D-day in Parliament
Posted on April 3rd, 2018

By Dr. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA Courtesy The Island

It is a simple matter of ethics. If Prime Minister Wickremesinghe hasn’t resigned, it is quite simply because, firstly, he doesn’t know right from wrong and secondly, he doesn’t know how to conduct himself in public affairs in accordance with international norms, including those in Asia and the global South.

He doesn’t think it was wrong to import and implant Arjuna Mahendran, a non-citizen, as Governor of the Central Bank despite the advice of the President and a clear issue of a conflict of interest.

He doesn’t see it as wrong that he defended Mahendran from charges of wrong-doing when the bond scam story gathered momentum and the weight of evidence.

He doesn’t think it was wrong to damage the UNP, the government and the President by his acts of omission and commission (no pun intended) in this regard.

He doesn’t think that he should accept responsibility for a huge error of judgment which led to massive financial losses to the country.

He doesn’t believe in apologizing, taking responsibility for his huge mistake and resigning.

In short his standards of political behavior and conduct in public affairs, leaves much to be desired.

So the no-confidence motion is going down to the wire. Some parties will make their decisions only on the day itself. This isn’t good because it means that there is no compromise in sight—the only possible compromise being the voluntary resignation of the prime Minister, just as the President of Peru resigned a few weeks ago, to spare his government precisely such a trial by fire in the legislature, on grounds of countenancing corruption. The absence of such an exit from the crisis in Sri Lanka reveals the inflexibility and intransigence on the part of the PM and his party, the UNP.

There is a major difference between adherence to principle on the one hand, and rigidity on the other. An analysis of the rise of extremism and the attendant phenomenon of violent upheavals throughout the world and over time show that two factors play a major causative role. One is the inflexibility, rigidity, intransigence, of the establishment. The other is the unwillingness or inability of liberal reformers to prevail over such intransigence.

The Sri Lankan situation is demonstrating the presence of the first of these two factors. We shall see on April 4th whether or not the second factor is also present.

Those of us who do not wish to see the growth of extremism in our society once again have to wish and work for the factor of intransigence to be replaced by flexibility or for the moderate reformers to be willing and able to prevail over the dogmatically inflexible.

Translated into simpler political terms, we have to hope that either the PM steps down or that the SLFP and the UNP dissidents are sufficiently strong, numerous and determined to join the JO in prevailing over the PM’s intransigence and the UNP’s dogmatically conformist loyalty to him.

While flexibility usually ensures survival either by being as supple as the bamboo or capable of generating change from within, rigidity leaves only three possibilities of change—explosion, implosion or crack-up (rupture).

What does Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and the UNP parliamentary group’s rigidity reveal? It reveals three characteristics. One is ossification—the inability to generate change. They are stagnant and static. The other is that of arrogance. The third is myopia, the inability to see beyond their collective nose.

If the PM does not resign and manages to squeak past the no-confidence motion, how is he going to govern? The SLFP or most of it will leave. The government will crack up.

It will also lose its two-thirds majority. The JO and SLFP will form a strong opposition. The Judicature Act (making for Special Courts) has already been deemed to need a two thirds majority in Parliament since some of its clauses are inconsistent with the Constitution. Even legislation which needs only a simple majority may be blocked by the President.

Soon, the PM and the UNP, with or without the TNA, will run into stormy weather. There have been periods like this when the UNP was well past its midpoint and headed rapidly downhill though it didn’t know that. The years 1953-1956 and 1967-1970 are cases in point. It is not only the UNP that has experienced this accelerated downturn. I vividly recall the United Front government of Madam Bandaranaike in 1974-1977, from the Government Printer’s strike through to the Peradeniya student shooting, the student uprising island-wide, the railway strike, the general strike and the break-up of the government. Radicalization is rife at this stage of the game.

Only Ranasinghe Premadasa was able to turn things around even at this late stage but he had been Prime Minister –and a dissenting one– for a whole decade before he was given the Presidential nomination in 1988. However, if Sajith Premadasa were given the Presidential candidacy in 2019, he would be unable to turn things around, because the damage done by Ranil Wickremesinghe to the economy and the party would be far greater than that done by the Jayewardene administration.

If the PM squeaks through today’s no-confidence motion, he will not regain social legitimacy or popularity, nor will his and Mangala’s economic policies win the government any votes. The UNP will lack the social shock-absorber and human shield that the SLFP provides because it will leave government, so keen is it to put a distance between itself and socially toxic Ranilist UNP which brings in its wake a predictable electoral disaster next year.

Reports disclose that President Sirisena warned the UNP against propping itself up with TNA votes in parliament. Evidently a UNP Minister was shocked and said that the President has forgotten his own reliance on the TNA in January 2015. “Sirisena had also warned the United National Party (UNP) that it would be political suicide for Wickremesinghe to defeat the no-confidence resolution by getting the votes of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). Leaning on the main minority Tamil party would alienate the nationalist vote of the Sinhalese majority, Sirisena had argued, only to be told that he too had won the January 2015 election thanks to the minorities, including the Tamils.” (EconomyNext, April 03, 2018)

What the UNP fails to understand is that (a) 2018 is not 2015 (b) a Presidential election is not a motion of no-confidence on a vast fraud and (c) Maithripala Sirisena, the General-Secretary of the moderate nationalist SLFP and former acting Defense Minister (on occasion) of a war winning administration, is not Ranil Wickremesinghe. When Maithripala Sirisena obtains TNA support, the optics are quite different from when Ranil Wickremesinghe does so (and on a shameful bond scam too). Sirisena could afford to; Wickremesinghe cannot.

