Political polygamy
Posted on February 2nd, 2015

Editorial -Courtesy Island 

President Maithripala Sirisena has said in a recent television interview that after winning the Jan. 08 presidential election he realised that the implementation of the joint Opposition’s 100-day programme was not possible without the SLFP’s cooperation in Parliament. The president, in spite of having unbridled executive powers, cannot function without parliamentary backing, he has maintained. He has thus sought to justify his securing the SLFP leadership a few days after winning the presidency as the common Opposition candidate.

Political marriages and honeymoons are not new to Sri Lankan politics. But, this is the first time we have seen political polygamy with both the government and the Opposition controlled by the Executive President!

One cannot be expected to be so naïve as to buy into the claim that before the presidential election, President Sirisena had been unaware of the fact that the executive president without control over Parliament was a virtual figurehead. It is not difficult to see that wresting control of the SLFP had been part of his strategy because he knew that there was absolutely nothing that he could achieve with the help of only the UNP as well as some SLFP crossovers in Parliament. That was why he kept on saying throughout the presidential campaign that he was still the SLFP General Secretary.

A politician who takes the trouble of contesting an election and winning is driven by a strong desire to exercise power and he tends to clear all obstacles in his or her path to achieve that end. That is the name of the game in realpolitik. After being elected President in 2005, Mahinda Rajapaksa engineered a string of crossovers from the UNP to consolidate his power in Parliament.

The late President Ranasinghe Premadasa famously declared in Parliament, when he was the Prime Minister under President J. R. Jayewardene, that he was as powerless as a peon in a government department. That was the time when the Old Fox was bragging that the only feat he could not achieve with the help of his unbridled executive powers was to make a man a woman and vice versa. This situation occurs only when both the President and the Prime Minister come from the same party. When they represent two different parties, the Prime Minister becomes more powerful than the President as was the case from 2001 to 2004 with Chandrika Kumaratunga as the President and Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister. At that time, she even had to stomach many indignities at the hands of UNP ministers at Cabinet meetings which she chaired in her capacity as the head of government; one of them went so far as to demand that her handbag be checked as it was thought to be fitted with a hidden camera!

Now that President Sirisena has taken over the SLFP, his task will be to enable his party which stepped down at his behest to pave the way for his newfound allies led by the UNP to form a minority government to regain power.

In the aforesaid television interview the President said he would lead the SLFP parliamentary election campaign, but he would do so in such a way that the UNP would not be undermined. An election, however, is no friendly soft ball cricket match and the leader of a party has to enter the contest with the single-minded determination to win. Politics is all about power and a leader who baulks at going the whole hog to make his side emerge victorious runs the risk of facing revolts within his own party, especially when an alternative power centre exists. It is not possible for a party leader to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds in a fiercely contested parliamentary race.

8 Responses to “Political polygamy”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    ” It is not possible for a party leader to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds in a fiercely contested parliamentary race.”

    INDEED it is SIMPLY IMPOSSIBLE to do so!

    The interesting thing is that Aiyoooo Sirisenaaa DARES say in a recent television interview that is is ONLY “after winning the Jan. 08 presidential election he realised that the implementation of the joint Opposition’s 100-day programme was not possible without the SLFP’s cooperation in Parliament” !!!

    Oh My God, Did Sri Lanka ELECT SUCH AN IGNORANT MUTT to the Highest Leadership Position in the Land?

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    PLEASE stop ABUSING the president Under-USA. Have some respect for the LEADER of SL. 6.2 million people cannot be wrong.

  3. Independent Says:

    Mr. USA has gone crazy. How could this website allow this man to abuse the current president to such low levels repeatedly ?

    This is absolute obsession with the ex-President and it is a metal decease. He should get help urgently !

    But I too noticed that statement from the president which did not make sense.

  4. NAK Says:

    Why only the 6.2Mn people what about the Millions of US$ and Croners and Euros.

    PMy3 has already commited atleast 3 impeachables offences by violating the constitution in Appointing a Prime minster,and his cabinet and removing the CJ.
    We are still to find out his hand in the illegal changes that took place in a few PC’s.

  5. NAK Says:

    Political polygamy is exactly the discription for what H.E is doing and it is totally contrary to multi party democracy.
    H.E should make up his mind and choose one side and stop pushing the country in to further chaos just for him to consolidate his power.
    Who can trust him,now that he betrayed the party once, that he will not undermine the election campaign of the SLFP so the UNP can win to pay his debt to the UNP.

    Indipendant, Statements that don’t make sense are called ‘nonsense’ and we can’t have it from the first citizen.

  6. Sarath W Says:

    It is obvious that MY3 is a puppet of Ranil and Chandrika. If he goes against their wishes he will be exposed about the deal he made with them with the help of our enemies UK, USA and Endia. He is a dirty rotten politician, sucked up to Mahinda till the election was announced and enjoyed all the perks as a minister. If the previous government was as corrupt as he says, he should take part of the blame as a senior minister of that govt.

    Lorenzo, most of your criticism against Mahinda was because he did nor repel the 13th amendment, did too much for the north, starting Yal Devi to Jaffna etc. Then why do you support this unholy trinity of MY3, Ranil and Chandrika when they go out of their way to please the ungrateful Tamilks risking another war?

  7. Ratanapala Says:

    Just wait and see. Interesting days are still ahead. The political coup by the United Christian Party formally called the UNP is still not over. President Sirisena will be pushed aside for all purposes and intents. He will be as Choura Ragina when Don Juan was Prime Minister.

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    Sarath W,

    Now that’s is a damn good question.

    YES all that. Don’t jump into conclusions. They have NOT done anything yet to appease Tamilians.

    “What REALLY got me over the line was the appointment of 6 WAR CRIMES SPECIALIST LEGAL MINDS from the UK, USA, etc. to look into the SL war and disappearences! How could he! I can tell you their report RIGHT NOW. Soldiers and army officers are guilty of war crimes!! That is what they will tell. FOXES TO MIND THE HEN HOUSE!!”

    In countries like JAPAN they WORSHIP their soldiers and commanders! We bring Americans, Englishmen, Endians, etc. to FRAME our own soldiers and commanders!! What a country!

    Can ANYONE in the right mind approve this?

    Also PLEASE read HOW they were appointed. First a Sri Lankan in the UK. OK. Then 2 others. Few months later one another until the total is 6. Then look what happened to “disappeared commission”. Its terms of reference was EXPANDED to look into war crimes!!

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