With the long overdue LG Polls concluded in Sri Lanka the clear message from the voters to the government is ‘IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON’; which the President cannot just ignore and though it is a clear embarrassment has accepted the setback, for it is clear that his government while in office past three years had convinced no one and certainly not his own party that the government was governing the whole country successfully.
In Sri Lanka from the time the country gained independence in 1948 the politicians no matter which political party they represented were not heroes, but it was a desire that drove them into politics with an ultimate motive to be always in power; now and then there were few exceptions to this rule. It was this type of ordinary men and women turned politicians with a natural desire for power who opted to make the country a republic in 1972. On entering parliament their ultimate motive was to continue the journey with all the benefits as politicians without making sacrifices. Thus most politicians were not only able to earn a handsome income while in parliament, by their self-devolved powers were able to accumulate wealth for generations to come and most of them stayed in power to their last breath as it was the norm. Only exception was the executive presidency, where the period was originally fixed for two terms only; but here again many when in power extended it. When the Wind of Change blew in 2015 brought to power the present government attempts were made to change this pattern, that was not well received by the politicians and people of this country saw how cleverly acts were staged in parliament the past three years to prevent the government from taking desired decisions on state matters. In this backdrop the countrywide LG Polls took place and though it was customary at most such elections held mid-term for the people to vote with the party in power; not so this time for it is clear that the infighting between SLFP and UNP with the later trying to outsmart the other at every situation that prevented the anticipated changes taking place in the three years and no doubt the breakaway group from SLFP in opposition exploited the situation to their advantage to play an active role to fuel the internal conflict and did always made a dance and song of it to the public that caused disaster to the government.
True due to above acts staged over the past three years there were lack of progress in parliament and the people support was rapidly waning for the government. The desire of the breakaway politicians to teach a lesson for bringing hard times on them by punishing those in power seems to have prevailed on to the voters at the polls to vote for the government opponents; with a desire to continue their comfortable lifestyles the Colombo City urban voters have voted yet again for UNP to take control of CMC; the senior SLFP party loyalist voters from rural constituencies down south were not with their leader, having opted to vote for the SLFP breakaway section; many young voters picked the third force JVP, that served them well in parliament in the past three years. While in the northeast as always voters have acknowledged TNA are worthy of their vote for being consistent with their policies in spite of criticism from their own opponents in and out of parliament and many overseas diaspora members during the past three years.
The bitter truth is the SLFP breakaway group formed a new party, who as opponents of the government gained the most from the LG Polls; made possible because of the failure of the government to deliver the promises made to the people. While others in opposition, the JVP considered as the third force in politics doubled its members in the local bodies, confirming that there is a greater role for them to play in future parliaments; for in the three years JVP played an active role in parliament and were thus well rewarded by the people. It is the same story in the northeast, where people retained their faith in TNA in spite of all the efforts by their opponents to tarnish their image for petty political gains. The people of northeast used their vote wisely for they have learned at heavy cost for misusing or not using their vote correctly during the war years, to place their hopes once again with TNA, who have been working tirelessly since 2015 to resolve many thorny issues and basic problems of their people as promised in their election manifesto. True that resulted in varying success as TNA had to work against all odds and any failure or delay was mainly been due to lack of interest shown by the government to resolve these humanitarian issues of people affected by the civil war. TNA would have done better at the polls, if some of the parties in their alliance had stayed on together to face the LG polls; TNA leadership must rectify it before the next polls by accommodating into their alliance the other parties facing the same problems as them in northeast. Fortunately, the President has taken full responsibility for the SLFP’s electoral setback accepting that the people of the country have voted for a change and has expressed his willingness to introduce necessary changes at the earliest. All possible if the small minded politicians who are pretending to be sleeping in the government if they have any devotion for their voters and the many literally sleeping during debates in parliament should all wake up and join in with the rest to support the Head of State.
For the secret of successfully governing the whole country is to govern the country as a whole; that is still possible within his powers as the Head of State if with the support of party leaders in parliament to take drastic measures to fulfill the promises made three years ago, before bringing the vote forward with two-thirds of parliament endorsing it for people to accept the New Constitution.
People have clearly expressed their protest with their vote to warn the Government for not taking appropriate action as promised to curb all corrupt activities prevailing in the country, to save the country falling further into debts, to stabilize the economy, complete reconciliation activities of those affected by the war, demilitarise northeast to peace time level, complete devolution of power and other reforms including introduction of a new constitution in the past three years. With the mandate given to the Government at the last General Election still valid for two more years should open the eyes of all the politicians in parliament to accept the verdict of the people, who have said ‘IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON’, by supporting the President, who with the present government should take bold decisions to introduce the New Constitution with other reforms before the year ends. Thereafter dissolve the parliament to call for elections in 2019 to get a New Government elected under the New Constitution.