“O that way madness lies; let me shun that;” -King Lear
Posted on August 29th, 2015

by Gnana Moonesinghe Courtesy Island

In the absence of justice what is sovereignty but organized robbery. Saint Augustine

Political concepts – national government, unity government, coalition government, constructive opposition so many of them are flying around! Confusion galore – genuine misunderstanding or misperception of the content of these concepts and or a deliberate infusion of mix up with intent to mislead is making the post parliamentary election scenario baffling. It is disheartening that the parliamentary election results did not give a convincing majority to any one party. The simple majority that the UNP secured could have been built upon but politics has become no longer the art of the possible; it has become the art of the contrived. The straight road is not possible to take; the road is deliberately strewn with a difficult terrain, hard to maneuver. But the road has to be traversed to reach the end, and in this political context to reach a decisive finality.

A government has to be formed. The people voted for it. Whether they voted wisely or not is neither here nor there. The matter is closed. Those at the helm have to make do with what permutations and combinations are possible and get a government going to fulfill the task of serving the people. Therefore whether the attempt at government making is to form a national government, a unity government or a coalition remains in the hands of those elected. Their personal interests or political party agenda has to be of extraneous concern to the immediate task assigned to them by the electorate. People have pressing needs, concerns and aspirations. They are not timeless demands vested in their elected representatives; they are time bound marked ‘URGENT’.

The call even prior to the elections was to install a government that could operate on a consensual foundation so that some of the pressing issues facing the nation can be resolved with a decisive finality, remiss in past agreements or understandings. Obviously the possible alliances cannot be with parties with homogenous viewpoints. If that was so, then there would have been no need for different party affiliations. It may be less complicated to call the hoped for alliance a get together within an agreed time frame rather than give it a conventional name such as unity government or national government etc. as it seems to give rise to such controversies and controversial positions.

Usually this getting together of political parties happens during a time of war or other national emergency. Already within the two major parties attempting to coalesce there are other parties who have made common cause with the major party of their choice. Therefore the ‘getting together’ idea within a larger grouping cannot be an alien concept. It just requires a responsive mindset among the parties to think beyond themselves, their narrow personality and parochial interests and take a leap to view the national horizon. From this point it is a question of planning strategies to provide peace and security, law and order and economic development, all of which are features to provide an acceptable quality of life to the people.

Sri Lanka needs foreign direct investment to make this move forward. A bickering group of politicians will not be able to entice investments. Investors look not only towards feasibility and profitability of their investments but they also look to a peaceful environment to have their investments insured with the acceptance of all the stakeholders in the country. A ‘got together’ government will help to speed up progress of an agreed program of work which under other circumstances will get embroiled in discussions, arguments and counter arguments to score brownie points for narrow political advantage. National gain can and must only be measured from the point of the benefit that can accrue to the people and certainly not to their representatives.

This is a time of crisis. An unconventional election was fought where an ex-president was fighting to become an MP in a government headed by a president who succeeded him from the same party. These are options only possible in Sri Lanka. It was also an election where the cry of divisive ethnic stance was taken up on political platform by the UPFA while the president remained unequivocal in challenging such anti national attempts by resonating his call for reconciliation and resolution of outstanding minority issues along with the need to look at parochial matters pertaining to the rural poor hitherto overlooked in the umbrella coverage of national development strategies – water problem in Polonnaruwa, land to the displaced in Sampur.

While experienced senior politicians are quibbling with words and concepts in political terminology it is indeed timely to ask the question why any one of them opt to be in politics? It is also timely to remind the Hon. MPs that a government is put in place for the welfare of the people and not to jostle for positions for MPs or for their party! All governments by virtue of being institutionalized exercise its authority to initiate and guide its economic, social and administrative role and put into effect the responsibility that is attached to it. In the execution of the mandate on which the government rests, auxiliary bodies need to be institutionalized for the convenience of the people of this country so that their rights, needs and expectations find expression in government fiats.

The repeal of the 18th Amendment and the passing of the 19thAmendment – even in its diluted form- proclaimed the legal restrictions placed on the authoritarian reach of the Executive. It is however necessary to be pre-warned that the use of constitutional prevarication to subvert the sovereignty of the people is to be deplored as much as the overt attempts in the past. Good governance should be open to transparent, accountable administration. The promise of Right to Information, free and fair access to judicial and administrative redress, dedicated awareness of the reality of Sri Lanka as a plural society and human rights as an inherent right of every individual are what Yahapalanya spells out to us citizens.