If it is propped up by the TNA today, Ranil’s UNP which already has a target painted on its front will have another painted on its back. TNA support may keep Ranil afloat in Parliament for the moment, but it would sink the UNP at upcoming elections and thereby sink itself as well.

9 Responses to “D-day in Parliament”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    BREAKING NEWS:

    Rauf Hakeem announced that the SLMC Exec Committee has decided to VOTE AGAINST the NCM tomorrow!

    This is ENTIRELY AS EXPECTED. I wonder what CONCESSIONS they EXTRACTED from the PAL-HORA PARA-GATHI AGA-MATHI and the UNPatritic party for this support!

    PATRIOTS! Remember TOMORROW WHO STOOD for Sri Lanka TODAY, and WHO STOOD AGAINST!

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    At last! The day has arrived.

    Lets see how each MP votes. Some may be HIDING in the parliament toilet too coward to come and vote. Lets see the traitors in LOIN (not LION) clothing.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    I completely AGREE with Dayan’s analysis: UNP reliance on and alliance with the TNA will SOUND the DEATH KNELL of the UNP at FUTURE ELECTIONS confirming its current reputation as a DESHADROHI Party beholden to and enslaved by Separatists and Communal minorities!

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Lorenzo the EELAMIST undercover agent!

    Forget about other people’s LOIN CLOTHS and worry about YOUR OWN MISSING FIG LEAF!

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    So, the Vote has finished in Parliament with a vote of 5:3 in favor of RW.
    Fear & Greed have won through, not RW.

  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    BREAKING NEWS!

    NCM DEFEATED! Ths idemonstrates the POWER of BOND SCAM MONEY used to BRIBE MPs.

    Now, the TNA will want to FAST-TRACK the New Constitution to GET THEIR EELAM, no doubt PROMISED by the DESHAD-DROHI PARA-GATHI AGA-MATHI to SURVIVE the NCM!

    Now, it is upto the PATRIOTS to IDENTIFY & PUNISH those who raised their hands in support of the NCM!

    TAR & FEATHER these CORRUPT BASTARDS in the NEXT ELECTION!

    ……………………..
    No-Confidence Motion against Sri Lanka Prime Minister defeated
    Wed, Apr 4, 2018, 10:16 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Apr 04, Colombo: Sri Lanka parliament today comfortably defeated a no confidence motion brought by the Joint Opposition against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

    The no-confidence motion received 76 votes in support and 122 votes against, defeating the motion with a majority of 46 votes. Another 26 MPs including Minister Nishantha Muthuhettigama, who signed the NCM, abstained from voting

    Earlier the United National Party said they will vote to defeat the motion and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party said they will abstain from voting. However, a group of SLFP ministers including Ministers Dayasiri Jayasekara, Susil Premajayantha and WDA Seneviratne said they will vote against the Premier.

  7. Nihal Perera Says:

    Dr. Dayan Jayathilleke is spot on..!

    Ranil Wickremasingha is a pathetic loser, who is incompetent, and incapable of governing a country. If he had the common decency, he should have resigned after the Provincial election, knowing that majority of the voters have rejected him as PM, and his pie-in-the-sky economic policies.

  8. Ratanapala Says:

    Why are we all going on the premise that Ranil W is responsible for all what is happening in Sri Lanka politics. In my view he is only the Cat’s Paw used by Western Powers, India and the Colombo Rich. He has been given an agenda and a TO DO list. All what he is doing is following the script. He goes from one task to the other as if nothing happened with the unsuccessful previous task!

    Trying to give Ranil W too much credit only makes him look larger than life. He is not. He is of average intelligence and in a bind unable to extricate himself and live his ‘butterfly life’ in the days remaining of his life. If everything goes well he also has his unfulfilled dream of becoming the President of Sri Lanka one day in his bucket. He is a dreamer and there are enough and more greedy mindless knaves to help him dream and act his dreams without realizing that they are all helping UNP become more and more corrupt, undemocratic or rather more autocratic and more unpatriotic and anti- Buddhist.

    All those who voted and/or in anyway helped Ranil W stay in power even it is for the time being after winning the No Confidence Motion, are those who condone the massive Bond Fraud and all unpatriotic deeds of Ranil Wick Administration. It is now for the electorate be they SLFP – Sirisena faction or UNP to think country and nation first and act.

    The coming 18 months will be crucial in this regard. It is up to the Joint Opposition to select their campaign slogans intelligently, giving much thought, scrutiny and circumspection. After the NCM there is now a clear demarcation who is with the genuine opposition to Ranil W and his unpatriotic plans for Sri Lanka and those who are not.

    Patriots of all hues, be they SLFP, UNP or any other must unite to defeat the foreign threat to our Motherland!

  9. Lorenzo Says:

    So who STILL wants demo-crazy?

    Only a SANGHA-MILITARY takeover can save SL. Demo-crazy cannot.

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