Heads we win tails you lose?
Posted on October 31st, 2018

Editorial Courtesy The Island

Thursday 1st November, 2018


The Sirisena-Rajapaksa government claimed, immediately after sacking Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, that many UNP MPs were falling over themselves to back it. The SLPP/UPFA leaders boasted that they were equal to the task of wresting control of Parliament, which was prorogued. But it has turned out to be no turkey shoot for the government. There have been no mass defections from the UNP unlike in the past, and crossovers are coming in dribs and drabs.

Engineering defections is the forte of the newly appointed government leaders. They have set about the business of horse-trading as if to the manner born and already sprung some surprises for the UNP, but where the numbers game is concerned ‘it ain’t over till the fat lady sings’. Both sides to the dispute are backed by moneybags and, therefore can offer amounts which most politicians cannot refuse.

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa have taken a huge gamble in forming a government without a parliamentary majority. Are they being as optimistic as the penniless soul who walked into a posh restaurant and ordered oysters for dinner, hoping to pay the bill with pearls to be found in them? It may also be argued that theirs is not a leap in the dark. Why have they formed a government in the most controversial manner? Higher Education Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, who crossed over to the government on Monday, answered this question, at a media briefing on Tuesday.

There are two possibilities anent the outcome of the ongoing numbers game. The government will either manage to muster a simple majority in parliament or fail to do so. If it can raise the required numbers, the UNP and its allies will be relegated to the political wilderness once again. But what will be the situation it fails to secure the vote on account to be presented to Parliament? Dr. Rajapakshe tells us that in such an eventuality the President is constitutionally empowered to dissolve Parliament forthwith and a general election will have to be held within two months.

Going by Dr. Rajapakshe’s argument, should government’s vote on account come a cropper, then a general election would precede Provincial Council (PC) polls, which have been postponed indefinitely on account of delimitation issues.

The dissolution of Parliament is a worrisome proposition for many MPs, especially those who have to complete five years to qualify for pension and/or are not confident of retaining their seats at the next general election. The Sirisena-Rajapaksa government is apparently trying to enlist the support of these MPs within the Opposition ranks to obtain a working majority.

Facing an election is the last thing the UNP also wants. It is still reeling from the mid-term electoral disaster on Feb. 10. It has done everything possible to postpone the provincial council elections. The JVP, too, is not confident of facing an election at this juncture. Out of its desperation to have the PC polls delayed, it even chose to bite the bullet and back the PC Elections (Amendment) Bill, which was loaded with sections sans judicial approval, at the committee stage.

If the Feb. 10 Local Government polls results are anything to go by, then the SLPP, the UPFA and the SLFP (which went it alone in some areas) have among them 58% of the votes as opposed to the UNP’s 32.6%. The Sirisena-Rajapaksa administration calls itself an interim administration and, in other words, it looks forward to a general election. It seems to think that it stands to gain whichever way the vote on its mini budget may go—heads we win, tails you lose. Hope is said to spring eternal.

2 Responses to “Heads we win tails you lose?”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    “But what will be the situation it fails to secure the vote on account to be presented to Parliament? Dr. Rajapakshe tells us that in such an eventuality the President is constitutionally empowered to dissolve Parliament forthwith and a general election will have to be held within two months.”

    “Facing an election is the last thing the UNP also wants.”

    This is what I have been WRITING at Lankaweb ever since the UNP Govt was SUMMARILY EJECTED!

    INDEED, HEADS the NEW GOVT WINS, TAILS the OLD GOVT LOSES!

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    If Ranil-Baba, the leader of the 40-Thieves, really wants to prove he has majority support AT THE PRESENT TIME, let him seek it from the VOTERS of our Motherland, and not the MPs in Parliament ELECTED 31/2 years ago!

    The DISMAL MANAGEMENT PERFORMANCE & DESHADROHI ACTIVITIES of his Yamapalana Govt has COMPLETELY CHANGED the PERCEPNTION of it among the VOTERS. As such, the UNP MPs elected 3 1/2 years ago no longer command the support of Sri Lanka’s VOTERS!

    Therefore, let Rannil-Baba and his 40 Thieves support the DISSOLUTION of the Parliaments, and seek a mandate …. if they can get it … from the ultimate deciders: the VOTING CITIZENS of Sri Lanka, instead of trying to use the MPs of his DISCREDITED Govt elected 3 1/2 years ago!

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