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Democracy in Sri Lanka Fact or Fiction ?

By Pon Kulendiren ([email protected])

Democracy in Sri Lanka in going Crazy. As in the case of South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and even Singapore, democracy is dominated by the Family dynasty. Only selected segment of the Sri Lankans are affluent enough to come to power. Although a candidate is elected by the people for his policies through democratic methods, hopping from one party to another for the sake of power is a common feature in Sri Lanka.

The party in power abuses the government machinery such as Radio. TV, Transport etc. during an election. Although the definition of Democracy is "that it is the government by the people for the people and to the people " the definition may be rephrased as " it is the government by an affluent family, for the affluent family and to the affluent family". As result of this family feuds creeps into the parliament.

In Great Britain, the mother of democracy, the family dynasty has little or no influence in a democratic election. There is no image building of the family or hero worshipping. People do not have the fear in voting for the party they like or speak in public about their support to the party. But the story is different in Sri Lanka. After an election the democracy gets a beating through the occurrence of communal riots or violence. The party that loose or supporters of the party are witch hunted. Resources and valuable are time are wasted in appointing commissions. When there is a change of power at the next elections, the winners again witch hunt the losers.

The media too, by taking political sides, fails to give a helping hand to the democracy to be a fact, This again is due to the control of media by family dynasty. Money, Thuggery, Caste, Language and Religion play an important part in a democratic election. Important factors such as unity of the people, honesty, economic developments, Progressive ideas. and raising of the living standards etc. take a back seat. People love to get involved in politics not to serve the people and develop the country but to achieve power, wealth and comfort. What they promise to the people to come to power is seldom delivered. In order to over shadow the important issues such as unemployment, cost of living, Balance of Trade, Economic developments, Health, Housing, Food & Price control, Education, security etc. most destructive issues such as Communalism, Language, Religion, Bribery and corruption, etc. are given prominence. The standard and ethics of politicians has deteriorated in the last 48 years. This is a common feature in South Asian countries. Due to this democracy has gone crazy and is not in reality.

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