Reading Results the Night After
Posted on September 10th, 2012

By Gomin Dayasri

 Public perception treats Provincial Elections with a passing tweet: Not so, it’s a worthy weathervane for a Presidential election. Numbers in the majority column speaks loud. Increased majorities for the government are nearly insurmountable bringing southern constituencies under a single party giant umbrella. UPFA strength lies in its ability to cut across the ethnic barrier and in being the premier national party.

 Three and half years after touching peak popularity on dismantling terrorism in May 2009, a government with accusations of crass and sleaze, graft and garbage, deception and lies, assault and plunder record a majority in North-Central of 61.2% to 35.4% (increase of 4.9% for the UPFA, decrease of 2.2% for the UNP from 2008), 59.1% to 34.7% in Sabaragamuwa (increase of 3.8% for the UPFA decrease of 5.8% for the UNP from 2008) nonchalantly defeat all comers. Similar comparison with 2008 is not possible in the East, with TNA entering the arena after absconding previously and the SLMC contesting under its flag distancing from the UNP under whose logo it contested.

 Administrating office for 7 years and being in continuous power for 23 years with the canny ability to increase majorities significantly is remarkable. Similarly positioned Manomohan Singh’s Indian Congress Party is in deep in trouble losing electorates while Mahinda Rajapakse navigates triumphantly-difference lies in winning a war that was declared unwinnable. 

 For the UNP this is the worst in a sordid serial of shoddy results obtained periodically. Not surprising since the effort made by the opposition at the campaign was to target the losers’ plate unmindful of their ground troops having spent 23 years in the wilderness. UNP has dropped votes in hordes, with their supporters becoming allergic to the party and deciding to stay at home that made it a low poll. UNP is unable to enthuse its own flock and meanders aimlessly and reaches nowhere.

 Can a result be predicted for the Presidential Election from this election? It’s obvious than before. Results came from two selectively favored provinces for the government and other reflecting the opinion of Muslims and Tamils. UPFA appears to be the only party capable making an impact in each district and in every polling division in picking abundance of votes. Voting pattern is infectious and spreads to neighboring provinces.

  Failing to win a single polling division in three provinces makes it a debacle for the UNP. It did win a few polling divisions in 2008 provincial council elections on the wings of the SLMC and the TNA’s known anti war vote. On the present result UNP may have to roll it election map if it is unable to reach its own voters and make them move before reaching the floating voter.

 Similar battering at the forthcoming serial elections will make calls on Ranil Wickremasinghe survival uncertain as a perpetual loser. Notion “ƒ”¹…”Anyone but Ranil can Win’ may surface with his carrying the tag in being the President’s favored opponent, considered a soft challenger. Will future election debacles cause the UNP to search for an outsider on a visitation from a cold feet syndrome? A major political party cannot afford to forfeit its slot successively or change its leader or adopt a candidate without a major upheaval? Searching for a new face will cause fatal splits since the UNP possesses a solid vote bank and its hierarchy has pumped plumb for Wickremasinghe.

  This result strengthens ambitious extraneous forces to coalesce in a search of a personality outside the political arena to mount as a Presidential candidate with the support of opposition political parties. Street theatre will parade such mavericks for public display.

 Gratitude for eliminating terrorism is still in the forefront – likewise the negative contribution UNP made in the war effort is not forgiven. Notwithstanding multiple infirmities, winning the war is the prime-contributing factor for the government to receive a surplus vote. It appears to hold fast to a government that is associated with the joys that peace ushered. Sure will enhance when Mahinda Rajapakse is the candidate instead of some dubious provincial councilors. Whipped reminiscences of the war are still the prime churners of votes.

