THE CHALLENGES TO NEXT PRESIDENT OF SRI LANKA
Posted on June 25th, 2018

BY EDWARD THEOPHILUS

Who will be the candidates of next presidential election in Sri Lanka, which is scheduled to take place in 2019, have not announced by any political party in the country, but there are many speculations and gossips in the country as usual habits.  The executive presidential system brought to the country in 1978 and the system has tremendously contributed to many reforms in regard to policy developments and implementations in the country and to eliminate the civil war in 2009.  There is no doubt that executive presidency is the most remarkable symbol originated in the political administration of Sri Lanka after the independence, despite the stupid attitudes of certain groups of the country against the distinguish allegorical representation. A  similar type of presidential institutions is in many other countries in the world, but they are not criticised by the citizens of those countries.   During the short history of Sri Lanka since 1978, different types of presidents have been holding the position and the conspicuous persons held the position were Mr. JR Jayewardene and Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, who productively used the position to bring a massive contribution to the country.

The next president will be the most alluring person in Sri Lanka as the majority of people of Sri Lanka have impartial and honest assessment that current president’s rule has intimated to misuse democratic values, national unity and to disregard economic growth and the power of marginal people of the country in spite of the promises given in 2015. People have no idea, who will come forward as competitive characters in the next presidential candidates but news media attempt to highlight that a candidate of SLPP shall be a preference of the majority, especially Sinhala people reckon that Mr Gotabaya has demonstrated essential skills as a defense secretary and the authority of urban development. However, there are many arguments for the impossibility of this particular candidate, which are not familiar to ordinary people of Sri Lanka.

Whoever will be the next president, he/she has specific challenges at current economic, political and social framework.  The major challenges are related to the economy as entire population’s expectation is positively related to the performance of the economy.  The hope of Sri Lankans directs towards the executive president is to give an efficient and effective leadership to create an economic power based in Sri Lanka to the Asian region.  This dream has been going on since the political independence in 1948 and Mr. JR Jayewardene with the power of executive presidency attempted or laid the foundation stone in 1978 but it was destroyed by LTTE war, which was eliminated by Mr. Rajapaksa in 2009.  Now people have renewed the dream and expect to achieve from the elected president in 2019.

The attempt of facing the challenge to creating an economic power base in Asia, there are two serious barriers to Sri Lanka, however, the new president should be able to overcome such barriers using the strategic vision.  When compared to developed countries in the world, a significant contributor to economic achievements was the role of natural resources of countries.  Except for few countries, all other developed countries have mining resources, which contributes a considerable ratio to the national income and foreign exchange inflow.  The truth about Sri Lanka is that it has no such a foundation.  The second significant barrier is the support from a large developed nation to achieve economic targets.  In the Asian region, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and many other countries gained strong support from either USA or China or other countries for economic success.  Since independence, Sri Lanka has not been supported by any developed nation, although India is a larger country with an expanded economy situated closer to Sri Lanka, obviously, India has no clear willingness to support, but it has indifferent attitudes towards neighbors.  India regards the economic support from other countries to neighbours as a threat to its security and secretly attempt to destroy the attempts of neighbours.  When Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa attempted to overcome this barrier gaining supports from China, India attempted to annihilate the opportunity with the Western supports in 2015.

The prospective president needs to clearly understand these two barriers and to overcome the problem.  Therefore, next president of the country should be a visionary leader as well as a brave person to take right decisions as Mr. JR Jayewardene stated during the Indo-Lanka agreement, next president must be able to live under the shadow of India without surrendering, which means understand Indian attitudes toward Sri Lanka beyond doubt and respond to Indian aspirations without allowing to create problems against Sri Lanka.  India will not like to create any power base in the country, which will threaten the stability and integrity of India.  The strong economic growth and development in Sri Lanka shall helpful India to expand its trade with Sri Lanka. Most probably, Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa understands the reality of two barriers.

