Strategic Implications of 18-Amendment Highly Desirable for Sri Lanka
Posted on September 8th, 2010

– Kumar Moses ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

There are those who support the 18-Amendment and those who oppose. Have you noticed that most of those who oppose it and the few who vehemently oppose it are anti-Sri Lankans? When people like P Saravanamuttu, Rohan Edirisingha, Basil Fernando, Tisaranee Gunasekera, Rohini Hensman, Suresh Premachandran oppose anything, at face value, it must be pro-Sri Lankan! They never supported anything good for Sri Lanka and never will.

There are strategic implications of the 18 Amendment not visible to the naked eyes of many. They see it as an amassment of power in the hands of the executive President. Sure it is but there is more to it. Much more. For the benefit of those who fail to see the strategic implications of the 18 Amendment, let me list them down with explanations.

A Stronger Government Means a Stronger Political Majority

Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s political majority is silent while the political minority is very vociferous and demanding. Political majority thinks it is bad to get good for them as it might ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”hurtƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ the feelings of the minority although it actually benefits the minorities in the long run. On the other hand, the political minority does not give a continent about how their demands affect the majority. Imagine Sri Lanka facing the LTTE, the JVP, the international community, the LTTE Internationale, the future terror threat and many other vile elements without the executive president. It is simply unimaginable.

Security forces will be powerless in handling terrorists as they will have to be responsible to anyone and everyone in parliament. And who is in parliament? Among others, those who openly support a Tamil Nation. Certain highly effective security manoeuvres require top secrecy, unwavering government support and a certain amount of autonomy. Only an executive president can provide this; certainly not the parliament. Enemies of the nation falsely call it ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”impunityƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. Members of parliament are not the best examples of integrity. Some of them can be literally bought over for dollars, easily. On the other hand, a president with executive powers is more difficult to be manipulated as he can have them anyway, if he so wishes. We had MPs crossing the floor regularly but did we have a single president or a MP who eventually became president crossing over? No.

When the JVP launched their first insurrection in 1971, the government was in panic mode as it required the continued support of parliament to fight the threat and support was wavering. However, when the LTTE started war in 1983 Sri Lanka under the executive president was better prepared to take it on.

Parliaments collapsed but presidents didnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t. Even when a president was assassinated and another grievously hurt, running the country went ahead smoothly. Compare this against the calamity that befell the nation following the assassination of the Prime Minister in 1959 when there was no executive president.

From 1983 to 2009, there were 6 different parliaments but only 5 presidents of which one being the continuation of anotherƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s term which makes it actually equal to 4. It means more stability at the highest level of the government. Also note how the country became hapless when political instability struck in 1983, 1987-89, 2001 and 2005. Had it not for the executive president, LTTE would have capitalised these instances even better. LTTE along with anti-national elements would have subjugated the majority many a time had it not for the executive president. Strengthening the post of the executive president is therefore strengthening the majority will. After all, presidents are elected by the people and majority decision prevails.

Indian Threat and the 13 Amendment

The Indian threat is very real. Indians harp on the 13 Amendment, which was their brainchild and the illegitimate child of Indian interference and Sri Lankan naivety. Due to severe Indian pressure Sri Lanka have to implement the 13 Amendment. There is no way it can be avoided. The next best thing is to make it as incoherent as possible by introducing counter legislation. The 6 Amendment was very effective against those who tried to make use of the 13 Amendment to disintegrate the nation. Likewise, the 18 Amendment will be an effective deterrent against an inevitable rebirth of the Indian sponsored 13 Amendment. By introducing counter legislation, its effectiveness can be reduced.

A powerful executive president is the only way to stop the threat posed by the 13 Amendment. In 1990, President Premadasa exercised his executive powers to punish Perumal for engaging in anti-national activates making good use of the 13 Amendment.

Western Threats of Destabilising the Region

Western nations waited until Sri Lanka was politically and economically weak in 2001 to push the 17 Amendment. Where did it come from? No one knows. It was never widely debated but suddenly became law using severe economic problems and political instability just like in 1987 when the 13 Amendment was pushed down the nationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s throat. It clearly is a very strange piece of law that takes away powers of the people to directly elect their representatives. In other words it empowered the minorities at the expense of the majority.

All political parties (PA, UNP, JVP, UPFA) when ruling the country looked at it with contempt and never implemented it. Only the opposition parties demand its implementation, and Robert Blake. Their sole aim is to destabilise Sri Lanka and the region so that more of their nonsense can be pushed down the throats of poor and hapless South Asians. The executive president is the only obstruction they face in relation to Sri Lanka. Strengthening the executive president is a slap on their face.

Expect another visit by the ugliest American and a series of statements airing ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”concernƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ for democracy. If their version of democracy is burning the Holy Quran on 9/11, we donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t need it. This nation needs a different version of democracy that works for its people.

The Second and Subsequent Terms Affect Incumbent Presidents in a Good Way ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

There were three presidents with two terms ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” JR Jayawardena, Chandrika and Rajapaksha. Something strange happened to them all facing re-election. By the time they faced the election for the second term, all of them have turned more nationalist! They were better nationalists when they faced the people for their second term than before.

