Sunday, 23 November 2014

Common Candidate Unveiled: Whither future of this country?

Soon after the proclamation of the presidential election the joint opposition has unveiled the long-awaited common candidate, Former UPFA Minister and Chairman of the SLFP Maithripala Sirirsena was declared as the opposition 'common candidate' yesterday evening at a press conference held at New Town Hall, UNP has pledged their unanimous support to the former minister at the presidential election to be held on the 8th of January 2015 . It has to be said that it is quite an audacious decision on the part of Mr. Sirisena considering the plight of his predecessor General Sarath Fonseka who contested the presidential election as the common candidate in 2010. The latter who was the principal architect of the 2009 war victory was court marshaled and sent to prison, his civic rights remain withdrawn to this date.

It appears to be a prudent move by the UNP to field minister Sirisena for the presidency as he is the type of personality who could easily win the Sinhalese rural vote base (which the UNP have been continuing to distance itself from), this will be a crucial factor which will determine the outcome of this election. This arrangement also becomes handy with regard to winning the support of all parties of the joint opposition as JVP and JHU may have certain ideological issues in backing a candidate from the UNP. The Abolition of executive presidency and reinstating the independent commissions being the main agenda behind Mr. Sirisena's campaign one would expect the JVP would pledge their support to the common candidate in due course, however there may be some resistance by the JVP for the proposition of UNP leader becoming the Prime Minister in the event MS secures victory.

As far as the SLFP voter base is concerned one cannot expect MS to trigger a major shake up since it would be seen as an effort to make UNP leader the executive PM in the eyes of the typical SLFP voter. Lot will depend on how far the joint opposition is successful in luring UPFA defectors in to the coalition, president will no doubt try to take counter measures to make sure no more MPs cross over. Where UNP voter base is concerned it is critical that they are kept reinforced as they might become apathetic to this proposition evoking bad memories of what happened to the UNF government in 2004.

If a president Sirisena in 2015 honors his election pledge to abolish executive presidency, reinstate the independent commissions, introduce reforms to the electoral system it would no doubt be a crucial turning point in Sri Lanka's political history, at a time when there exists a virtual dictatorship with unlimited powers vested in the hands of the executive where rule of law has flown out the window.


Saturday, 20 September 2014

Uva Provincial Council Elections: Will the Opposition Make History?

Voting in the Uva provincial council commenced today with a healthy voter turnout. The high voter turnout can be attributed to the increased enthusiasm aroused by the opposition in the Badulla and Moneragala districts leading up to the elections and the growing unpopularity of the Government who have been riding the wave of the war victory of 2009. The widespread apathy in the electorate which caused high number of 'no shows' in the previous elections could translate to more votes for the opposition.

From the main opposition UNP's perspective, it all will depend on how strongly the oppositions' pitch resonates with the Sinhala Buddhist vote. Looking at the ethnic composition, Badulla district with a higher minority votes has to be won convincingly by the UNP (without the help of Upcountry Tamil Parties) to have a realistic chance of coming out victorious. It will be interesting to see how Moneragala district will vote with a significant percentage of Sinhala Buddhist voters. the JVP and the Democratic party too are expected to boost their vote base looking at their respective campaigns in the lead up to the election.

It is high time all these opposition parties come on board the 'common opposition platform' that never really materialized largely owing to JVP's sidestepping. If they do manage to work together it will no doubt will be a formidable force and it will be in best interest of the general public. Having said that the main opposition party the UNP has to get their act together going forward, if this is to become a reality, not only they will have to take the initiative but also they will have to make sure they maintain their intra-party unity which has been their holy grail of late. If the opposition manages to edge out the government in this election it will no doubt gather momentum, a good example would be the People's Alliance victory in the 1994 Southern Provincial Election (against a hugely unpopular UNP government once deemed unassailable) which was the prelude to landslide victories in the General Election and the presidential Election that followed.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Government's Apathy Towards Bodu Bala Sena's Antics

In the light of the looming threat of sanctions against Sri Lanka, implications could be quite detrimental if government continues to turn a blind eye towards the blatant acts of persecutions on both racial and religious grounds carried out by a group of corrupt monks who call themselves 'Bodu Bala Sena'. The defense secretary of the country was seen attending as chief guest at several ceremonies held by this group, hence hinting the public of the government's overt support towards such acts of racial and religious persecutions as an obvious attempt to garner support of the sinhala buddhist sections, with the understanding that harping on the 'War Victory of 2009' alone will not assure them of continued support of the ultra-nationalists.

What this government fail to understand is that these dirty tactics will have much more detrimental impact on an international front when it comes to countering a resolution against SL at the UNHRC like they did in March 2014. It is no secret that if not for the support of the 'Muslim Nations' led by Pakistan, Sri Lanka would have been facing a much severe repercussions. Therefore by supporting (overtly or covertly) these organisations who spread racism, the government of SL is going to make itself hugely unpopular among these Muslim nations who came to our rescue in the need of the hour.

Ethnic reconciliation should be the order of the day, employing cheap tactics of this nature to garner votes locally will have a knock-on effect on the country at large on an international front. From a religious point of view the damage this group of unscrupulous monks has done to Buddhism and the country's image as a Buddhist nation is monumental. The sooner we put an end to Bodu Bala Sena's antics the better for the country's racial harmony and its Human Rights record.