What next?

The Supreme Court has issued an interim order suspending the dissolution of Parliament till Dec. 07. This is not what President Maithripala Sirisena and his allies bargained for. His rivals have declared victory prematurely. People are agog with curiosity; thankfully they remain calm and quiet. The sooner this dispute is brought to an end, the better. It has overshadowed all other issues. Nobody seems to care two hoots about the economic front.

Parliament has to be reconvened today as scheduled prior to its dissolution, and what the situation will be in the House is anybody’s guess. Will President Sirisena prorogue it further? Will the UNP and its allies try to secure a division and/or thwart such an attempt?

The court case at issue is not yet over and the SC judgment is likely to be given next month. What is justice to the winner is not to the liking of the losing side, which always cries foul. Judicial verdicts may help resolve disputes legally but do not lead to reconciliation. Hence the need for settling disputes through negotiations without taking them to courts if consensus is to be achieved! However, as for the issues consequent to the Oct. 26 government change, one may argue, the disputants remained intransigent and Parliament found itself in a gridlock and, therefore, the matter had to be taken to courts. It behoves all of them to sheath their poniards, swallow their pride and discuss a future course of action to hoist the country from the current political mire of their making, for, as things stand, the crisis is not like to go away in the foreseeable future. The warring politicians owe it to the people who stump up colossal amounts of money to maintain them.

The unfortunate situation which has led to the ongoing divisive legal battle arose because men of mature years in politics failed to act wisely. They let their personal animosities take precedence over their duty by the country. The Oct. 26 government change would not have happened but for a personality clash between President Sirisena and ousted PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. The outcome of the current legal battle is bound to complicate the political situation further. One can only hope that sanity will prevail.

In countries, blessed with statespersons, difficulties the people face make rulers sink their differences and join forces to find solutions, but in this land like no other, political leaders’ personal differences cause difficulties for the people.

Democracy and progress derive sustenance from the wisdom and altruism of rulers. When selfish, power hungry leaders are elected it is only natural that democracy and progress elude a nation. This, we have seen under successive governments during the last several decades.

This legal battle may be over with the SC determination, but all will not be quiet on the political front. Speculation is rife that President Sirisena is coming under increasing pressure from his allies to go for a referendum to consult the people directly on the issue. The general consensus is that the President is constitutionally empowered to do so. Whether this is possible or the President will consider this an option remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, there were some ugly scenes near the Superior Courts Complex in Colombo, on Monday, with groups of restive political activists shouting. Last so many years have seen protests, silent or otherwise, near courts in Colombo and in other parts of the country. No organised crowds must be allowed to enter court premises and areas adjacent thereto under any circumstances.


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