The Lankaweb Weekly Editorial



Projections On Who has The Best Chances Of Winning The Forthcoming Presidential Elections

As the many complex issues surrounding the forthcoming Presidential Elections set for November 2005 surface there seem to be a few interesting anomalies which may turn out to be the key factors in favour of the winning candidate in the two man race between the currently declared candidates Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe (conditional to no futher late entries!).

In a Nation which has seen many turbulences of late and probably eager to send into the chair of the highest office in the land a candidate who would be capable of addressing at least a part of the nation's woes which primarily would have to do with the Peace Issue and the Nation's economy in a post Tsunami environment and an unenviable slew of related responsibilities.

Give the two candidate race where the winner of the forthcoming elections will be one or the other. They both seem to be dependant on support from the North and the East where a conglomerate of divided supporters consisting of non terrorist supportive Tamils and Muslims may eventually hold the key towards the victor's success combined with the support of the JVP and the JHU which will all but guarrantee success for the winner.

At the present time there seems to be much jockeying by both candidates towards convincing the voters of their efficiencies towards carrying the burden of the Presidency with a realistic advantage at least on paper, resting with the Prime Minister, where the leader of the opposition may at best have to settle for and also ran position considering his bunglings as Prime Minister and connivances with the LTTE in the not too distant past!

Mahinda Rajapakse's overall chances of becoming the President therefore would probably depend on unconditional JVP and JHU support, conditional to the backing of the North Eastern vote where the tussle for same between him and Ranil Wickremesinghe is bound to gather much momentum.

Rajapakse expected to eventually nose ahead and score the victory should all the factors relative to the voting mindset of the North and East fall into place which would also herald the swansong and ultimate demise of the LTTE, something which the tigers now contemplate with dread apprehension and may try their utmost towards influencing a Wickremasinghe win.

Ranil Wickremasinghe who has championed their cause even surreptitiously and at times, inadvertently to give him a semblance of patriotic identity as a Sinhalese, may have some comfort in the thought that his overall chances of victory depend on how successfully the LTTE might manipulate voting in the North and East, as their track record shows in the case of the TNA's entry into Parliament and something the authorities should try to put a lid on and thwart off this time around so that fairplay ensues and the Wickremasinghe syndrome is not projected a second time around to a higher level of Sri Lankan Administrative power with a little help from his tiger buddies!

There are many analysts, some with obvious bias who believe that Ranil Wickremesinghe might start off with an advantage based on conjectured tiger support, conjectured and perhaps of little worth as the tigers in a post Kadirgamar assassination environment in Sri Lanka appear to have lost much face and credibility now that many fingers point to them for the dastardly deed, for Wickremesinghe, tiger support just might be his undoing.

While negative thinking by these analysts suggests that Mr. Rajapakse could not beat Mr. Wickremesinghe, in a head to head contest with any measure of success, and a seemingly no win situation by virtue of his inability to gain tiger support as the alliance between Wickremesinghe and the Tigers is a very strong one, it does not necessarily translate into a nod from the rest of the Nation that Wickremasinghe is assured Presidential status.

To the contrary far from it as the transparencies of the LTTE are now much too well known by a greater proportion of the voting public, including the many dissenting Tamils and Muslims, who are also aware of the credibilities of a certain anti LTTE individual aspiring to the high office of the true liberator of the Tamil Community by name of Col. Karuna.

The LTTE by virtue of the Karuna mystique might end up being a vanquished statistic of the past and together with them their champion Ranil Wickremasinghe with related elimination credits to Velupillai Prabhakaran(seemingly already defunct), Anton Balasingham and the vituperative S.P.Thamilselvam.

Case in point towards the futility of any Sinhala leader ''romancing the stone" represented by the LTTE must by now surely have portrayed its futility to the fullest, as the President herself rudely found out to her chagrin having sacrificed her parliamentary majority for P-TOMS, falsely believing that it would be her ticket towards smiles from the Tigers and prolong her political life which has now sadly landed her on her derriere sans her true allies as The Tigers in pretense danced to her music and ended up assassinating her Foreign Minister.

Mahinda Rajapakse, the gentleman politician from the south with his impeccable pedigree, therefore, has to align himself with a few home truths while casting aside any phobias and paranoias that Ranil Wickremasinghe could be his nemesis. At the present it appears more mythical than of any realistic disposition.

There are many mitigating factors which should calm any nerves and anxieties on his part that it is a very discerning Sri Lankan Nation readying itself for the Presidential election given the reality that its trajectory would follow a legitimate and straight path where they are faced with a Hobsons Choice of sorts!

Choosing the right candidate based on his true patriotic credentials where his opposite number needs to be cast aside as a traitor who had devised on more than one occassion to betray the Sinhala Nation to its enemies towards his own power hungry ends! and what is to prevent him from repeating the same indiscretion from a higher level of Administration?

Consequently and notwithstanding any joint UNP, LTTE and TNA skullduggery which needs to be confronted through every means available if the case ever arises, Mahinda Rajapakse's chances of carrying the Presidential win seems assured yet conditional to the stance of the JVP and JHU whose overall support together with that of the anti LTTE Forces in the North and East would project a comfortable win in his favour.

Postscript as provided courtesy of the Asian tribune's Tissaranee Gunasekera sums up eventualities on a favourable note for the debonair Mahinda Rajapakse!

" The irony is that a Presidential candidate need not obtain the support of the Tigers in order to win. Statistics show that victory is possible without the backing of the Tigers, as does history. After all in 1999 the Tigers backed Ranil Wickremesinghe and yet he did lose that election, quite conclusively. His opponent Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge won, and in that election, at that time she was seen as the anti-Tiger candidate. This time the chances are even better for an anti-Tiger (as different from anti-Tamil/devolution) candidate because of the Karuna factor. Statistics demonstrate that a candidate who manages to obtain a majority of the Southern vote, has the backing of the CWC and can win the majority of Tamil and Muslim votes in the East has a very good chance of winning the Presidency."



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