WHO’S AFRAID OF THE COMMON CANDIDATE?
Posted on August 5th, 2014

 BY GOMIN DAYASRI

 An election result divulges the northern mind more than a thousand words spoken. The North voted overwhelmingly for the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army as against the Commander-in –Chief at the last Presidential Election-both war heroes disliked in the North. That indicates the north will swing for ‘anybody but Mahinda Rajapakse’- thrust TNA desire.

 At the 2013 Provincial Council election 65% of the 719477 registered voters puffed TNA to a sprawling vote of 78.8% of the total polled – aggregating to 353595 votes as against 82838 (18.3%) for the Government. A handy majority of 270659 can get enhanced if more voters trek to the polling booth at a Presidential Election – a likely possibility.

 If the northern voting base enlarges Mahinda Rajapakse may have to start the count conceding 300,000 votes to the common candidate, which he needs to bridge with votes from the South to overcome. East might add weight to the tally of the common candidate. Surely a factor for the President to fear, mindful of the 2005 election when Mahinda Rajapakse won with a thin majority because the LTTE imposed a prohibition on voting in the north; resulting to his benefit. This time around Rajapakse has provided a free vote – to his detriment.  

 The mind of the north is set to defeat Mahinda Rajapakse, the man who restored their franchise, which they choose to exercise to exorcise him from the political arena. The common candidate is off to a flying start with the vote of minorities in the north/east.

 If the north – south divide becomes the theme, a satisfied south with its massive voter base can out run the north and east. In times of peace, satisfaction to the south comes from an improved personal economy ahead of any patriotic fervor; together they can make or unmake the next President especially if the cost of living factor gets over heated.  

 Let’s state the obvious. It’s the UNP that will ultimately choose the common candidate – nominating their preferred candidate. Others in the opposition need bow to the will of the UNP hierarchy – rump candidates listed on the ballot paper are mavericks running to satisfy their sponsors that provide the currency to attract the ‘spoiler’ vote.

 In a presidential vote count the second choice on the ballot paper comes into reckoning if a candidate does not obtain the stipulated 50% of the vote. The spoilers enter the field, set up not to win but to subtract votes, from the Rajapakse column. It might be counter – productive and may end earning the disenchanted UNP vote. In 2005 JHU sent 10 members to parliament picking the protest UNP vote. A Buddhist monk on the ballot paper may do a repeat performance to split the opposition vote.

 The candidate to emerge as the strongest opposition contender at the Presidential elections 2015 would be the symbolic common candidate. Party politics is such it will not permit the most popular common candidate to emerge. The proper procedure of reaching such consensus will be where the opposition sits together and throws popular names around, weigh the pluses and minuses and reach consensus on the choice. Nevertheless the remnenents in the opposition will have to contend with the UNP that stands mightily tall to dwarf the entire opposition. UNP is truly the only alternative-others being mere by-standers. Choice reached will not by consensus; yet, the phrase common candidate is a marketable myth that attracts the vote on the strength of a combine.

The common candidate is the prerogative of the UNP as of right, being the largest opposition force in parliament as far as memory stretches, forfeited its right last time, as its nominee looked lame duck on paper and a stronger alternate was in the market place dressed in military attire at a time war heroes were the pin-up boys. It back – fired, maybe a UNP nominee would have done better. The main opposition party cannot afford to sacrifice a tilt at the Presidency successively and retain its credibility and functionality.

 Though it may not be a decision arrived by consensus: many in the opposition will gladly give the slot to the UNP; realistically, the only political party capable of defeating the government. The campaign will mount to a crescendo with a cry to oust the present government. A few in the opposition may not want to propel Ranil Wickremasinghe as the common candidate but such a thrust would be overruled by the UNP which will have their way and rightly so. The common candidate will derive over 80% of his vote in the south from the traditional vote base of the UNP; irrespective who is the candidate. The role of the opposition is to endorse officially the choice of the UNP hierarchy. Common candidate of the opposition will be show- cased for public consumption but at a reality show – it’s a decision of a few in the UNP hierarchy.