  More can be read on the result from the East where TNA and SLMC held on to the vote in their ethnically dominated areas.  Proclaimed development work did reflect success for the government proxies at the poll. National parties have weaned votes away from the ethnic parties yet the east is in a fractured framework. Government sends a strong message abroad of its acceptability to the minorities and of an acquired leadership in the east.  SLMC will not forfeit its ministerial positions knowing the direction of the winds at least for the present making the government stronger in the east and with a candidate from the extreme Jathika Nidhas Peramuna in its fold and from other Muslim and Tamil parties make a grand mix. TNA’s ability to win Batticaola district shows it does command the Tamil vote in the east. It is the only Tamil party that shows it can on its own win a district or a province. This showing will help the TNA in its search for votes in the North. 

 Votes cast in the East, depicts it an explosive and divisive breeding ground. Had it remained merged, the TNA would have controlled the north and east, a right it does not possess as reflected in the ethnically split voting patterns in the East. TNA’s next objective would be to seek an alliance with the SLMC giving the seat of the Chief Minister and promising an enclave. Muslim vote in the east is deeply divided triangularly but shows where SLMC has its roots and the polling divisions where it commands. This result is a virtual referendum against a merger of the north and east.

 Elections were held with economic indicators down turned and the rice bowl affected by a drought and in the midst of rising prices. If the economy did hurt in the provinces, people would not have voted resoundingly. A protest or an absentee vote would have developed if the personal home economy were in peril, at an election where a government could not be changed. UPFA increased its vote count substantially in spite of hardships to show personal economies are not in a bad state.

 The people facing hardships at a pinch prefer the government to the opposition. The result shows no gain in confidence for the opposition after many years in the opposition and a bungling government strongly endorsed by the people. The strongest message from the result goes to the public servants – especially the police “”…” to make no mistake; government is very much in the saddle. That is where the real strength of a government lies “”…”not in its party cadres but on the undivided loyalty of the public servant.

 Opposition’s cry for foul play is more to save face that will fall on deaf ears. Election Commissioner’s performance of carrying an orderly election is commendable and a mute answer to an Election Commission. Government trumpets its strength without being grateful to an inept opposition. Government is more equipped and better accomplished in defeating itself, than on a coordinated effort by the opposition. So far the opposition has helped to prop, when the government wilts.

  Academics, students, strikers, professionals and stock marketers made little impact in the absence of a formidable opposition leadership to synergies the cause. Government held on to its vote in the absence of a credible alternate.

 Good governance on the 17th Amendment appears an elite subject for a Colombo forum and pales to insignificance on the vote count: sadly public apathy on that count may make the government run amok.

  JVP vote has been reduced to a cadre base and is becoming sadly an irrelevant party that once sent 42 MP’s to parliament, can now hardly muster a few hundred votes in a polling division.

 Government’s secure safety valve lies in the faith people placed in the President for expeditiously overcoming terrorism. He understands the character and the value structure of Sri Lankans as well as Ranasinghe Premadasa.

  May be said someday that the people in giving hefty frequent endorsements to the Government sent it astray by over estimating itself and thinking it is not answerable to the people. Can the government be its own watchdog since no other will it tolerate? This government is more successful in winning elections than getting down to the business end and a disciplined work regime.

 

2 Responses to “Reading Results the Night After”

  1. Kit Athul Says:

    Gomin, thanks for the timly publication. Please may I humbly request that you add your name to a list of people who wants send a document requesting that MR nuliify the 13th A; to editors of leading SL news papers which will be published if the editors agree. If not they will take a full page advertisement in the same news paper. The person to contact is Mahinda Gunasekera who lives in Canada. his e-mail address is ngunasekera@symkpatico.ca Ask him for the e-mail describing the action plan. This must be done before Wednesday. Other readres who wants to add their names do so.

  2. Sirih Says:

    Agree good governance is a major issue and patriots should get together with best legal minds to sort out this treacherous constitution.
    Stock exchange fiasco is a great concern since we help foreigners to invest in our country.
    Treasury sec. comments re. “politics come first” created red light to the foreigners who wants to invest in SL… I am amazed about this comment and MR need to get his act together before country move towards Marcos style debautury…

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