Ranil watches Sirisena’s goose-stepping
Posted on December 28th, 2015

WINSTON DE VALLIERE Political analyst Courtesy Ceylon Today

Postponement of the March/April 2016 Local Government Elections by President Maithripala Sirisena was no surprise to any observer who has come to understand that the President is a man who appears to never miss a step in matters of State.

His handling of issues in the budgetary proposals which Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe and Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake placed before Parliament underscored the proverbial ‘iron fist inside a velvet glove’ approach to issues which demanded assertion that he is [irrespective of all the hoopla and hype about abolishing the Executive Presidency.
It could be rankling as far as Wickremesinghe and Karunanayake and others, even Chandrika Kumaratunga, are concerned. Perhaps this fact has percolated into the depths of Wickremesinghe’s mind causing him to voice doubts about any long-term feasibility of a unity government.

National government
He has gone on record as saying that the ‘national government’ is not a long-term possibility. Perhaps saner counsel within the UNP has prevailed in private discussions. That this is perhaps crystallizing in the minds of the UNP Leadership was borne out by the fact that Wickremesinghe and Kumaratunga flew to London within days of each other for a tete-a-tete on the immediate and long term political future and the UNP’s role in that future.
That Sirisena is under immense pressure from the SLFP’s pro-Mahinda Rajapaksa faction and the anti-Sirisena UPFA faction to end this idea of a national government cannot become plainer. To them, and to all Sri Lankans with an iota of sense, it’s an idea that’s the epitome of a bum steer! It would have been workable had there been honest, far-sighted men in the SLFP/UPFA combine who could have indeed put country before Party or self. But then one realizes that Utopia is hardly likely to ever emerge from the environs of Darley Road or Medamulana.

Has the dream, the ideal ended? The bubble burst? From my vantage point the answer would be that it was never destined to succeed. That’s real politik in Sri Lanka’s cesspit of political perfidy, graft, murder and deceit.
Against such a backdrop, what of the LG elections which have been once again postponed by another six months by the President? That the postponement has, paradoxically, no connection to the deliberations of the Delimitation Committee is obvious to the close observer of trends in thought manifest in Sirisena’s actions.

True to his admission some time ago, he is a man who thinks far and long before a finite decision is made. So also is it with the LG election. It’s called ‘buying time’ and the more time he buys the closer it will be to the next UNHRC sessions when the US-Lanka sponsored war crimes resolution comes up for review. Sirisens has been ultra careful in doing nothing at all, effectively, about implementing anything recommended by that resolution that can weaken his support in the overall electorate. But here’s the catch!
Wickremesinghe has also been studying Sirisena’s goose-stepping and apparently adroit handling of this sensitive issue which MR and crowd can exploit like hell to muster inner-SLFP support to chuck Sirisena out from the SLFP and solve all of MR’s problems.
If ever I’ve seen a political leader sitting on not one but many time bombs at the same time it’s Maithripala Sirisena. He knows that the slightest mishandling will push Wickremesinghe into talks with his handlers in the West, a fact that already seems to have happened judging from his London tete-a-tete with Kumaratunga.
Sirisena might well get the shivers wondering what’s going to be the outcome of those talks. Will Wickremesinghe opt out at the next general election should the UNP prove to have made deeper inroads into the electorate? By thwarting a rational budgetary exercise in favour of a populist approach to curry favour with the electorate, Sirisena has rubbed Ranil up the wrong way one time too many.
Where will that leave him when the general election is upon him and the SLFP? He then has no option but to begin building again a broad support base within the UNP. But even that will not get him the Tamil and Muslim vote should he play out time until the Prime Ministerial stakes are opened up or until the next Presidential Election is upon him. To have to be contending with an irate Wickremesinghe on one side and a grasping MR on the other is not a prospect he will relish….and yet, that seems to be the score. Between the devil and the deep blue ‘western seas’ keeps Wickremesinghe afloat.

The battle lines have suddenly been washed over by a new wave of thought in the UNP. What role will Kumaratunga play if Wickremesinghe decides to also ditch the national government idea at the next general elections? A victory at the LG polls will certainly push him into that line of thought. He is not one to put up with the unprincipled and long drawn out harangues coming his way from within the SLFP about which Sirisena can do nothing lest he wants risking support within the SLFP and giving MR the upper hand and ammunition to oust him and regain power…an easy prospect if this reasoning works out.

New scenario
All of this suddenly sees a new scenario of uncertainty and great worry emerging for President Sirisena. That Wickremesinghe’s western handlers will have realized these developments and have hence been sending officials here to re-assess these trends is obvious. Obviously they have a lot to do with Wickremesinghe’s meeting with Kumaratunga in London .
What comes out of that meeting will be significant for Sirisena.

One Response to “Ranil watches Sirisena’s goose-stepping”

  1. Kumari Says:

    Sirisena/Ranil/Chandrika all are puppets held by the strings by the West and India. Therefore, we need not waste time discussing them. They will be used by our enemies at the right time with the maximum harm to the country, especially to the Sinhalese Buddhist majority.

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