Low prospects of Ranil continuing as prime minister
Posted on January 12th, 2015

Ranjit Abeywardena

The just concluded presidential election was a coup by foreign elements, Its broader similarities to the 1815 ousting of the King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe II by the British are uncanny to the initiated observer; They based their campaign on tarnishing his image of the local ‘king’ as ‘cruel’ and corrupt, and just as in that case, they co-opted the local ‘radala’ and other elements – a hotchpotch of losers in local politics and Buddhist monks who wouldn’t know the country’s Constitution from Ummagga Jatakaya – to execute their plan.

The foreign conspiracy to steal political power in Sri Lanka has succeeded -for now -. Things have changed in the 21st century and they will not be ruling us overtly this time. They will run Sri Lanka from behind the screens. The incompetence of the local hotchpotch, however, appears to be making things difficult for them.

The ignorance of the hotchpotch on the constitutional provisions on the executive presidency came to light in the first week of the campaign. After making extravagant promises they realised that abolishing executive presidency is not a job for the president himself, but a function of the parliament, vetted by the public in a referendum.

It was ironic that they were contemplating the ‘dictatorial’ exercise of the powers of the very position they were alleging is dictatorial. But it was not part of the conspiracy, just incompetence.

That particular ‘stuff-up’ arose because the hotchpotch decided to base their campaign on the cry initiated by a monk with no legal knowledge – the Ven Maduluwawe Sobhitha thero – the self-appointed leader of a minor grouping with less than 100 members.

It is astounding that none of the figures vying for alternate ‘leadership’ and good governance had thought it fit to get a legal opinion on Sobhitha’s hair-brained idea to abolish executive presidency in 100 days. The realisation forces them to drop the idea, and the promise was nowhere to be seen in the manifesto.

Now it appears they have not learnt from that mishap, and are continuing to operate without any apparent familiarity with the Constitution. More importantly, they seem to lack the sense to seek the opinions of experts on the subject, at least Sarath N. Silva.

The continued affliction of the hotchpotch with this failure is apparent in the hurried appointment Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister. This latest episode shows the ‘internalised’ thinking within the group and the scramble for spoils by people who have never managed to win a majority in their own right in a political contest that involved Mahinda Rajapakse.

The ‘act’ of appointing Ranil Wickremesinghe only existed in the secret ‘pact’ signed between Maithripala Sirisena and the UNP, later leaked to the media by Tissa Attnayake. The serious implications of appointing Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister in the heat of the moment to ‘honour’ a secret pact between Sirisena and the UNP are not immediately visible due to the gap between the act and the resumption of parliament sittings.

The hidden hands who stage-managed the ousting of Rajapakse have obviously failed to consider the role of the parliament in the affairs of the executive president, obviously because inconvenient to match that with the campaign slogan of a dictatorial executive presidency” powers. The pact obviously does not make any ultra-vires appointment of prime minister legal.

As ambitious people tend to do, they begin to believe in their own myths.

A casual glance through the Constitution by any of the leaders would have revealed the crystal clear provisions of Chapter 43 (3). It stipulates that The President shall appoint as Prime Minster the Member of Parliament who in his opinions is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament.”

The appointment clearly shows Sirisena was unaware of the provision and no one has educated him on it. Had he read t, President Sirisena would not have become confident that Ranil Wickremesinghe is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament”?

How could he be confident” that the SLFP majority in Parliament, by 30 votes, would meekly elevate Ranil Wickremesinghe – a man who couldn’t win an election to save his life – to the prime minister’s chair? Wasn’t President Sirisena aware that the group that is smarting under the ousting of their leader -which they consider is illegitimately done by minority interests – is controlling the parliament? The whole affair, the obvious lack of a logical thinking process and its execution among the new clique is plain stupid.

The short-sighted appointment of Ranil Wickremasinghe will make the normal functioning of the current regime impossible because they, in their incompetent governance, have provided the SLFP parliamentary party with the ammunition to shoot them down before they take their first political steps by declaring no confidence on Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The only way out for President Sirisena would be to dissolve parliament and conduct fresh elections. Now that the true nature of the composition of the ‘WIN’ has begun to worry the majority Sinhala Buddhist voters in the hinterlands, they are not like to elect UNP members for any reason.

In any event, Ranil Wickremesinghe is unlikely to be prime minister, and the 100 day program will be still-born.

The fun will begin then.

6 Responses to “Low prospects of Ranil continuing as prime minister”

  1. Nanda Says:

    “The appointment clearly shows Sirisena was unaware of the provision and no one has educated him on it. Had he read t, President Sirisena would not have become confident that Ranil Wickremesinghe is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament”?”

    – The writer is not aware of the simple fact that modern politicians are supported by legal advisory. The president need not be a lawyer, engineer, doctor.

  2. Christie Says:

    India succeeded in 2005 but the winner did not suck to India. 2010 India failed again. India won this time again and only the time will tell what will happen. Will Chandrika a former puppet be the puppeteer. She has done a great job and fruits of a decade of work has paid off for the time being. She will not be out of pocket for the moment but will depend on her Coolies. Jai Hind.

  3. Wickrama Says:

    Nanda,
    “The president need not be a lawyer, engineer, doctor.”

    True, but he has to be intelligent at least to read the constitution and understand simple English, OR Sinhalese, (or Tamil)

    HOWEVER, it appears that what matters is the President’s “OPINION” that Ranil is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament. Apperently, MS (together with Ranil, CBK and others) must have had prior knowledge that more MPs will cross over if he won.

  4. Vimutti Says:

    >>>Wickrama Says:
    January 12th, 2015 at 7:04 pm<<<

    We will see on Monday the 19th when Parliament returns just how much 'confidence' they have in Ranil as Prime Minister.

  5. SenaD Says:

    Vimutti,

    You said: “We will see on Monday the 19th when Parliament returns just how much ‘confidence’ they have in Ranil as Prime Minister.”

    The UPFA is on record having told that they will support the !00 day programme on point by point basis, whatever the intended meaning is.

    It may include not opposing RW as PM; on the other hand if they still have strength in numbers they might reject him, instal a nominee of theirs as PM and then on cooperate with the 100 day programme still on a point by point basis.

    Of course many more MPs could change sides to ‘strength the hand of the president’ making RW’s position very secure.

    We are living in interesting times. I hope it will not be too interesting leading to bloodshed.

  6. NAK Says:

    Yes,RW will be the Prime Minister until the next election. If they fail to break in to SLFP before that the 100 day show will be over. Interesting times ahead.
    Clearly it was India that did MR,not just the western money and this is not the first time India betrayed Mahinda.
    India like the US only cares for thier interests and the rest comes next but this short sighted decision to oust MR will come haunt them for some time.
    Wait till they have a few terror attacks planned and executed from Sri Lanka by the ISIS or jihadists. They will be begging for MR.

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