 Karu Jayasuriya may be the preferred choice of the Sinhala Buddhist majority island wide. However the UNP counts heavily on minority vote whose intention may be more to defeat Mahinda Rajapakse than to place Ranil Wickremasinghe on a pedestal. Minorities are comfortable with the pluralistic Leader of the Opposition. Karu Jayasuriya notwithstanding his popularity with the unattached floating voter has a poser, having defected from the Opposition to hold a portfolio under President Rajapakse – that was reflected on receiving fewer votes than a popular television actress in the UNP preference list at the last election. Karu Jayasuriya, may not get a hearing if the party echelon decides otherwise. Ranil Wickremasinghe has stood firmly behind the UNP in its worse times.

 Mahinda Rajapakse’s preferred opponent is Ranil Wickremasinghe, expected to drop a few gaffes close to election date to make state media misinterpret and give it maximum coverage. Ranil Wickremasinghe’s unimpeachable integrity stands good stead and looks stronger than at the time he supported General Fonseka; yet is a tired tried candidate as against a third term aspirant yet the most attractive face on the government benches. Does show the paucity of presidential material in local politics. A common candidate will fire at its best if the UNP can field a fresher face as UPFA did when it introduced Chandrika Kumaranatunga.

 If the common candidate succeeds at the election he would owe much to the contributions made by TNA, NGOs’ and Western embassies. That is the call that Mahinda Rajapakse will make to the electorate to return him. The President is heavily dependent on the majorities he earns in the south; winning the south by narrow majorities will not be sufficient, as he will not be earning much of the second choice vote. Most of it will reach his opponent.

 Issues that arise at election time and the manner it is marketed are key factors. Who will set the pace for the issues that will fire the interest of the voters?

21 Responses to “WHO’S AFRAID OF THE COMMON CANDIDATE?”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    An EXCELLENT analysis.

    My prediction is ANTI-MR LEAD in,

    north – 350,000
    east – 200,000
    nuwara eliya – 100,000
    colombo – 50,000

    So MR will have to BRIDGE 700,000 with a lead in Sinhala majority areas. If a SPOLER (a Buddhist monk, CBK) contests, MR’s lead will reduce further. A difficult task if he continues to give everything to Tamils. MR should FORGET about terrible ungrateful Tamils and start giving everything to Sinhalese.

    A very EASY task if he serves his Sinhala VOTERS well.

    There is another trick. DISRUPT voting in Jaffna, Vanni and Batticaloa. Jaffna people are NOT very keen in voting for presidential elections anyway. Just give them an additional reason NOT to vote. “LTTE” threatens voters NOT to vote for SINHALA candidates and carries out a bomb attack on a polling booth in Jaffna at 7:30 am with some casualties. NO ONE will go to vote in the north. Blame it on the LTTE. Army quickly goes and arrests, kills some LTTE activists who happened to be TNA terrorists.

    The UNP camp is doing DIRTY TRICKS to win the election.

    e.g. NGOs are batting for them, USAID supports them, MAHARAJA media supports them, TGTE supports them, banned Tamil terrorist groups support them, TNA, SLMC terrorists support them, UNP businessmen raise prices of goods.

    This is unfair. UPFA must match these dirty tricks with own tricks. Ultimately what matters is WHO WINS, not HOW you win it. The end justifies the means.

  2. Samanthi Says:

    There’re two sure ways for MR to win next presidential election with great majority.

    1. Eliminate the 13th amendment to the constitution.
    2. Bring GR to the election platform!

  3. aloy Says:

    One sure way to defeat MR:
    Pit Karu J. with a strong nationalist leader as the running mate.
    Whether he will have enough guts to go against the unpatriotic forces within UNP is another matter.

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    Samanthi is right. GR can TOPPLE ANY wave and win the election. He is SO popular!

    Aloy,

    That is NOT going to work. Karu J was MIA (missing in action) when the war was WON. Arousing nationalism actually FAVORS MR. I don’t think UNP’s BOSSES (NGOs, USAID, etc.) will like the idea of ANOTHER nationalist from the UNP.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    Muslim terrorists are again trying to create riots.

    “Four individuals, who were apprehended for allegedly sending religious hate messages through SMSs, were ordered to be remanded till 18 August by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court, today.

    The suspects were remanded when the case was taken up for hearing before Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya.

    The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) following a tip-off they received commenced the investigation to arrest the suspects in mid-July.

