2019) America will not be in Geneva to talk about the resolution that it has been trying to push forward from 2012. The OIC at the Geneva police station, Prince Zeid, is too gone. Basically it may sound like Veerakesari’s Vesak present to Old Royals. Whether America is in UNHRC or not, it is always brilliant in showing its fireworks. It did Arab Spring while in UNHRC while others were done when it was out of it. But the counting thing is, America has said it will take care of Lankawe on its own way.
    Here is the amazing Mountain is coming toward Mohamed. Only way to chase SinhaLE, the Wildlife Sanctuary’s Hyenas feasting in the palace in the Diyawanna lake is, if UN peace keeping force enter Lankawe or American Army entering Lankawe, not by any further elections under failed Universal Franchise. “Kaluthai Punnukku Puluthi Marunthu”. (Donkey’s wound get cured by the dirt it rolls in.)

    • 0
      0

      Dear Mallaiyuran,
      .
      You’ve been making many valuable comments. As I’ve already suggested, it would help if you paragraphed them all (you have done so here, thanks)
      .
      Also you’ve spoken out boldly. It would help many of us who read if you used the name of each person mentioned. After all, if somebody is going to sue you for libel, you’ve been specific enough for them to succeed.
      .
      It takes time to work out that Old Prince is Namal Rajapaksa, etc. Many readers may give up in the middle, and that would be sad.

  • 1
    0

    What makes you say that the next President may not be able to lead ? Who do you think the next President will be ? Sri Lankans have very short memories. Come polling day they will all be lining up at the polling booths, and they should be. It is a democratic right.

    • 0
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      Yes, however disillusioned the electorate, people will vote. And almost all will vote for just one Presidential candidate.
      .
      At best, 1,000 English-speaking [I know that there are articles in Sinhalese, and even Grush Andrews published one of his articles there in Sinhalese] ; how can we few communicate a message to Swabasha speakers. And they will play the communal card!
      .
      If the Sinhalese are going to boycott, it’ll be said that a Tamil (or even a Muslim) candidate will win.
      .
      No. Please comment on my earlier suggestion. I know nothing of Nagananda Kodituwaku except what has come to me through the Internet. Can some please tell us what they know of him? Just now I googled for a Wikipedia entry on him. He’s been raising such storm that I’m sure Wikipedia will allow an entry to be made about him.
      .
      We must start doing things ourselves to determine the future of this country. Can somebody who knows how to do it, please construct a balanced Wikipedia entry for him?
      .
      As it is, we’re like the blind men examining the elephant!
      .
      https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-blind-man-and-the-elephant/
      .
      I had forgotten who wrote the poem – but there it is, words and audio.

  • 2
    0

    Voters must assure that none from Royal College enter Parliament. They are an utter andisgrace. See the horrible state of the country led by royalists. Rajapakse lot have to be shown the door. Most corrupt. They jailed the war hero and impeached former CJ and brought in crooked Moran Pieris. Pallewatte, Naganandana kodituwakku have to getogether. Invite singer Sunil Perera, Kumar Sangakkara, Kishinev Gomes, Dhammika Perera, Harry Jayawardene, Solie Captain, Ken Balendra, Chandra Jayaratne , Indrajit Coomarasamy and other honest and incorruptible to help them to put up a new party and fight the elections. All the 225 parliamentarians have to be kicked out from parliament. President too has to go. People have suffered enough for 70 years plus.

  • 0
    0

    Sinhala Man,

    Mallaiyuran writes non stop bull shit when he is dope after smoking maruhana in late evening.

    With non stop dope he goes into top spin racist slander in mid night half conscience of course.

    Let’s ignore the buggar, he will then fade away.

  • 0
    0

    I take Laura’s point above.
    Given that they are from same caste and Ambalangoda, I always thought Gonsalkoralas are Fonseka people. I now know I am wrong.
    It is now certain to me they are Rajapakse people.
    Yet, buggar writes well.

  • 0
    0

    Kamini,
    But, Gonsalkorales are not Karawa people like Fonseka, they are Salagama people – originally from Kosgoda, Balapitiya

  • 1
    0

    Chun Paan

    Gonsalkorale is a Portuguese name. There was Portuguese Governor called Gonsalwes Asawedu/

    They are warrior people who predominatley engaged in fishing

    In the recent past they have shown patrotism with many Gonsalkorles joining Army, lower ranks though

  • 0
    0

    Chun Paan, this buggar Raj seems able to write well and we should encourage him, but not pro Mahinda crap like this one

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