JR Jayawardena was not a nationalist in 1977 but by 1982, he had become the biggest nationalist in the country. He had to rely more on the majority vote in 1982 than he would have had to in 1977 had he contested a presidential election. True to his style, he went to the extreme, which is rather unfortunate, and he should have avoided it. Chandrika who won the 1994 presidential election with a huge minority support had to appeal to the majority in 1999 to return to power, which she successfully did. Needless to say Rajapaksha enhanced his majority appeal very well from 2005 to 2010. Even the only president who couldnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t make it for two terms ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” Premadasa ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” tried it. By 1993 after years of avoiding the LTTE apart from defensive operations, he planned to launch a major military offensive against the LTTE targeting the presidential election due the year after (1994).ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

There is a good reason for this behaviour. Tamils make unattainable demands from leaders and when they donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t get everything they demand, they withdraw support or support the opposition just to show their dislike. This is what happened since 1947 and will happen in future as well. When DS Senanayake couldnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t give their demands in full they went behind Bandaranaike and when he couldnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t they went after Dudley. From Dudley to Sirima they went and then to Jayawardena and Sirima again. Then to Premadasa and to Chandrika. From Chandrika to Ranil and Ranil to Rajapaksha and Fonseka. No government can satisfy them. All governments that did yeoman service to them ended up losing their support. 1977 and 2004 are very good examples.

For this reasons the incumbent finds it difficult to retain Tamil support he gained at the first election he faced. He has to turn to the majority to fill this void by offering more to the majority. With the help of state resources, ruling parties leverage their way ahead in elections, which is far from acceptable, but thatƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s how it is. Upcountry Tamil support generally stays with the incumbent even though the president may not have had it at the first election. Muslims have integrated very well into the Sri Lankan fabric and they follow the majority. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

By introducing more than two terms, this tendency is further enhanced.

On the other hand, Tamils run to newer leaders with the same old set of demands and tend to get some. This is why they always prefer newer presidents and governments.

This is the main reason why the pro-Tamil Elam camp is up in arms against the 18 Amendment.

Using the Opposition to the Amendment to Nail the Opposition

Why is it done in stages? First the government pushes for Amendments that are within the present Constitution. These donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t require a referendum. They can be passed by two-thirds majority in parliament. Later amendments and changes to the Constitution are incompatible with the Constitution and need a referendum. However, when the first amendments are presented, the opposition goes to the people and create a momentum against the process. At first, the public is not very interested but with persistent pressure from the opposing camps which include political parties, NGOs, interfering foreign elements, Tamil Elamists, etc. the public momentum against the amendment process grows. By this time the first stages would have been completed that anyway donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t need public support. These stages relate to strengthening the executive presidency. It will be passed early so that nothing can stop it. By the time the other amendments including political solutions are presented, there is a growing public anger against it.

Indian sympathy for Tamils, Tamil Elamists, Robert Blake, CPA and all other anti-national vile elements can load the political solution but when it is defeated by the public at a referendum that is the end of their precious political solution. On the other hand a non-racist political solution will be acceptable to the public. At the moment the public is sceptical about the amendments. This healthy scepticism is essential to make an informed decision. Otherwise, any racist rubbish will slip through them. Who creates this scepticism that may block a racist Tamil aspirations based political solution? The opposing groups including Tamil Elamists. Government manages the amendments process with appropriate amendments at each stage to maximise this impact. Finally, Tamil Elamists dig their own grave!

The best patriotic forces can do is not to disrupt anti-nationals digging their own grave.

There is another aspect to it. If Tamils support a proposed political solution and others oppose it, it gives a bad impression of the nation to the international community. It shows a fractured Sri Lanka along racial boundaries. To avoid this, only a sensible level of political solutions should be given. As Tamil racist parties oppose everything sensible the way they rejected the 1982 District Councils, 1987 Provincial Councils, 2000 Political Package, the 2006 Majority-Minority Report, APRC and a host others, they will surely reject a sensible solution. They will canvass in the north and the east against this. When the solution goes to the public in a referendum, both the north and the south will reject it! For the international community it is show of national solidarity, which shows how difficult even a small step towards Tamil autonomy is.

However, before moving into this stage, the government should get a reasonable equal rights based mechanism passed. It cannot hurt national security and territorial interests and at the same time would benefit those who care to make use of it. It tells the international community that we will go even further in enhancing equal rights despite already ensuring it.

Following the Singapore Model Needs a Powerful Leader Post ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Sri Lanka follows the Singapore model of becoming a regional trade hub. Unlike USA, UK or any other powerful country, smaller countries struggle to face what comes with it. International significance means more international pressure coming both externally and internally. External forces creating internal pressure is the way of the new colonialists after the Second World War. With over a thousand NGOs, interfering and colluding foreign elements with local branches and a ready group of racist political parties, this country will face huge challenges once it becomes a regional trade hub. Singapore already faced this very successfully. It is imperative that Sri Lanka follows the Singapore model closely since no economic prosperity comes if there is chaos and indiscipline.

The Singaporean leader who paved the way for it to become what it is – Lee Kwan Yew ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” governed it for 30 years and his son has taken over now. It gave Singapore vital political stability, which is the main ingredient of economic prosperity. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Singapore is not a model democracy but a model economy. Most Sri Lankans find it better to be closer to a model economy that to the western style democracy. The Tamil Elam lobby established in the West via its Transnational Government of Tamil Elam cannot come to terms with this and will become further irrelevant in Sri Lanka.

Proposed amendments are going to favour all presidents of the country not just the Rajapakshas. As history shows whatever the conduct of a person elected president previously, once elected or appointed to the top job, they put national interests against anti-national interests. They know they have to face an increasingly demanding electorate to remain in power.

If anyone doesnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t like the move towards a powerful Sri Lankan government essential to ruin separatist dreams, they better leave the country because they are going to face more of it in time to come. Sri Lanka is not for them. The era of pleasing anyone and everyone is over. The era of pleasing racist aspirations, racist grievances and racist homelands is fast coming to an end. Work to strengthen Sri Lanka or leave before what they find unpleasant is thrust down their throats with the full backing of the Nanthikandal victory.

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