The economic challenge concerns with several areas of the economy, which include increasing the size of economy to US $ 350 billion or Per Capita Income to US$ 15000 per year, Foreign Reserves to US $ 250 billion, limiting foreign debt to 35% of GDP, reducing the budget deficit to 3% of GDP, increasing the foreign value Sri Lanka Rupee, which US$ 1.00 equals to SLR 60, unemployment less than 5%, increase in foreign direct investment and protecting private business and investments, increasing productivity and competitive quality of products and services of Sri Lanka. With these target Sri Lanka needs radically changing the spending pattern and the ownership of public enterprises sharing the responsibility with private sector.  The economic challenges are not overnight achievable but they are a long-term success with right policy developments and correcting failures with meticulous monitoring and remedial management. People of Sri Lanka expects overnight enrichment like going overseas and earning a big salary package. But it is not the way for economic development.   To achieve economic targets, Sri Lanka needs to change the attitudes of people, which are influenced by dishonest elements, myths, jealous and many other mistrusts and needs to gain the corporation of religious leaders of different devotionals and all races.

To successfully face economic challenges, the president needs to give the leadership to change political culture and social fabric.  The political culture of Sri Lanka highly related to dishonesty and misunderstanding.  Although economic development and politics cannot discernment, politics should be limited to leadership motivation and economy should direct focus on hard working and achievements.  The current Sri Lanka has no policy personnel with theoretical knowledge, practical skills, and experience.  The adventure after 2015 indicated that lack of policy people with knowledge, skills, and experience opened the way for dishonest personnel such as Arjuna Mahendran, Arjuna Alocius, Paskaralingam, Palihena and many others to play in the economy.  People who associated with policy work in Sri Lanka since 1978, identified these shifty characters who were bull shiting crooks, but the political authority did not listen to genuine people.  Therefore, accountability should go along with economic policy and performance.

Changing politics should be based on the reality.  Without any difference, respecting to the diversity of Sri Lanka, there may be required to make constitutional changes, which satisfy the Indian attitudes within the executive presidential system.  Current social fabric in the country heavily involved in mythology and the country needs an intelligent nation changing the social fabric, which in current format prevents all progressive policy activities. Scientific thinking promotes the changes in the social fabric opening the way for modernization. Sri Lanka needs modernization and people knows the Japanese history agree with the changing social fabric through modernization.

The next important challenge is the reestablishment of law and orders in the country and the establishing development-oriented education.  The decline of law and order has appeared since independence but it was promoted by the elected government in 1970 promoting a political authority based on party politics. Political authority supports to give a leadership for plan implementation but it doesn’t mean that good governance should be overcome by the political authority in plan implementation process.

Education policy is the key to successful economic development and creating an intelligent nation.  Since 1965, Sri Lanka’s government involved in establishing degree factories as universities, which were unable to produce knowledge, skilled, quality and intelligent graduates. Students are always in strikes than spending for learning and research and at the end of the year they are given a piece paper called a degree certificate which does not certify the knowledge, skills and the intelligence of the holder.  The university degree certificate should indicate the ability of holder to perform tasks.  The entire education structure of the universities needed to be changed to produce good policymakers and implementors for the country.

The other important part is to promote quality of the workforce absorbing TVET system, which trains each person in the country, who are incapable enter the university with a view to becoming competent in different fields. The competency is defined as the combination of the requirement to perform individual tasks in a trade, the requirement to manage a number of different tasks, the requirement to respond to irregularities and breakdown in routine and the requirement to deal with the responsibilities and expectation of work environment.  The challenge is to reform entire education and training system to generate intelligent and competent workforce to create a productive society.

The challenge of the next president is broadened to give a leadership for an independent foreign policy which could deal with India, China, America, Russia, Europe, Middle East countries and all others. These challenges show that Sri Lanka needs a candidate for presidentship with experience, knowledge, skilled, understanding, impartial and a brave person.  Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa has demonstrated the abilities compared to all other proposed candidates.

3 Responses to “THE CHALLENGES TO NEXT PRESIDENT OF SRI LANKA”

  1. aloy Says:

    Agree that SL should be non aligned but getting support from both East and West as much as possible. Gota appears to be the person who fits into the description given above. But the dilemma is he will come with baggage full of corrupt people and whether he will be able to extricate himself from the lot.

  2. Hiranthe Says:

    I agree with Aloy!

    He has proved his capability and will not misuse the position.

    The comments which he makes that the decision on the next presidential candidate lies with MR proves that he is not big headed and proud due to his popularity and further proves the values he carries and his loyalty to his elder brother.

    These values we need in the whole nation.

  3. Christie Says:

    What we need is freedom from India and Indian Colonial Parasites.

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