Election Results: MID-TERM REPORT
Posted on July 30th, 2015
By GOMIN DAYASRI
Candidates made up, with make up, show pretty faces, virtually unrecognizable when met with their harassed appearances. Trick photography at photo shop makes them look younger and leaner. Strapped across are their numbers sans rugby jerseys but do a localized Haka with a smile on a platform.
Will the government and the opposition extract the votes they collected at the presidential elections held 10 months ago? If so, the result is foreknown but the emerging picture is more byzantine – campaigns geared for a ‘manape’ contest does not excite voters. Worse, it is the same old disreputable names recycled in vintage bottles.
Turn out would be lower than at the previous, if political parties treat voters shabbily by providing undesirables to vote for, an insult to their intelligence. Don’t take the voter for a sucker –if hurt, retribution will be harsh. Rajapakse suffered the first dose of the awful concoction: UNP had many more.
If the polling stations register a low slow poll on the morning of the elections, Rajapakse could sense a yellow card is drawn against him. If an aggressive poll materializes in the first three hours, means Mahinda is playing referee armed with a red card to throw at foul play. If the polling is regular it is a close election. This is an alternate formula for a homemade exit poll used by public servants at polling booths.
Watch for early returns of the postal vote. If the early results disclose a close call at the postal vote: so it will be at the final count. That vote was overwhelmingly for Rajapakse but now is more evenly distributed. Will this trend continue? It will reveal if the first three postal results show uniformity. Ordinary state employees vote with the government in power but a swing in the country will show if there is an anti or pro movement among public servants.
Previously, Mahinda carried the vote with the helping hand of his majesties services at his easy disposal that were over worked, overtime. This time he has to pay for space searched; cannot afford the same. Mahinda comes from a fractured party with dubious backers and decayed horsemen enjoying state patronage.
A motivated campaign can inspire people to carry Rajapakse way beyond? Crowds at his meetings are a stimulated bunch; does not run deep outside the captive audience. Rajapakse’s weakness primed the moment his motely crowd of candidates’ names surfaced. National list members have risen, as if, from the dead. It carries many rejected parliamentarians and featherweight intellects known for spinning yarns to put Mahinda to sleep. New faces have affinity to the discredited old. Rajapakse has people at the ground level because of the war victory but they remain dormant with a refusal to align with the candidates named. Where have all his young people gone…gone to slumber due to disuse and discard? You need be a progeny of the charmed circle to be counted.
Ranil cannot attract Sirisena’s vote bank that is grievously splintered with many pecking for a share of it. JVP is running on it’s own and is a more attractive proposition. Fonseka is carrying his negligible few but that few can make a difference since the majority is slim. The northern vote does not get aggregated at the national count and stops its progress at district level unlike at the presidential election. Tamils in the south have formed mushroom parties and will pick a share of the vote for keeps. JHU is fatally discredited and for survival depends on the UNP vote to gain respectability having forfeited the Sinhala Buddhist vote with its double talk.
Sirisena, the pin up boy of the past, is now a lost nowhere man. Remember it is the North that brought Sirisena to his glory and that vote will not be counted beyond the district. With a limited plus vote to attract, UNP reaches the near maximum on Sirisena’s aggregate. UNP has to retain that vote and not let it slide away. Its national list contains a share of Mahinda’s hidden loyalists in deceptive green caps. Why is a favorite son Karu Jayasuriya hidden without extracting a turbo boosts from otherwise a dismal Buddhist vote UNP possesses in the South? Inter party feuds are more important to the leadership than the importance of winning an election.
This leaves a large float vote idling. Mahinda’s campaign is not attracting the vote that floated away from him but the governance of the UNP, which is its own worse enemy, is drawing it towards Rajapakse, as are Mahinda’s candidates standing in the way of anchoring the dissatisfied youth with the UPFA.
Few months of Ravi Kaunanayake at Finance Ministry has done as much harm to the UNP as the Central Bank did to Rajapakse for years – in distancing the institutions from the peoples’ yearnings.