    Police Spokesperson issuing a statement said that the suspects have distributed a message stating that there will be another riot against Muslims in Sri Lanka after 10 August, and a meeting on this regard has already held at the Defence Ministry.

    The CID has disclosed information that the religious hate massage has been initially sent to a person in Negombo from a person named Rizwan Mohammed, who currently resided in Kuwait.

    – adaderana.lk

  6. aloy Says:

    Lorenzo,
    I mean the running mate should come from other nationalistic parties, now critical of GOSL. There are many contenders. Though GR is not criticizing he too may be included, but first you need to put your ear to the ground ( not in Canada).

  7. douglas Says:

    Please read the last para of this article: ” Issues that arise at election time and the manner it is marketed are the key factors. Who will set the pace for the issues that will fire the interests of the voter”.

    That sets the records straight: (a) What are the “ISSUES” (b) How those will be MARKETED (c) WHO will set the pace to FIRE it.

    We still do not see ANY COMMON or INDIVIDUAL candidate who is either fitting or at least show some character to handle all of the above. At least have any of the people talking so much about a “CHANGE” come up with a PLAN OF ACTION to put before the voters?. They all make a BIG NOISE of doing away with the “Executive Presidency”; but is that the main “ISSUE” before the country? Do they at least suggest anything at all, on, how to handle the growing concerns and burdens of economic situation of the country; the deteriorating social conditions; the drug menace and the involvement and patronage of its spread by the “Big Wigs” handling the administration; corruption, nepotism, cronyism that have filtered into the mainstream of bungling the administration of State Ventures, the “Political Anarchy”established through the Provincial Councils and how they are going to handle the 13th Amendment; the “Messed” up education system;s; the “infiltration” of “religious fundamentalism” into the society; etc, etc,.

    The very VISIBLE SILENCE on the issues like the above by the Campaigners for a change has already been felt by the voters and it is very likely that they (the voters) would say : THE KNOWN DEVIL IS BETTER THAN THE UNKNOWN. because so far “NO ISSUES” “NO MARKETING” and “NO FIRING”.

  8. Wickrama Says:

    Best thing is for MR to LOSE the next election. (It will be marginally of course) Let some fool take over and try. There is going to be chaos. LTTE remnants will start to get active. a few bombs here, a few assasinations there…. Let the unfaithful people get what they deserve for some time, and then realise the value of freedom obtained by MR. NO PAIN -NO GAIN !

  9. Lorenzo Says:

    Aloy,

    PC election results are a GOOD INDICATOR of SL’s ground situation. (And the PATHETIC state of the UriNePee).

    GR is exceptionally popular. At the WPC election some LOSERS went to court to stop GR helping Udaya by JUST appearing!! That is the popularity of GR. Unshakable.

    Not the ideal some ways but this is the ground situation.

    The MORE the nationalists in the run the MORE the nationalism in the country which helps MR.

    USAID, CPA, TNA, SLMC and other BOSSES of the UNP does NOT allow it to field a nationalist. Run-NIL is the common candidate! Mark my word.

  10. Dilrook Says:

    I agree the only way to defeat the incumbent is by beating him in his own turf of nationalism. This was how JRJ reversed the Bandaranaike trend in 1960 and defeated Mrs. Bandaranaike in 1965 and 1977.

    However, a distinction must be made between “talk-only” nationalists and nationalists by deed. JRJ on those occasions (emphasised) was a nationalist by deed. JRJ actively obstructed anti-national moves (by nationalists) in 1956, 1958, 1965, 1973, 1976, etc. His efforts to disrupt the illegal B-C Pact are commendable. Of course he changed subsequently after winning the election in 1982.

    Although well meaning, Wimal, Patali, JHU monks and Dinesh are “talk-only” nationalists. They cannot do an electoral change divorced from the ruling clan. They derive their nationalist action (if any) from the ruling clan.

    A good parallel is the 1994 election. Gamini/Srima Dissanayake were good nationalists by deed. Their running mates included well meaning nationalists like Dinesh Gunawardena, Dr. Harischandra Wijetunga, etc. “Talk-only” nationalists at most. However, that was only sufficient to end up in the worst ever defeat.

    Ven Gnanasata Thero joining or helping the common candidate will ruin minority votes. Too many common candidates will also ruin the chances of all.

