WAY PEOPLE VOTE
Posted on August 15th, 2013

By GOMIN DAYASRI          

 Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid may take seats as honorable members of Parliament. Even an aged Pamela Anderson or Cameron Diaz could walk away with parliamentary pensions.

 Mervyn Silva and Duminda de Silva entered the precincts of Parliament legitimately as easy riders.  Elected – overwhelmingly by the choice of the people. Those electors are not from backward Wanni or from the backwoods of Monaragala: indeed from the two most literate and sophisticated districts of Gampaha and Colombo. Intriguing.

 In a long list of candidates Duminda de Silva secured spot No 2 in Colombo and Mervyn Silva slotted in to No 3 in Gampaha. Can they retain the focal points at the next election? Those voting for them are a distance away from the niceties of democracy.  That vote individually is insignificant but collectively add on to a boisterous bawdy majority.

 Barbie doll like parliamentarian Upeksha Swarnamali and Provincial Councillor Anarkali Arkashi gets elected comfortably on good looks and pretty pictorials. Novice Upeka Swarnamali appealed passionately to the UNP voters that they returned her to Spot 2 on the UNP list in Gampaha district ahead of a pack of known heavy weights – Karu Jayasuriya, Jayalath Jayawardane and John Amaratunga. In a list of names provided on a ballot paper, Beauty come before Beast – without a care, tick a box to select a sweet someone; instead of marking a cross as a preference for a legislator.  No wonder Mrs. World is a decorative fixture of permanancy in Parliament! Any Miss. Sri Lanka is an eligible candidate in waiting or wanting.

 Their popularity extends beyond party frontiers. Their acceptability with the electorate crosses party lines where crisscrossing is a parliamentary prerogative “”…” in this charmed circle some stand elected on shades of green and blue at one time or another. They are visually ravished or depicted despicably in the media; but those who elect them or the political parties that select them, don’t’ give a hoot. 

 Leaders know the electorate they cater. There is a common ground rule “”…” nomination is given to any candidate that can collect the most number of votes to obtain more places for other candidates to enter parliament from the party. Tricksters and pranksters, gangsters to mobsters are included. Piling the ballot box with the popular vote is the name of the sport. Political parties realize their nominees potential in gathering votes or garnering crowds for political shows. That counts more than the morals preached. Still, for the record, it is the votes at a free and fair election that are counted. People in a Democracy get the candidates they desire and deserve elected. Two cheers for such weird democracy for which civil rights adherents desperately agitate and crave for more.

  We have enjoyed universal franchise from the time of the Donoughmore Commission in 1931 and proudly claim over 80% registered cast their vote at the last general election. When the electorate was less erudite the peasants of Anuradhapura repeatedly elected their former Government Agent popular Briton H.R. Freeman as their representative in preference to all the Sinhala candidates for the State Council. Is such foreseen now?

 The 13th Amendment if placed for a vote-how will it fare? It’s a contentious issue that strikes the middle class urban elite. Rural voters have a passing illusion of an issue repeatedly harped on radio and television but are indifferent since its contents are beyond their comprehension. Simplified and frilled with, it will come alive, if it is tempered with patriotism or nationalism. With whom will they swing? After eliminating terrorism President Rajapakse is associated with the notion that he knows best in securing territorial integrity: it’s the easy way out when a subject is unknown. Follow a trusted leader and rely on his judgment. Sri Lankans stay with the known devil- most Presidents comfortably secure an extended term. To swing them around, issues must personally hurt the majority. Otherwise we are a forgiving and forgetting nation that lives mostly for the moment.

 Does it mean it’s a goon vote – not necessarily as the vote has been strategically exercised to rid of governments comprehensively. Sri Lankans are stoic – can take a hard beating but place them against the wall for the pounding, they will come back hard fighting. War against terrorism displayed it to the maximum – the response of a tolerant society that took much lying down, taxed to the hilt, staged a great comeback to trounce terrorism. Hurt them hard economically that is the sour turning point in politics.  A middle income newly emerging nation has greater endurance to grin and bear in times of hardship.

