The Lankaweb Weekly Editorial



Food For Thought For The Discerning Voters On The Merits Of The Better Presidential Candidate Based Purely Upon Their Manifestos !

There seems to be an interesting preamble common to the manifestos of both front runners in the Presidential election which seems to show a clear disregard to the topic of Federalism which is a contradiction of the plea made by outgoing President Chandrika Kumaratunga who has always maintained that the path to a Pluralistic Society in Sri Lanka is through Federalism which could synonymously resolve the ethnic issue in her vision!

It seems a fair assumption therefore based upon reliable information, that in the case of both candidates Mahinda Rajapakse and Ranil Wickremasinghe, they are likely to take the stance that a solution to Sri Lanka's woes under their dictate as President will be found only within the parameters of a unitary constitution such as the one in effect presently which in the case of Rajapakse goes along well by virtue of sincerity together with the backing of the JVP and the JHU who have pledged their support towards his cause and perhaps even augurs well with a greater proportion of the Sinhala Nation who are the voting majority in Sri Lanka as opposed to the Minority Tamils seemingly divided in their directions of allegiance.

Some for the Prime Minister and others for the leader of the opposition not taking into account those coerced into a specified area of support by the LTTE which would undoubtedly point to the leader of the opposition! In the case of Ranil Wickremasinghe it may not be plausible to assume his favouring a non Federal solution as totally legit as he has shown a contradictory pattern towards his trend of thought purely through his reluctance to openly declare his non compliance.

Notwithstanding the complexities surrounding the related manifestos of both candidates there is also bound to be a strong attempt by both towards appeasing the minority Tamils and Muslims of Sri Lanka who have presented their concerns unequivocally about their rights and it has to be a focal point of their manifestos particularly the winning one that the assurances within the confines of unitarity far removed from Federalism as would be the case based on this assumption.

It would protect the rights of all communities of Sri Lanka without compunction which the President has approved in draft form according to latest reports albeit a circumvention of her own belief that a federal solution is her prefered norm of resolution but perhaps academic if discarded by both front runners which seems also to be accompanied by the proverbial loss of face.

While the Prime Minister has had no real qualms about being open and assertive about his stance on unitarity and his disagreement about a Federal Solution, the leader of the opposition has shown a tendency to hedge on the issue which he appears to have had a partiality towards where he has alluded to this partiality by simply refering to a 'Solution' which he believes could be found within the framework of the Oslo and Tokyo declarations as reported and the reality that these declarations call for a federal solution somewhat outstanding and hence cause enough to label the opposition leader's stance somewhat bifurcated on the issue in his inimitable style which often casts a long shadow of doubt about his credibilities.

His hollow rhetoric appears to have been exemplified through his expressed quest as the following quote suggests" For a broad based negotiated peace settlement and not hung up on particular systems, whether federal or unitary where bread and butter issues and not the ethnic issue or federalism were uppermost in the minds of the electorate" end quote, in a somewhat lacksadaisical approach where his obviously known predilections towards appeasing the LTTE seems to have been cleverly camouflaged or has been transfered to the backburner and something which ironically might not augur well towards the support he expects from his LTTE allies.

Perhaps the leader of the opposition has dug himself a hole from which he may find it difficult to extricate himself from as the direction his manifesto seems to be pointing towards,seems somewhat mixed up through palming off responsibilities to the Tokyo and Oslo accords without any clear cut manifesto of his own and to the contrary the Prime Minister stands resolute in his commitments towards the Nation and is unwavering in his objectives towards the best interests of Sri Lanka and the preservation of her Sovereignity and Terrirorial Integrity!

Food for thought surely for the discerning voter as to which Presidential candidate carries greater merit towards being elected and cause for great alarm for the insurgents of the LTTE whose days just might be numbered as it is expected that Mahinda Rajapakse in the role of President would take a no nonsense approach towards them and turn the tables completely on them through advising them about many legalities within the laws of the land and its constitution which disentitle them to their very existence as fully armed and unrelenting terrorists and dispel any impure ambitions they might see attainable through their 'Puppet on a String ' champion Ranil Wickremasinghe whom they seem very adept at manipulating towards their needs!



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