    Karu Jayasuriya contesting with any nationalist cannot change the political fortunes because all of them are “talk-only” nationalists when detached from the ruling clan. Even Karu Jayasuriya is a talk only nationalist who was beaten by Upekha Swarnamali not long ago.

    People are wise enough to make the distinction between nationalists by deed (no need to be perfect) and “talk-only” nationalists.

    Defence Secretary is immensely popular in the electorate. His popularity is not just because of war victory. His housing schemes benefit a few hundreds of thousands of people who are otherwise not UPFA voters. This can potentially defeat the UNP in its strongest base, Colombo by a larger margin which can have ripple effects island-wide as the UNP is a Colombo-based party. However, it is illegal for him to engage in politics while holding office.

    The fear of defeat (and consequences including war crimes trials) should drive the ruling clan to serve the voters who are important (Sinhala voters) who voted him to office from Mulkirigala (1970) to 2010. Whatever the disagreements are, a remarkable political achievement to remain in parliament and presidency for half a century by popular vote.

    There is a problem with the Jaffna district voters’ register which is manipulated. In 2010 registered voters exceeded the population. Even today it is not adjusted correctly. A few hundred thousand registered voters are either not living in Sri Lanka or registered in Colombo. This needs to be cleansed for a free and fair election in the north. I don’t expect the same lead Wigneswaran’s TNA had in 2013 to occur in 2015 because in 2013 many Tamils travelled to Jaffna before the election just to vote. They cannot be in Colombo and Jaffna on the same day in a presidential election which is island-wide.

  11. Samanthi Says:

    I fully agree with Wickrama. That’s why Velu said Sinhalese are idiots and they forget everything in two weeks!

    This is what is going to happen if RanilW (or KaruJ) is going to be the next president of the DSR of Sri Lanka.

    i. Mr. Chandrasiri, the current governor of the NPC will be sent home and replaced with either DayanJ or VartharajaP.
    ii.Ms. Vijeyaluxmi, the current Secretary of the NPC will be recalled to Colombo and replaced with either NimalkaF or ThisaranieG.
    iii.The Northern Province will be re-merged with the Eastern Province.
    iv.Police and land powers will be offered to the re-merged NE province.
    v.20 years later, the North and Eastern province will be separated from the rest of SL and will be called the independent state of Eelam.

    Is that what we idiots want to happen?

  12. Samanthi Says:

    Just then…….

    i.Bahu, Sirithunga, Jehan, Weliamuna, Upul, Jemis and other traitors will perform non-stop break dances to the tune of Tamilnadu Nagasalam
    ii.Chandrika will empty two bottles of double scotch and sleep with the tailor.

  13. Indrajith Says:

    I’d like to add one more item to Samanthie’s list!
    If Ranil becomes the next prez of SL…..

    vi. The new UNF govt will accept the UN war crimes report on SL in its total and send MR, GR and Shavendra to prison for life.

    Wake up people! There shouldn’t be too many contenders. Only three!
    1. MR for the third term.
    2. GR after MRs third term, and
    3. WW next.
    We need real patriots, not fake patriots like Sobitha Thera.

    Remember, this is a do and die race for Sinhalese. Unlike in the past, there won’t be a next chance! Because UN and the West is involved.

  14. Lorenzo Says:

    People should be REMINDED of the LTTE. They seem to have FORGOTTEN the dirt. Especially in the north. Tamils in the north actually think LTTE WON the war!!

    “LTTE” attacks on election day in polling booths in the north will do the trick. That is the easiest way to WIN the election.

  15. Indrajith Says:

    “do OR die” race, not do and die.
    Sorry for the error!