The change anticipated since January 8 – some of which had been secured – together with the ‘March 12 Declaration’ for electing men and women of moral character untainted with charges of drug peddling, casino culture along with its baggage of drugs, alcoholism, prostitution and other criminal activities which nets in kidnappings, disappearances and killings opened up further an environment of hope for ‘clean’ living. Much to the disappointment of the many the March 12 call was largely ignored and the January 8 expectation for change remains diminished.

To combat the adverse effect of the persistence of the ambitious parliamentarian fighting for the satisfaction of their personal ambitions, the leadership of the two parties that have signed the MOU should swiftly take steps to clinch the negotiations with the country’s interest uppermost in their minds. There is no doubt that if the former president were to call his MPs from the UPFA to fall in line it will be obeyed pronto. That would end the prevailing shameless behavior among the individual MPs clamouring for positions. It is possible that by the time this gets to the press some patched up accommodation may have been hatched. It is time that the haggling for positions and schemes to obstruct progress is put aside and national interest given precedence. Differences must be thrashed out and policies and strategies based on the manifestos worked out for collaboration to work together in the interests of the people.

 

8 Responses to ““O that way madness lies; let me shun that;” -King Lear”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    People voted for UNP and UPFA separately. NOT to work together!! A VIABLE OPPOSITION is needed for a democracy.

    SL is a ONE PARTY DICTATORSHIP today like NORTH KOREA, CUBA or CHINA.

    ONLY hope people have is the collapse of this UNP led govt. due to economic meltdown. From trade unions to parliament, everyone should support this hope.

  2. somapala Says:

    The comment shows that there are few people who utter hatred towards the new government. The writer wants the killer with a saintly smile to return with cohorts like Johnston, Prasann, Sarana G and continue with his acts of gross thuggery.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    Better LATE than NEVER …. FORM a NEW Party to Provide Leadership to the Patriots while the Ship Jumping Hogs Wallow in Somarama Sirisena’s slop trough!

    …………………………
    Mahinda Rajapaksa’s allies to form new Lanka opposition alliance

    Aug 29 (PTI) COLOMBO- Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s allies are planning to form a new opposition alliance, breaking away from President Maithripala Sirisena’s United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) coalition, senior leftist leaders said today.

    “We are looking to form a new political front. We are having talks with different groups,” Tissa Vitharana of the Trotskyist Lanka Samasamaja Party (LSSP) said.

    Vitharana was a senior minister under Rajapaksa in his near decade old regime which ended in January.

    “We have to form a new front, we are against this national government arrangement,” Vasudeva Nanayakkara of another left party said.

    With the August 17 parliamentary election results and Sirisena’s decision to form a coalition government of national unity between the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) and Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), the old left have felt overlooked and ignored by Sirisena.

    None of them were picked by Sirisena to fill in the national list parliamentary seat allocation which the UPFA won on August 17. These parties played a main role in the return to politics of Rajapaksa since his defeat in January.

    The old left parties have been part of the UPFA since its formation in 2004 as an anti UNP political front. The coalition ruled the country between 2004 and early this year.

    Vitharana and Dinesh Gunawardena, the leaders of the nationalist Mahajana Eksath Permauna (MEP) have accused Sirisena of breaking the UPFA coalition.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Ado LORENZO the TREACHEROUS Facebook HYPOCRITE!

    But, but, but …. YOU are the one who was ADVOCATING and HOISTING Somarama Sirisena and the Yamapalaanaya Junta on the Patriots here!

    We will NEVER FORGET your TREACHERY … you EELAMIST AGITATOR! So, STOP PREACHING to US here on what to do …. we will not accept the words of a BLOODY TRAITOR to the Patriotic Cause!

    SHAMELESS MODAYA thinking we don’t know what he has DONE and what he is DOING now!

  5. Techno Says:

    Lorenzo,

    You are crying about the 13A now and correctly so.

    Were you thinking about the 13A and scrapping it in January 2015 when you openly supported this ugly regime and played an active role in bringing it to power?

  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    Opposition should appoint Sri Lanka’s Opposition Leader, not President, NFF leader says

    Aug 30, Colombo: The leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF), a constituent party of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa says the opposition leader of the Parliament should be chosen by MPs who sit in opposition and not by the President.

    Speaking to Media today, Weerawansa asked how can a national government can be formed when the opposition leader will get a ministerial post and members from the Sri Lanka freedom Party (SLFP) will be given the choice to go to the other side.

    The SLFP Central Committee allowed elected SLFP MPs to sit in opposition if they do not wish to support the national government. However, the Central Committee empowered the President to decide on an opposition leader and the ministerial portfolios given to SLFP members of the National Government.