  Attachment to a political party is often hereditary: in the villages, families are identified with their political coloration that goes down generations. Switches are often associated with the elected representatives to safeguard their perks, so they join the ruling junta. Faithful stick to their faith irrespective of the swing artistes. Migrant population to the cities has much influence on their village cousins in the new equation. Hand phone carries the message from the town to the village rapidly. Many a temporary dweller in the city has his vote registered in the village and it’s a long trek back home to vote. For many it’s like going home for New Year festivities. Opinion makers in the cities are gradually getting their views transmitted to the rural voter than before – with it the distance between the urban and rural thinking progressively narrows with fast roads

 Impact of triumphing over terrorism is fast fading among the urban elite and esteemed “”…”those who suffered the least. But not so amongst the poor, peace brought a marked difference to their lives, an element of gratitude lingers on more latently. Not only is life more secure for their families: peace brought economic blessing as hundreds of home sprung businesses flourished; engaged in occupations of an entrepreneurial nature, brought small fortunes to the house holds. Thousands of miniature billboards are sprouting on home gardens advertising skill and talents available for a price- from dressing brides to manicuring feet, video photos to fruit juice bars. There is money flowing in and out of those pockets. This is new vote bank of the expanding and emerging middle class.

 Democracy is retooled by the society it prevails over, and the period it pervades over.  Ultimately it is a tool in the grasp of the public to fashion it according to their life styles. Democracy sits beneath the People. It’s not a silent vote in Sri Lanka but a vote that talks without giving a hearing.

6 Responses to “WAY PEOPLE VOTE”

  1. Senevirath Says:

    Sabaragamuwa voters elected Ranjan Ramanayake. SINHALA BUDDHIST HAD A NARROW ESCAPE FROM VIJAYA KUMARATUNGA.

    WE ARE NOT TAUGHT HOW TO EAT AND WHAT TO EAT . SO WE GET SICK AND DOCTORS GET RICH
    WE ARE NOT TAUGHT OUR HERITAGE- SO WE DONT KNOW WHAT POLICY IS GOOD AND WHO REPRESENT GOOD. SO WE FAIL AND THUGS WIN
    MOST VOTERS AND EVEN MAHINDA WANTED TO SAVE THEIR LIVES FROM PRABHAKARAN – SO THEY KILLED HIM BEFORE HE KILLED THEM AND NOT TO SAVE THE COUNTRY— NOW THEY RELAX….. NOBODY CARES 13A OR PCS

    THERE WILL BE MORE AND MORE FOOLS IN THE COUNTRY UNTIL WE CHANGE THIS “”MACOLI SYSTEM OF EDUCATION””–OR” mishanari adyapanaya”””

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    The way Tamils vote is SIMPLER.

    They vote for the MOST RACIST party.

    e.g. In 1947 ACTC was the MOST RACIST. So voted for them. But in 1956 ITAK was the MOST RACIST so they deserted ACTC and went after ITAK.

    Then worsened to TULF and TNA. Now TNA is the MOST RACIST and Tamilians will vote for TNA will their feet.

    e.g. Jeya and Karuna are fighting to be the MOST RACIST because they know the MOST RACIST wins Tamil hearts, minds and votes.

  3. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of Justice is not virtue” and “. This is most applicable to the nagging problem of the 13th amendment.
    “After each war there is a little less Democracy to save”. This is just for a nation after a war as the 30 year old civil war whose enemies got support from India Democracy is being used as a tool to divide a nation. It is better that central control remain till the time arrives where India and the Tamil Diaspora give up the idea of carving out a nation from the body of Sri Lanka.

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    Mr Dayasiri has hit the nail on the head re the voting patterns in Lanka. We are a Nation that selects ‘pin ups’, be they film stars or political thugs ! This is not strange – it was so in America during the 1960-1990s period, as well as India where about a quarter of the Parliament are ex-jail birds. If Superman came out the comic books and contested elections, then the whole world may vote for him over even Lee Kwan Yew who now appears to be bitter with Lanka (?) !

    Tamil people of Lanka do not think for themselves either. The Caste System of Tamil Nadu has trained them to ‘follow my leader’ even to Nanthikadal. Till they learn to think for themselves, they will suffer through mirages of Tamil leaders’ deceptions.

    In my view, the political personage who brings Clean WATER to all of Lanka will be the real winner and also cleans up CORRUPTION while enhancing the ECONOMY with a good EDUCATION SYSTEM.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    The Wells of Weliweriya and other incidents such as the warehouse turned prayer centre etc. incidents appear to have a two fold aim :

    (1) Discredit the GoSL & Armed forces.

    (2) Distract away from the NPC elections & 13-A.

    (3) Regime change.

    ——–

    An addition to the list required by the Political WINNER is also the REMOVAL OF THE NPC ELECTIONS & THE 13-A.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    Please read as ‘threefold aim”

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