  16. aloy Says:

    Lorenzo and Indrajith,
    The two people we are talking about here do not have a clear vision for motherLanka like the political leaders of Malaysia or Singapore which are two developed nation in our region. They had a clear vision on Bumiputras, particularly Malaysia where the locals were put at a disadvantage during colonial rule. In our country it is quite the opposite. They will venerate a white skin or an Indian in preference to a local and all our resources and talent get drained. In the last two years I have personal experience on this. I wrote to both f them and even attempted to meet them to explain about the Bumiputhra thing to no avail. I therefore feel that these two are of no use after winning the war. In other countries they train their people and retain them to develop their countries. We train them and then send them to the world. SL stays an undeveloped country for ever. In this regard I just read a statement made by the deputy chairman of JHK as follows:
    “We do not have the luxury of affording to maintain an unproductive labour force, but this is what we do. Look at the construction industry for example which is highly unproductive. So, there is a clear requirement to improve the human capital in this country to open up their mind and be innovative.”
    What he has said is that the productive educated people have left. So how can we have faith on these two for another six years. Please look around- you will find even the ranaviruwos becoming drug addicts because there is too much of it in the country. Politicians from top to bottom are involved in it according to statements we hear in the parliament.
    I rest my case.

  17. Lorenzo Says:

    As he is now MR is no PATRIOT either.

    1. Vigneswaran is from TNA (=LTTE) who is WORSE than Perumal (EPRLF opposed to LTTE). EPRLF cadres fought against LTTE but TNA is LTTE.

    2. Even CBK refused to withdraw arm from Jaffna (40,000 were there in 2003). MR has withdrawn to just 13,000!

    3. MR’s LLRC nonsense is WORSE than CBK’s package.

    4. MR’s govt. has more Tamil and Muslim racists than CBK + Run-nil.

    We need to THROUGHLY WASH MR off his growing treason moss. MR should win the PE but NOT without getting things done BEFORE.

    There is NO after winning BS. He can NEVER EVER have 2/3 again. While he has he MUST do these.

    1. SCRAP 13 amendment or NO VOTES.

    2. BAN racist parties or NO VOTES.

    3. Give SUPREME PLACE to Buddhism or NO VOTES.

    4. ARREST drug dealers or NO VOTES.

    If Raja-paksha doesn’t do these, patriots must turn him into PARAJA-PAKSHA!! (copyright Lorenzo)

    Our loyalty is to SL not to politicians. MR is just a tool in the hands of MOTHER LANKA to save her. If he is not delivering he is useless.

  18. Lorenzo Says:

    Aloy,

    I wrote BEFORE reading your latest comment. We agree with some.

    But we cannot fall from the frying pan (INACTION) to fire (POSITIVE ACTION TO DIVIDE SL).

    We have to get things done from MR when he has 2/3. Otherwise he is useless. People should threaten to BOYCOTT or SCRAP the vote if he is not delivering.

    Shall we agree to this compromise?

  19. aloy Says:

    Lorenzo,
    Yes if he does 1-4 he can retire gracefully and our people will respect him ever after. Anyone ascending should agree for a bumiputhra policy that involves all.

  20. Marco Says:

    Aloy,
    To further elaborate on the statement by Ajith Gunawardena of JKH at the recently held Economic Summit he said
    “Tax incentives are not going to drive the industries. The cost of not having transparency, governance and rule of law actually drives away the attraction”.
    He said the result of governance, transparency, rule of law will bring in the capability to the industries; but unfortunately many people have gone for better job opportunities abroad and there is a necessity to attract them back. “We must create an environment of that level of security and confidence. We need to inject that over a period of time to get back those people.”

    This is underpinned by the HSBC Asia Pacific Director saying- Increasing government interference in banks destroys their value because the poor governance makes it difficult for such banks to raise capital at competitive rates.
    “Yes, government-owned banks can raise money but why are they not able to raise at the same rate as the private sector banks? The answer is the governance issues, interference by the government and those banks operating according to government agendas,” she said at the 15th Sri Lanka Economic Summit.

    Sri Lanka’s two largest commercial banks, Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank, are fully owned by the National Treasury and they are being used as finance vehicles by the government to support its economic agendas and to interfere in the foreign exchange market in minimizing exchange rate volatilities.

    It comes as no surprise then that the Govt and its Institution can only raise money at penal interest rates (6-6.5% above – Hambantota Port, MRIA loans as examples) whilst the private sector has raised money from the very same banks at much lower rates.

    What does that tell you? A Govt (Sovereign) borrower is riskier than a Private organisation and a reflection of financial prudence and policy.

  21. Lorenzo Says:

    Micro’s Tamil Elam bank went BUST in 2009. They used to have own notes and gold. TNA robbed all that and got rich. Even Menik farm IDPs deposited over 200 million rupees worth gold in banks!

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