    The NFF leader said that the so called National Government bringing a proposal in parliament to increase the ministerial portfolios is contradictory to the Constitution.

    He explained that in order to create a National Government, the SLFP must become stakeholders in the government and there will be no need for an opposition.

    “Even if parties hold positions in the government or not, they will all become stakeholders in the government. However, such political streams do not become so-called stakeholders in the government not even the entire Sri Lanka Freedom party,” he said.

    Weerawansa said the government cannot implement such a proposal and bringing in such a proposal is contradictory to the constitution.

    Speaking to BBC Sandeshaya Weerawansa said the President is killing the country’s democracy by appointing the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, the Opposition Leader and the Chief Organizer of the Opposition all by himself.

    Weerawansa said that it was not sufficient to allow SLFP MPs to sit in opposition. They should be free to act as they wish within the opposition.

    He said the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and several SLFP MPs will sit in the opposition with the other UPFA members.

  7. Ananda-USA Says:

    SLFP rejects TNA’s claim for opposition leader post

    By Chris Kamalendran
    SundayTimes.lk
    August 30, 2015

    Main Tamil alliance rocked by breakaway group over National List

    The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) last night rejected a call by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) for recognition as the main opposition party in Parliament. The move was aimed at making Rajavarothiam Sampanthan as Leader of the Opposition.
    “The Opposition Leader’s post should be given to the party which has the highest number of members and are not supporting the National Government,” Acting General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake told the Sunday Times.

    He said the person holding that office will be announced when Parliament meets on Tuesday. Early yesterday the TNA sought recognition as the main opposition in Parliament even while a third of its new elected parliamentarians were rebelling against the leadership.

    The TNA, which contested the August 17 parliamentary elections as ITAK, said in a statement issued yesterday that there is “no question whatsoever of the UPFA sitting in opposition in Parliament.” This is because the UNP and the UPFA which will form a National Government with a joint Cabinet of Ministers “would bear collective cabinet responsibility.” As political parties in Parliament, the statement said, “they must publicly support all Government decisions made in the Cabinet.”

    TNA leader Sampanthan told the Sunday Times, “We are entitled to the post of Opposition Leader.” His remarks came as six parliamentarians of the TNA were planning to meet in Colombo today. One of the contentious issues with the leadership is a demand that Suresh Premachandran and Vino Noharthalingam who lost the elections be named on the TNA National List. The two who have now been named on the TNA National List are Shanthi Shri Skandaraja and K. Thurairatnasingham.

    Mr. Sampanthan defended his party’s decision. He said, “The National List vacancies were shared on the principle agreed by TNA partners. There was no discrimination and we have given an opportunity to a female candidate too.” Shiva Shakthi Ananthan, newly elected TNA parliamentarian for the Wanni District, confirmed that the group of six MPs would meet today in Colombo. The TNA has 16 members in the new Parliament.

    The TNA statement said that both President Maithripala Sirisena and the Government had gone public “in a commitment to treat the Tamil people as equal citizens of this country.” It added, “However, a reluctance to recognise the democratically elected representatives of the Tamil people of the North and East as the main opposition party when such is clearly the case can only be reflective of an unwillingness to honour this commitment….”

    The SLFP/UPFA group that is unlikely to support the National Government and sit in the Opposition is estimated to number at least 25 MPs. The SLFP Central Committee which met on Friday gave President Sirisena who is also the party leader the authority to nominate the leader of the opposition from the SLFP.

    In 1977, Appapillai Amirthalingam who headed the Tamil United Liberation front (TULF), the precursor to the TNA, became the Leader of the Opposition when the SLFP won only 8 seats in that year’s general elections. All TULF MPs resigned en bloc in 1982 in protest against the 6th Amendment and Anura Bandaranaike became the Leader of the Opposition from the SLFP.

  8. veddah Says:

    Sri Lanka has a peaceful electorate . However it is necessary to introduce a third force. Unless and until that happens 5here will be a tug of war. My suggestion is to allow Syrian refugees to enter Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is an excellent country . Why not behave like one. If Germany can entertain nearly a million Sri Lanka can invite 30 thousand or even 100,000. This will focus attention on generosity and kindness rather than the eternal struggle between just TWO communities. Before you dismiss me as mad and irrational, think about the so called developed countries. Germany, Sweden etc have taken Syrians. Greece does not want them. Greece ‘s financial woes may disappear if it welcomed a few hard working people. Sri Lanka may also benefit and most importantly would be doing a humanitarian duty to a needy people.

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