Why JVP, SLLP Cannot Win Next Presidential Election: Minorities Shun Them Both
Posted on April 10th, 2024

Dilrook Kannangara

The next presidential election will be decided by religious minorities – Christians, Hindus and Muslims. This is because the majority creed is seriously divided between various political parties. There is no leader capable of uniting Buddhists or at least 60% of them. At the same time there are no strong minority leaders either to call for election boycotts or split minority votes by each community. As a result, minorities are likely to vote as a bloc to one candidate while the majority will be divided between two, three or even four political parties.

The JVP and the SLPP are Buddhist-only political parties as almost all their voters are Buddhists.

Despite strong efforts by the JVP to win Tamil and Muslim votes, it has failed as it does not have the support of communalist political parties representing them and the JVP itself does not have a tribalist Tamil and Muslim leaders. Christian voters will be making their votes count by rejecting political parties that deceived them particularly over lack of justice for Easter Sunday terrorist attacks. JVP has failed to convince them that they will be any different.

However, this might change if both Ranil and Sajith contest the presidential election. In that case minority votes will be divided between them giving the JVP a definite advantage.

No candidate is likely to win over 50% at the presidential election. Unless there is a tie which is nearly impossible, the party winning most votes will win the presidential election. Second round of counting only considers the top two vote winners so there will be a definite winner. It also gives the impression that parties other than the first two parties are equal to rejected votes” as they will be disregarded in the final count. This will impact election (mis)fortunes of the SLPP, UNP or SJB (depending on who gets to the first two along with the JVP) and other small parties at the next parliamentary election. The top two vote winners of the presidential election will successfully convince voters of other parties not to waste their vote by voting for other parties. Basil feared this very much as it can wipe out SLPP from parliament reducing it to the number of TNA MPs in parliament. It is now a definite possibility.

The JVP or the SLPP cannot win the next presidential election unless both Ranil and Sajith contest separately dividing minority votes. Anura Kumara may have to wait till 2029 to become president unless the next president ends his/her term prematurely.

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