Chandrika Kumaratunga, Electoral Reform, English medium, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Maithripala Sirisena, Mangala Samaraweera, Mohan Pieris, No Confidence, Parliament, Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sarath Buddhadasa, vocational training
but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done
When, just over a year ago, I was not put into Parliament, I thought it was time to call it a day. I had a house to live in, and a beautiful country cottage, I enjoyed reading and writing, and there seemed no point in knocking my head against brick walls. Though I continue to believe that Mahinda Rajapaksa did more for this country as its leader than his two predecessors, I had registered the appalling nature of those who dominated the last years of his government, and had indeed dissected them throughout 2014 in numerous articles, in particular the series called ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Seven Dwarfs’. So I did not regret having worked for Maithripala Sirisena’s election as President in January 2015. But I realized that my old friend Dayan Jayatilleka had been right in predicting that, decent though the President was, he would be dominated by Ranil Wickremesinghe and Chandrika Kumaratunga.
I had hoped he would realize soon how awful both of them were, and how out of touch with the country at large, but this seemed to be taking a long time. He had allowed himself to be dragooned by them and their allies into calling an early General Election, contrary to his commitment to ensure that Electoral Reform was enacted before Parliament was dissolved. However I thought he then made the right decision in putting President Rajapaksa on the UPFA list for the General Election, since without him the UNP would have romped home.
But sadly polarizing forces made it impossible for the two of them to work together. I later told President Rajapaksa that he had to appreciate how nervous the President had been made by the pronouncements of some of the candidates on the UPFA slate, that they would destroy the President if they won a majority. Mahinda told me that the President should not have taken such pronouncements seriously, since they were uttered by youngsters, but it was a pity he did not rein such people in.
Indeed even experienced politicians such as Vasudeva Nanayakkara behaved foolishly in claiming that, with the election going well, the main task at hand was to make sure that those within the UPFA who had supported the President would not be elected. I told him this was utterly foolish, since campaigning in such a manner would confuse the voters. But once Vasu gets an idea into his head, he cannot think straight. Indeed he told me later that they had all been wrong in insisting that, were a vote of No Confidence in the Prime Minister to succeed before Parliament had been dissolved, a Prime Minister acceptable to the UPFA group should be appointed.
He claimed that this was because they were a majority in Parliament, but he had obviously forgotten, as Ranil did way back in 2003, that the President had the power to dissolve Parliament whenever he wished. Continue reading