Arjuna Mahendra issue does not take the air borne route to the rural- it disturbs Colombo’s moneymen that will vote UNP, anyway, after mollycoddling the Rajapakse Family for years, now out of favor.
If the UNP is to win it has to hold on to the Facebook’s under – 35 vote that Sirisena acquired without a sweat. Vote is not static but the slippage is yet not coming in hordes since the UPFA campaign targets on the ‘manape’ vote without a damn to attract the impressionable new youth vote in the urban quarter. If UNP loses a substantial share of the urban middle class youth vote at elections 2015 it can occupy the opposition office again, as many groups are seeking good governance vote under diverse names alleging the UNP for its ineptitude. If the Colombo count becomes close; families and friends of these fringe ‘good governance’ groups with a few thousand votes can make the difference. Colombo, so far, is secure for the UNP but that is not good enough to win comprehensively as the rural vote is swinging against them except in sure Kandy and is marginally ahead in Puttlam and Badulla.
Badulla district is the place to watch – is a traditional UNP home. Unlock it: is a forerunner of the ultimate winner – a backward district that weathers changing fortunes and reads the Sri Lankan political chronicle correctly.
Few months ago when Sirisena won: Badulla district, bordered by pro-UNP Nuwara Eliya and pro- UPFA Moneragala, went with Sirisena picking a wafer thin majority of 261 votes; Rajapakse won only three of the nine constituencies namely Mahiyanganaya, Wiyaluwa and Uva Paranagama.
Looks easy for Rajapakse on paper in 2015 with the JVP and Fonseka in the field. They collected at the 2014 Pradesheeya Sabha elections respectively 20,625 and 4835 votes in Badulla district, which the UPFA won with a majority of 11348 votes. It reveals JVP and Fonseka votes count in the Badulla district results.
This time around UNP will clean the Indian Tamil vote with Thondaman loosing ground at the wage negotiations. But that vote is insufficient to register a win. It is the swing electorates of Welimada and Bandarawela that will decide the outcome to determine the winner of the critical Badulla district.
The general perception is different. UNP is expected to win with a smart campaign under Harin Fernando deemed attractive to the youth while the UPFA carries on with its usual colorless campaign concentrating to gain manapes instead of the district. Is the statistician going to undo public opinion?
However economic issues are more likely to take over. Falling prices for tea and rubber for small holders, with no guaranteed prices for the purchase of rice and other crops, denial of employment prospects in projects and construction and road activity are at a standstill with the cost of living rising sky high makes it fortunate being in the opposition.
Bid & Buy process of the elected representatives commences with the release of the election results. Election campaigns are financial windfalls for candidates of the major parties because black money gets into circulation in bulk from the vaults of the blue chips and secret drawers of the wheeler – dealers. A photo finish at the end of the contest is where the party whip loses the control of its winners. It will be a free fall like in bungee jumping. Its bonus time for the winning candidates, where money talks and tongues wag: the spotlight falls on the crossover artisans. Will the Yankee dollar outsmart the Chinese Yuan or the Indian Rupee hold sway to lasso around MPs of doubtful pedigrees? Local currency is candy- floss compared to supplies from Embassy Street. Final result is not contrived by voters but on the weight of hefty war chests provided by the alien powers –if the result is too close a call. Elections are democratic thus far and no further. Election Commissioner becomes a passive spectator.
Sirisena is stupid if he fails to act democratically in his presidential role, forgetting petty prejudices to over come the peoples will. He is safer with Ranil: owes much for propelling him to the present position. If Rajapakse wins and is not given due recognition, Parliament has the power to make financial cuts to make a President smaller in stature than the 19th amendment envisaged.
The silver line is in having a stable government after heavy traffic is acquired from the losing side but it would not last long in an environment where governments are compelled to last four and a half years according to the 19th amendment. Passing bucks will keep governments’ in office. J.R.Jayewardane strove to make his governments stable: his heirs strive to make it weak. Who will benefit…undoubtedly the opposition? Whose dunnit?