Do UNP, TNA and JVP really want an election?

UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says they would agree to hold an election under a legitimate government. But when he had a legitimate government headed by him he did his utmost to postpone the election. Similarly, Anura Kumara Dissanayake shouts from the tree tops that they want an election. TNA also says they would not mind facing an election. But all these three parties contrived, aided and abetted to postpone the provincial council elections. They resorted to the most undemocratic methods to achieve their goal subverting the Supreme Court decision in the process.

The Supreme Court, which examined a petition against the postponement of PC elections, had ruled that undue postponement of elections is to deprive the rights of people and their franchise. In their attempt to circumvent the court ruling, they resurrected an innocuous act concerning female representation, and at committee stage introduced into this Act clauses on delimitation that virtually made it impossible to hold these elections on time. The President also cooperated with these evil doers to murder democracy, judiciary and sovereignty with a stab in the back. Could we expect an election of any kind from these worthies? Can they afford it?

Now they complain about the lack of democracy which they had already killed! RW has taken the moral high road in denouncing the President and the JO for acting in an undemocratic manner. He has no moral right to talk about democracy, which he had destroyed on a number of occasions. In the first instance, his appointment as PM in 2015 was not exactly democratic. Appointment of Sampanthan as the Leader of the Opposition and Anura Kumara Dissanayake as the Chief Opposition Whip, when their support base in the parliament was in a minority, was not exactly democratic. These dubious dishonest ways aimed at keeping a strong adversary at bay do not resonate well with democratic morals and traditions.

RW says he has the majority in the Parliament and shows 122 signatures as proof, but 16 of them are TNA members with its leader as the Leader of the Opposition, and six are JVP members with its leader as the Chief Opposition Whip. Is he going to form a government which has the support of the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Opposition Whip? What next? As everybody knows, the Opposition and its important posts such as the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Opposition Whip have a vital role in achieving balance and transparency in democratic governance. A kept opposition cannot be expected to fill this role. All these undemocratic deeds have been done by those who are now baying for parliamentary democracy.

OK let us assume that RW is reinstalled as PM and Sampanthan the Leader of the Opposition and Anura Kumara the Chief Opposition Whip or any other proxies from those parties. Could we expect an improvement in democratic norms? Most unlikely. They will as quickly as possible and by dubious duplicitous means, like the way they passed so many inimical laws, get the proposed new constitution, which has been imported from abroad and fine-tuned by separatists, passed. That could be the end of the unitary nature of the country and the undivided sovereignty of its people. Nature of the Sri Lankan state would be described by a mixture of Sinhalese and Tamil words probably designed to hoodwink the people. We will have a hotchpotch of a nation, with a permanently divided people at each other’s throats. An easy prey for marauding foreign imperialists.

And what about the election these champions of democracy are clamouring for? Could they afford to have an election? If they could, would they go to the extent of killing the judiciary, democracy and sovereignty to postpone it? Would they not resort to murder again to get the election postponed? Nobody except the JO could afford to face an election. This was shown at the Local Government elections held last February. The UNP, and the SLFP were routed. TNA suffered significant setbacks. If the electoral system is changed to a first past the post system or a mixed system, all these parties including the JVP would lose except the "Pohottuwa". Therefore, we cannot expect an early election under RW's legitimate government though he is clamouring for democracy. These three parties and their stalwarts know how to kill democracy in the name of democracy.

The UNP cannot afford to face an election for they have too many skeletons in their cupboard. Many of them, including its present leader, are implicated in the biggest bank robbery. The missing pages of the Bond Scam Commission report is believed to have these names and the spokesperson for the President has threatened to reveal them. Several of their MPs could not secure their electorates at the local government elections held in February 2018. Hence if RW and his legitimate government is reinstated, the hapless people cannot expect an early election. They will initiate an endless haggle on the electoral system, the delimitation report, female representation and such trifles. The TNA, the JVP, pension seekers, and everybody else who is benefited by a postponement of elections would willingly cooperate in this project.

So, what has to be done? Our people are meek and do not know how to clamour for their rights peacefully. They either remain quiet and take everything lying down, or react violently. It is time they learnt how to react in this hour of peril. The intelligentsia, the clergy and the civil society which has a love for this country and therefore a stake in its affairs, must lead the people. They must demand a clean fair election without undue delay. The electoral system must ensure the formation of a stable government that reflects the will of the people with a clear majority, and not a hung parliament. Crossover of elected MPs must be stopped so that they cease to be a marketable commodity. People had voted them to power to represent the policies of a particular political party and to cross over to another party is to betray the voter. Party leaders must be pressurized to nominate honest, patriotic capable people. Money should not be a factor that decide elections, and expensive campaigning should not be allowed so that the richer candidate need not necessarily be the winner.

It is time the patriotic leaders, clergy and the educated got together to save the beloved country from the perilous situation it has been dragged into.


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