So-called independent media on the postponement of general elections in Sri Lanka.
Posted on May 12th, 2020

Shelton Mahadivulweva 

Below is the Island Editorial today. As all of you know, Island is owned by Upali Newspapers of which the current owner is the brother of former SLFP MP Kumara Welgama (who has now joined with Sajith Premadasa) and yesterday’s paper gave prominence to a statement made by him. The Island which used to always provide space for writers like Rajan Phillips, Jehan Perera, etc. who are connected to NGOs and funded by them is now giving space not only to articles or statements quoting the danger of holding a general election in near future due to the epidemic but slowly attempting to convince the readers also of such a danger using the editorial. Any Sri Lankan with an average IQ would comprehend the fact that some in the opposition as well all the anti-nationalist elements are up on their feet to postpone the general elections are doing so not because they care for the health of Sri Lankan citizens but only because the opposition is facing a severe defeat especially due to the split in the UNP. These newspapers are not independent at all but they are voicing for their masters and no doubt some of the journalists are bought by the NGO’s funding the anti-nationalist elements. While most of the countries in the rest of the world including those suffering from higher statistics of Corona affected patients and deaths are endeavouring to come out of the lockdowns, restore normalcy, kick start their economies and engage in providing access for democratic rights of their citizens such as casting vote at elections, it’s sad that these so-called independent journalists are writing to please their masters while attempting to deceive the readers.

Virus, franchise and ghost election

Tuesday 12th May, 2020

May 11, 2020, 9:43 pm

Poland has recently had a ghost election owing to a political tug of war between the government and the Opposition. A presidential election was held, on Sunday, but nobody voted due the coronavirus pandemic. There have been about 16,000 Covid-19 cases and 800 deaths from the disease, in that country, and it is only natural people did not want to vote. One may want to know why on earth that election was ever held. The answer is that Poland is in the same predicament as Sri Lanka thanks to a bunch of politicians who have anything but the national interest at heart.

The ruling party and the Opposition, in Poland, had locked horns, with the latter accusing the former of exposing the public to Covid-19 by conducting an election; they had not cared to put their heads together and decide when to hold the election. The Polish Electoral Commission (EC) had been all at sea, and, as a result, Sunday’s election had been neither cancelled nor postponed. It has been reported that the voter turnout was zero. The EC has finally declared that the onus is on the Speaker of Parliament to announce, within 14 days, a new date for the election. Its decision is said to have put an end to the debate over when the presidential election should be held. But the question is whether he will be able to do so, as required by the law, because nobody knows when the coronavirus threat will be over.

A Polish political commentator has been quoted as saying, “We are in a fog of legal absurdity.” A similar fate has befallen Sri Lankans, and now the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court has been invoked to clear the legal fog troubling them. But the miasma of political uncertainty, here, won’t go away unless the polluted constitutional swamp, from which it emanates, is drained, once and for all.

South Korea, which went to the polls, recently, braving as it did the coronavirus pandemic, has detected new clusters of infections. No sooner had the Korean election been concluded than the Rajapaksa government asked why Sri Lanka could not do likewise. The Opposition protested, urging it not to endanger people’s lives. The Election Commission has made its contribution to the legal mess by scheduling the general election for 20 June. It is now facing several fundamental rights cases.

Interestingly, Sri Lankans have a history of saving democracy by risking their lives to vote. Some of them have even died, defending franchise. In the late 1980s, the JVP unleashed barbaric violence in a bid to sabotage the provincial council, presidential and parliamentary elections, and, in fact, killed dozens of people who dared vote in defiance of its orders. UNP goons also went all out to prevent their political rivals from voting so that they could stuff the ballot boxes. People voted and put paid to the attempts to strangulate democracy. JVP violence and the low voter turnout, however, stood the UNP in good stead.

So, it may be argued that the people would vote even if parliamentary polls were to be held before the Covid-19 threat is neutralised fully. But this does not mean they should be made to run the risk of being exposed to the germ in the name of an election.

We must not lose sight of the situation in other countries while lockdowns are being eased here. Some new clusters of coronavirus infections have been found in Wuhan. This shows how elusive the virus is and that we must not lower our guard. There should be no room for complacency.

One Response to “So-called independent media on the postponement of general elections in Sri Lanka.”

  1. aloy Says:

    Doesn’t KW has a corruption case pending?. He is a promoter of Indian interest to my mind. So, this shows on which side India is. And most probably the government may change hands unless of course a Vietnam type handover takes place.
    Time will tell.

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